Three Reasons Why I'm Excited About Cyclocross Nationals This Week
- I’m starting to breathe better with practice, using protocols and exercises from Forest Coaching and Patrick McKeown.
- My legs are feeling great. The training I’ve been doing seems to be spot on.
- I’m having a fun time riding my bike on fun cyclocross courses! I’m learning to ride for fun, not results.
This is cyclocross nationals week.
I race in the non-championship 50 plus on Tuesday, Dec. 7, and the championship 55-59 race on Thursday, Dec. 9.
That I’m racing at nationals is not a “humblebrag.”
Nor is it a statement that I’m going to win or even finish in the top half of the field.
The two races are simply the last two races of a cyclocross season I really didn’t expect to have.
And let me tell you, I’m stoked!
I can’t wait to ride!
Cyclocross Nationals is in Chicago! Of Course, I’m Going!
Several years ago, cross nationals were held in Madison.
It was the time when I was focused on cyclocross to get results, not just to have fun.
I did not get great results there, even though I was physically in great shape.
The breathing was tough on the cold days, and my brain was just whacked (my new word of the day) out with pressure and anxiety.
This year, cyclocross nationals are in Wheaton, Illinois, just outside of Chicago.
So I’m going with a different attitude and better breathing habits!
Rediscovering the Joy of Riding A Bike in Stupid Conditions
Really, cyclocross is stupid.
We take perfectly good, and usually pretty expensive, bicycles and ride them in shitty conditions: mud, sand, grass, gravel.
And cross is really hard.
You start the race with a sprint and ride red-lined the rest of the race.
But it’s so much fun when you ride for the fun factor.
That’s always how I judge a cross course: what’s the fun factor.
I know “fun” is always in the eyes of the beholder, but for me, a fun course is flowy, technical, wide and open, and a chance to ride the bike fast as well as challenge your technical skills.
Relearning to Breathe
I’ve been writing some about learning to breathe better, mostly through breathing through my nose and learning to increase my CO2.
It’s been kind of an amazing process.
Two years ago, I had decided to stop racing cross because the demands of the racing always triggered asthma attacks.
Racing was no longer fun.
I’ve been racing bikes for over 30 years, so it was no small feat to say I was done.
This year, I’ve been practicing the breathing protocols, and this summer was able to do intervals again.
So I decided to try out some cross races to see if my attitude and breathing have changed.
Both, especially because they are so intertwined, are so much better.
I didn’t start racing again to prove something.
Bike racing is just a blast!
Cyclocross Nationals is Just One More Race
Even though I’m getting some of that nervous energy, cyclocross nationals is just another race.
Despite COVID lung still lingering, I get these little bouts of optimism that can get my emotional state in trouble.
I start thinking, well, my breathing is better, my legs are great, the other guys have been racing a full season, maybe I have a shot at a top ten.
Then I remember my mantra of just having fun.
I’m going to go ride as fast as I can and not touch my brakes!
The training has gone exceptionally well, even with some time off for COVID.
And while getting sick came at a less than optimal time for cyclocross nationals, I still feel as ready as I could be!
So It’s On Like Donkey Kong!!
I’m going to have a great week of immersing myself in cyclocross nationals.
Besides my two races, I’m going to watch the kids on Saturday because they remind me of how to have fun.
I want to see Finn and Lyllie Sonnemann race.
Then on Sunday is the elite races, including the junior 17-18 race with Connor Polenske in his first big race!
Still Curious About What You Can Achieve?
I usually talk about training in these blog posts.
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I never assign anything to a client that I haven’t tried out myself and seen some results.
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