|Photo by Terri Watters|
After watching my Bell Lap teammate, Brian Peterson, win several national championships a few years ago at Track Nationals in T-Town, I was inspired to try and compete at the masters national level in cyclocross. The challenge in front of me was how to juggle work, family, and the training commitment that would be required to get there. My solution was to take my time and create a seven year plan that would hopefully put me in the running for a national cyclocross championship when i turn 45 in 2015.
The logic goes like this: I can't even think of training 10+ hours a week consistently until my youngest boy, Deadly, turns three in 2011. Realistically i probably can't do more than 15 hours a week for a whole year until he's five, so i have several years to try and build up some base level of fitness so that going into 2014-15 I can be at the top of my game. There is a lot of math in my 7 year plan formula.
My first year of the plan, which was 2009 was less than stellar. I capped off an unlucky year, very few races and inconsistent training, by breaking my ribs at nationals. However - i did get myself to nationals in Bend, Oregon in order to see what it was like and get a feel for what it would take.
I started off 2010 with a few January cross races to capitalize on fitness I had been building since the fall. I had gotten off to a late start and was hoping i could see some improvement. I was happy with two top tens, one of which landed me on the podium in the 35 B's, at the CCCX Finale.
I didn't race much at all during the year but started focusing on building volume. With help from my wife, Caitlin, we created a schedule through the year which would enable me to do some longer weekend rides during the spring and summer, and the race almost every weekend through the fall. This is a huge sacrifice for Caitlin and I can't say enough how helpful it is when your spouse works with you on an effective schedule.
Due to both my wife's help and time away from full time work in July and August, i was able to get in the most consistent training I have had since i stopped racing full time in 1996. With my coach Dan Smith of Sportvelo I had set some goals I thought were achievable for the season.
1. Win a 35 B's race
2. Upgrade to Cat 2 CX - for improved seeding at nationals
3. Top 50% in BASP 35 As
4. Stretch Goal: Top 20 finish in BASP 35 As race.
My first cross race of the year was a bit of a mess, i forgot my bike - see race report here, but I came in second, and felt that I might have won if I hadn't been so disorganized before the start. I won the next two races, CCCX 2 & CCCX 3, and and upgraded accomplishing my first two goals before even starting the BASP series. I was feeling like i was ahead of schedule on my 7 year plan.
At BASP #1, Merrit College course, I came in 17th in my very first 35As race. Many riders had gone down with flats and crashes so riding a solid consistent race got me in top 20 much to my surprise. The rest of the series was a mixed bag as I had both good and bad luck but i finished consistently in the top 50% of the field with two top 20 finishes. With my finish at the Coyote Point #5 I was able to finish 17th in the BASP series meaning i had blown my top 50% goal away being in the top 21.794871794871796 %.
With all goals accomplished I have to go back to work with Dan Smith to figure out how to improve for 2011 and nationals in Madison, WI in 2012. While I was behind in 2009, I caught up and surpassed my expectations for 2010. I'm looking forward to 2011 and a new look for Team Bell Lap!
Without the following support group of people I never would be able pull it together.
My Family: Caitlin, Myrna & Deadly
Coach: Dan Smith
Team Bell Lap Crossers: BB
Team Bell Lap Riders: Brian, Beth, Tom, Steve, Eric, Bill and Mark.
East Coasters: Dad, Mom & Jon
Cross Guru (Mechanic & Motivator): Rob MacNeil
Nemesis & Friend: James Badia
Cross Friends: Karl, Karen, Haley, Billy, Megan, Dr. George, Andrew
Special thanks to Teri Watters who came TWICE to cheer me on.
Other friends that came to cheer: Chris, Ava, Ayla