Sunday, October 11, 2015

Finding YOUR offseason - CX style

As much as I’m stoked that “winter is coming!” I’m absolutely loving this super warm fall that MN is having and the fact that for the most part we’ve had only sunny and warm weekends!  CX continues to be a much needed change of pace (literally!) and I’m really happy with my decision to race this year.  The common question I get as an all seasons cyclist is “dang…when do you ever take a break?!”    

 
Truth be told….that’s happening right now. It might not seem like it to some, but after 3 years I think Coach Matt and I are finally figuring things out.  We’re learning that an off season for me is really more about relaxing my mind and mental focus and less about taking time off my bike or avoiding races altogether.  There really is no one definition of an off season or one formula for finding balance. It’s really much like a long race nutrition plan, everyone needs to figure out what works best for them and often times it's a result of a lot of trial and error.

Photo Credit: Matthew Pastick
I went into this CX season with long endurance fitness and two simples goals. 
 1 – Have Fun!  2 – Regain my top end fitness prior to Fat Bike Season.  With a focus on those two goals I’m having one my most successful race seasons yet! I’ve picked only those races that appeal to me and I’ve decided to keep it local and lighthearted.  I’ve ditched the “pit" bike and spare wheels and I’ve really not stressed about anything. I merely show up and ride as fast as I can.  That's pretty damn simple. So far this season has been filled with broken bikes, yard sales, a couple podiums...


Jen Nowlin, Yours Truly, Nicole Mertz, Carrie Sansome, Corey Coogan-Cisek
Photo Credit: Ann Frank-Shantz
heckling, dig deep efforts, nasty bruises, Fulton beer, tons of smiles and a bunch of Matthew Pastick blooper photos that prove I really need to work on my barrier skills!!  Folks...this is NOT how it's supposed to be done!

Long story short, I’m in a good place right now.  I’ve been inspired by the chance to race against some of Minnesota’s fastest ladies again.  Seriously these gals just keep getting faster and faster….and keeping up with them is taking me to some really dark places!!  I’m literally finishing races falling over my bike unable to stand up and contemplating “how on earth could I possibly put myself through that torture again?” Only to repeat the process a week later :) 
An excruciatingly painful battle for 3rd with Corey at Baker Orchard
Photo Credit: Matthew Pastick
I’ve also been inspired by all of you racers that refuse to sweat the small stuff – you know who you are…. always smiling, grabbing donut hand-ups, and working your butt off.  You’re the ones that really know what this whole riding your bike thing is all about.


Ladies and gentleman...that's Chelsea Strate!
Photo Credit: Zane Spang
Next up is Green Acres CX and I’m actually planning to race both Sat-Sun events because it’s the best CX race ever!   
Ride Bikes, Have Fun, Stay Awesome
Photo Credit: Jeff Frane

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