Friday, April 19, 2013

Our Own Personal Rapha Continental

I got up way too early this morning listening to the jackhammers tearing up my parking lot and watching the dog run around like a crazed beast barking at them for making too much noise. I'm not riding with the team guys for another hour so I've been sitting here in a post morning dog run but still pre-caffeinated (completely) watching the Rapha Continental Videos on my AppleTV.

I was thinking to myself that these guys are essentially making a living capturing a type of memory that most of us have from seeing the world a top a bicycle. I'm jealous from that standpoint but it got me thinking about what my Rapha Video would contain and came up with a short highlight list in my head, there's dozens more I'm sure but these always stick out.

- Jumping head first off the Clinton Lake dock during KU Friday fun Rides
- Relaxing in the campus fountain post the aforementioned rides
- Pushing through peanut butter mud attempting to cross some old farm bridge on the first Bundy Hundy
- Cresting Texaco Hill during every single Dirty Kanza attempt
- The first time riding down the switchbacks of Lookout Mountain
- Seeing 50mph for the first time on an unmarked 4wheeler trail aboard my first 29er high above Hot Sulphur Springs with a dense pine forest to one side and a sheer drop on the other
- Stopping at Oskar Blues mid epic out in Lyons for some views and brews

Alright, time to start airing up the tires to go make some more memories.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Long Road to CX Nats

There's a pretty fresh foot of snow on the ground here in Denver. Cyclocross season is over, road season has begun and MTB racing will be upon CO in short order. But I'm thinking about cyclocross.

I had the revelation sometime during November that I am tired of being one of the slowest Cat3 CX racers in Colorado and decided that I will have a better season this year. So here I sit with a road racing calendar in front of me. Circling the crits that I can do before work, highlighting the stage races worth taking the weekend off for and wholly ignoring the mtb race calendar for the first time in a loooong time.

I came to the realization this year that ultra endurance mountain bike racing as a 20 something isn't good for much besides padding the ego. If you can ride for 60-100 miles off-road then chances are you get a top 10 finish automatically with the dismal fields that show up for the non-masters categories. I'm not trying to diminish the accomplishment of racing for an extended period of time on a mountain bike, it's hard. It really is a truly difficult task, but it doesn't make you fast in any other discipline of the sport and rarely shows you just how hard your competition is. That being said I got into the Laramie Enduro this year and will be racing it slowly and at the back on my 5" travel 29er as an attempt to shut down into base building mode before CX season gets hot.

I guess I have my first crit race this Saturday. My fast twitch muscles are finally starting to feel okay again after they took a solid 4 years off while I rode centuries. I got lucky enough to contest a city limit sprint with a Lululemon pro last week after we shelled the 20 other dudes on our lunch break ride, so I guess that says something about my fitness. I hit 1000 miles this month with no rides longer than 60 miles for this year, last year I had 5 centuries under my belt by this time... my body feels different.

Anyways, I want to do well at cross nationals next year. They are in Boulder and I can feasibly see myself finishing top 50 as long as I stay consistent and motivated. I really want to hire a coach and buy a power meter but it's a pretty steep investment to have someone tell you what you already know after 15 years of racing a bike. So I guess I'm just going to keep consistently struggling for a while.

As as aside I'm a Master BodyGeometry Fit Technician now. I just got back from Specialized HQ in CA a few days ago. I'm sure ol' Waller still doesn't want me to fit him on his bike since I am "just Andrew Slater." But it was pretty neat discussing synovial fluid and chondromalacia with Andy Pruitt over breakfast. I guess being a Master Fit Tech puts me in a pretty solid league of my own in my part of town and even in this country. I was feeling pretty un-easy over the whole certification process when I first got there but I quickly realized that most shops offering these fits are working with an older group of clients and working around specific medical diseases, I do that too but... I am super fortunate to have the trust of a ton of racers locally. It never even crossed my mind that while I'm not only servicing a customer base that needs to be kept comfortable on their bike, there are quite a few less technicians in the US that are working with athletes to produce power and race results.

I guess I look at my fit business differently than most individuals. I have always been here for the racers first and foremost, that's probably why I have 3 teams under my director-ship right now. I'd love to have my own little fit studio one day. Working with racers and performance level individuals to figure out their body on a bike, it's a very under-served community that is very hard headed when it comes to their own personal beliefs of how a bike should feel.

I guess that's rant over time. Maybe one of these days I'll start updating regularly and adding pictures again.