Over the next few posts, I will work to answer the questions posed in the End of Season De-Brief post. Below I start with Questions 1 and 2:
Did you meet your racing goals?
In a word, no. But with that said, I think my goals may have been a bit over-ambitious. With no real knowledge or experience of the strength of the Masters category in New England cyclocross, I probably had no business thinking I could consistently break into the top 3, and as a result, onto the podium. I am still happy with my season and pleased with the constant improvement I saw throughout the season. Given the way my finishes improved through the season, I am confident that next season (2014-15) the goal of finishing the Verge Series in the top three of the overall standings is a reasonable and reachable goal. For 2013, I was completely self-coached and used heart rate only to gauge and guide my training. For 2014-15, I am looking to incorporate power as well as the service of a coach.
Do your training efforts truly replicate what is needed during competition?
I noticed in the early part of the season, I would start strong in races but then start to fade about halfway through the competition. I was perplexed at first because I'd done so much base in the early part of 2013 that I was confident I had banked many matches that I could burn. In looking back through my training journal and thinking on it some more, I realized that coming into the early part of the season, I'd not done enough high-intensity work. I think I was afraid to "burn too many matches" in early training, and thus, my body was not prepared for the intensity of a 'cross race. I will definitely visit this as I research and build my plan for 2014-15, especially if and when I hire a coach, this will be a topic to discuss.
Other than that, though, and once I got into the meat of the season, I feel my training did do a good job replicating the needs of the races. I worked with another local rider (I'll get his permission before putting his name up here publicly) who showed me a great local spot to simulate a course and race efforts. Thanks to this guy, I also learned this past season to integrate adequate rest into my routine. With that said, things can always be better and I'd still like to fine tune my pre-season work as well as my in-season routine. I will likely add a weekly time trial effort into the pre-season mix and more organized group workouts to the in-season.
Additionally, I would like to integrate more skill work into my training this next season. Coming from a mountain bike background, I like to think I have a strong bike handling skills, but I am always impressed by how much smoother and more fluid the fastest guys are.
I will write more on the other questions over the next few days. As always, I'm curious to hear your thoughts about your past season. Visit the EoS De-brief question list, and let us know what you did well and what you'd like to improve? What are your plans for improvement?