CX Nationals in Reno (looking in the mirror)

After a month of pondering on my Reno CX Nationals adventure I’m feeling quite content. The big picture summary is that I created and refined a game plan, executed that plan with intentionality and focus, and brought home some wisdom and experience.

Additional introspection required me to weigh my gains against my costs. My costs included some dollar resources, more than twenty four hours of driving time, and five days away from my family. I experienced a race environment that, in my opinion, was not available to me outside an event of this caliber. Despite the impossibility of measuring the cost to benefit ratio I have no regrets on my endeavor.

In no particular order are these gems of wisdom I’ll take into next years Cyclocross season:

Sustained effort requires sustained effort training

In 2017 I targeted short duration (5 to 10 seconds) high intensity training to good effect. For 2018 I’ll augment that training with some slightly longer duration efforts. My goal is to become stronger when the terrain requires a steady effort of about one minute.

One Cyclocross racer rides the sand feature
Turning the pedals and burning the matches to get through the sand feature.

Putting a cap on the nerves

Pre race nerves nearly got the best of me at Nationals this year. But they didn’t. And I came home with the knowledge that I’m not immune to the butterflies and that I have the tools to tame them.

Sram tent tool display
Yeah, we’ve got the tools to handle that.

Hopping skills are not just for the Elites

We’ve all seen Elite riders hopping full height barriers or dismounting into a full tilt run through a technical section. It turns out the riders leading my age group are displaying similar speed over those challenges. In the category of CX specialized skills there exists some daylight between me and the best riders in my age group. That gap wants to be closed.

Pacing by course feature

This lesson is not new to me or any other CX racer at my level. It is true for all courses. But the thin air of Reno really did put a fine point on it and how easily it can be misgauged.

Dinasaur sculpture with cycling in background
Racing under watchful eyes in the dinasaur playground

The Grand Conclusion (to a successful CX season)

As I look back I can only conclude that I’ve had a wonderful year. I’m stronger on the bike. I’ve met a bunch of great people off the bike. I’ve gotten smarter about how the game is played. And I’m still feeling as engaged in the sport as ever. The training is seldom easy yet I’m already looking forward to next year.

As the calender marches towards the December 2019 Nationals at Fort Steilacoom Park I see two more chances. Two more CX seasons to refine my training. Two more CX seasons to polish my CX skills. Two more seasons to become the best CX racer I can be and earn my best finish. Let’s take that ride.

Specialized cycling tent with welcome sign
All are welcome!