Looking forward – eventually

I will cheerfully admit that at the present moment the off season is being thoroughly enjoyed. It’s freed up about 10 hours a week, allowing me to get some work done, and even socialise on occasion. For the first time in a long while I can allow myself to sleep in at the weekends, no training rides to fit in around the Uni work which has inevitably been left in abundance from earlier in the week.

I haven’t stopped exercising (think that one would be a little hypocritical as a Sport Science Student!), its simply become a matter of going our for a ride or run when I feel like it – no analysis and no hard intervals. I’m reminded of the reason why I enjoyed cycling in the first place – getting away from it all, just enjoying the miles with no particular agenda.

However – my mind grows ever more restless. Its almost as if I’ve forgotten how to live life in the absence of sporting goals and the self-discipline etc that they bring about. Its with this in mind that I’ve decided to get down to planning my 2017 season. Being as I am, one of life’s true procrastinators, I waited until February last time round – this meant a late peak and results took a while to pick up. This year I’m determined to be organised for once – time to sit down and think about the next step.

What to do? I ask myself, at a total loss – it hasn’t actually occurred to me beforehand to think about events and goals. One thing I won’t be doing is obsessively chasing points – moving up a category would be nice but not essential. Not to mention unlikely, judging by how long it took to get out of 4th Cat. Besides, I must admit to not particularly enjoying the chaos and crashes that come about with Crit racing. I do enjoy a bit of long distance riding from time to time, yet after a season of racing, targeting Sportives alone feels like a backward step. I could of course take up MTB, Track or Cyclocross – however all of these would necessitate the purchase of yet another bike – something I’m not going to be-able to afford for a very, very long time. That leaves two options – Time Trialling and Road Racing.

At the present moment, its the former discipline that appeals the most. I’ve always been something of an Aero geek, the scientific side very much up my street. I like purity of the event – just you against the clock, nowhere to hide. I’d like to think its easier for the strongest man to win (not that it will be me of course) – no tactics to worry about and no crashes to avoid. It’s also a big incentive to get down to race weight and spend a bit of time in the gym bulking up my legs – nowhere to hide in a skinsuit! That, at least is a start.

That said, I certainly don’t want to stop racing. The thought of my hard earned best bike sitting in the garage all year sends a shiver down my spine. I feel a sense of unfinished business, having only completed two road races so far and not had a good result, that is to say a points finish. My local club puts on a 3/4 race on a yearly basis, I’ll certainly be entering that one – nothing like a home race, if it goes well that is.

Getting somewhere – at the very least I’ll have a reason to start training again in a couple of weeks time. Without some kind of plan, evening turbo sessions and long rides in the wet certainly won’t be happening! For the sake of further motivation – I’ll set out my goals here. Not that I expect anyone to particularly care but at least they’ll be written somewhere, I won’t simply be-able to deny setting them should I fail for whatever reason. Here goes…

1) Ride a 25 mile Time Trial in under an hour
2) Ride 100 miles in under 5 hours
3) Achieve 3 points finishes in 3/4 road races

There we have it. I can already feel the urge to push myself growing again. Now just to come up with the events themselves. For the 25 I’ve decided to put myself out there and see if I can make the BUCS event in April (inter University for anyone who hasn’t heard of it) – this probably won’t be easy, in fact I’m banking on being able to enter because some of the better riders in the University Club won’t fancy it! For the hundred, its got to be the first stage of the Tour of Wessex┬«, its fairly local for me and a truly spectacular course that holds many fond memories. There are rumours of a dedicated time trial event this year, separate from the sportive – fingers very firmly crossed.

It’s too early to know when most of the road races will be held, to that end I’ve made the decision not to prioritise them until the middle of the season. I’m hoping this will leave just about enough time to get the higher intensity training in so as not to be dropped on the first lap. I’m making a commitment to not hanging around at the back of the bunch anymore, having had any hope of a result in a Road Race this year dashed by being caught behind crashes. I won’t have a metal plate in my shoulder to worry about either, rendering my best excuse (“I just stayed out of trouble to make sure I didn’t crash, because of my bad shoulder ) no longer valid – I’ll begrudgingly take that as a positive.

That, as they say is that. I think I’ve waffled along enough for one day – apologies to anyone (that is to say most people) who have found this post a little dull. I’ll admit to using it as a means to get my jumbled thoughts in order and actually get something done before the last minute for a change. Stay tuned.

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