The final race of the season (I know, I've said that life twice before already this season but this time it really was) was this past Saturday. I prepared for and warmed up for this race with honest intent and rode and raced as hard as I could. Other than an issue getting clipped in at the start, I rode a clean race. Throughout the race I attacked with conviction at the points where I hoped to do the most damage and I launched the biggest attack on the final lap. Unfortunately it was not enough as I was not the strongest of the group I was in, Ryan was, and proved it with a final attack that I had no answer for. Don had an awesome race and also came by me in the sprint.
I was beaten fair and square in my race within the race and I can live with that, because at least I know that I tried. I think that I know what happened this year and I have an idea of how to fix it for next year. That's the best I can do at this point, is have a plan and start working on it. The slate is once again clean and tomorrow affords a fresh start.
Sunday was forecast to be sunny, calm and cold, a perfect day to be in the woods. Ben, Keith and I decided that single-speed mountain bikes would be the hot setup while Cathy and her group decided to hit the road instead. We did a nice moderate pace and hit a bunch of the Bedford, Billerica and Carlisle conservation land trails that we don't generally ride. This included some nice single-track sections that have recently been greatly improved. Our journey also took us through Great Brook State Park where we looped around many of the excellent MTB trails designed and constructed by NEMBA. From there we hit more conservation land trails, eventually making our way into Estabrook Woods. By that point we were almost 3 hours into the ride and Ben was an hour into being totally bonked and I was sweaty and cold and suffering hard as well from my bonk training tactic (no food and nothing but water). We finished off the ride talking about food and immediately ordered from the Bedford House of Roast Beef after wards. BTW, I'm still trashed from the effort on Sunday.
Last night we received the first snow of the season here. I'm on vacation and spent all day yesterday working in the basement. The actual manual labor, which included lifting, loading, unloading and carrying sheets of 3/4" Advantec underlayment as well as boring holes for lag shields in concrete with my hammer drill. This left my back a mess. Despite that fact and the fact that I have zero motivation to do so, I went out last night to attempt a ride. It was cold and windy and snowing hard so I made it exactly 20 minutes before coming home, frozen solid.
This morning I shoveled the drive and then wrapped Cathy's presents, the ones that have arrived. I then mustered all of the motivation that I have, which wasn't much, and suited up for a MTB ride in the fresh snow. Today was sunny and above freezing so I was instantly way overdressed. After stripping down some and finding places to stow my now extra clothing, I discovered that the zipper on my pants had blown out and I was flying wide open. Oh well, I had shorts on underneath. The trails in the PR were covered with about an inch and half of fluff. Much of the single-track is narrow and twisty and lightly bowled out given that the ground surface was primarily loose, leafy loam that has been packed, compressed and eroded to the hard-packed dirt trail floor. When they are covered in snow this makes the uneven surface somewhat slick and slippery, adding to the fun. My legs had little or nothing to give but I still had fun plowing around on the Yeti fun-hog that Brian hooked me up with this spring. After an hour and a half my back started complaining so I turned tail and headed home. Still a good ride. I'd forgotten how much resistance a little bit of snow can make, at least that is what I'm telling myself, that the snow was what made all of those little climbs feel so difficult.