Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2015 Endurance Season Analysis

If I had to grade myself for the entire season, I'd say I was a solid B.  Let's go over my season races.
  • Pisgah 111k - 15th Men's Open
    • Not a very impressive season opener, but it was new climate/terrain for me. I also could have been a little fresher going into it.  I think I'm pushing myself too hard during weeks 8 & 9 of my training plan which is putting me into the red zone so badly that even a three week taper isn't enough.  This will be addressed in 2016. Grade: C
  • Gunnison Full Growler - 23rd Overall
    • With only a week after the Pisgah, my legs were still not 100%.  I could have used more recovery time between races.  This could have been a top ten for me.  I still did well considering. Grade: B-
  • ERock Sunrise-Sunset (4 person coed) - 1st 4 person coed
    • This was a shorter XC type racing style which isn't my forte, but did pretty awesome anyhow. Grade: A
  • Bailey Hundo - 14th Overall
    • I felt pretty good at this one, but I could have been closer to race weight.  The fact that I was beat by a 50-59 class rider when I'm suppose to be a open/pro class rider... needs improvement. Grade: B
  • Tatanka 100 - 3rd Overall
    • At race weight, and felt solid.  Was able to hold an impressive pace all day for eight hours and had some left to push hard at the end.  I was still forty-five minutes behind the leader, so obviously I'm still not there yet, but showing strong improvement.  This will be the benchmark for all races in 2016. Grade: A
  • Laramie Enduro - 22nd Overall
    • I'm not going to sugar coat it, I sucked (in my humble opinion) at my last endurance race.  My legs were stiff from the beginning of the race to the end.  I figured I'd push the pace or die trying since I had nothing to lose.  I blow up with twenty miles to go.  Tatanka just took a lot out of me and I slacked at taking care of myself for this last race.  Alright, maybe 22nd overall isn't so bad, but it was way below par for myself.  On a positive note, it still didn't hurt worst then any one race I did last year. Grade: D

I feel like this season was the season I was supposed to have in 2014.  I know I've been dwelling over last years' performance a lot on this blog, but let me be candid about it one last time.  My poor performance in 2014 fueled a fire inside me that I could not contain.  I put myself through hell training for this season.  I applied so much stress on myself that it felt like it was consuming me.  I put my heart, soul, blood and tears into being an athlete.  Having an entire season crumble like that left a scar within me that I can't describe, and can't expect anyone else to understand.  It left me doubting my abilities, and questioned if I should even continue racing.

I can't put into words how relieved I am to have a successful season.  It's like having a weight lifted off my shoulders.  There was a lot of confidence lost that needed to regained, and I feel like it took this season just to get back on track.  I'm feeling very good about my future career in the open/pro class and I finally feel like I belong there.  I'm already looking forward to next year!

Goals & Plans for 2016

I'm gravitating more towards the longer races these days.  Races that are 75-100 miles in length with 8k-10k of climbing are becoming my niche, therefore that will be my focus for next year.  

These longer races take a lot out me though, so I need to be better about spacing them apart.  A minimum of three weeks is required for proper recovery between races.  I also need to do better about recovering.  One thing I learned this season is that race weight is important, but not if it sacrifices recovering properly.  Longer spaces between races should give me more time to keep the weight down as well.

My plan moving forward is to race cyclocross up to mid October.  Rather than doing a more traditional base training session,  I will use cyclocross season as base training by sprinkling in some longer rides on weekends I'm not racing.  From mid-October to mid-November I will be in Spain with my family.  While in Spain I plan on running for my main training and may do some weight lifting.  Once back from Spain I'll do a couple more weeks of cyclocross racing before going right into my 100k training plan some time in December.  My first endurance mountain bike will be True Grit in mid March, and I'm strongly considering doing the Old Man Bike Rally again in February.  After True Grit, I will keep things going with a race or two every month until August.