2008 Season Retrospective

Another glorious cross season has ended, and now I'm heading into the blog-sparse void of cross country skiing. I've already been on skis twice, and the initial prognosis is "this isn't going as bad as I thought it might," which isn't to say I'm feeling faster than, say, Alex.

But if you're anything like the typical reader you couldn't care less about the abuse my hip flexors are taking, you just want to hear about bikesbikesbikes. And that's cool, because this season was awesome... at least for me.

Despite my best efforts to race myself into oblivion, my body somehow made it to cross season still functioning and I ended up being a contender in 2/3 Men. As Cary has repeatedly reminded me, I was riding slowly in July, but somehow turned that into cross fitness by doing 24 hour races. Surprised and confused? Me too.

I added it up and I think I did 59 races this year.

9 "Real" Weekend ski races
7 Tuesday night ski races
13 Root 66 MTB races (11 XC, 2 short tracks)
2 24 hour races
4 other mtb races (King of Burlingame, Jay Winter Challenge, Ice Crit,Nationals)
1 Road race (Tour of the Hilltowns)
3 Dover TT's
20 cross races

That's pretty stupid, right?

I thought so. But, the other day Johnny Bold said this on the New England cross list:

I train 7 -8 hours a week....on a good week.

Just like me.

You know what else he does? Race every single damn weekend, from March to December.

Just like me.

I'm officially renaming my training plan to "Johnny Bold Style," as in "yeah, I didn't really ride my bike this week, but I've been on it Johnny-Bold-style since March so I'm not too worried."

Really though, it kind of makes sense. 58 races is a lot, but I'm not a big interval guy -- for no other reason than that I'm a big wuss who can't hurt much unless he has a number on. I'm positive that if you add together my race days and "hard workout" days it would be less than 100 for the year. And that doesn't sound like too much, I bet plenty of folks out there doing 30 races or less are still doing around 2 interval sessions a week for the 30 weeks of spring and summer, which would be about 90.

Empirically, it worked for me and it allegedly works for Johnny. Next time you set your alarm for stupid-o-clock so you can get up and do yet another AM interval session, think about this.

Questionable training "programs" aside, this year saw a tight battle for the final 2/3 Verge podium spot that went down to the last race. Here's the final standings:

Like any series that doesn't drop any scores, the tight overall races was decided by consistency more than head-to-head matchups. I beat Jeremy Dunn 6-2 in the races we both finished, but I flatted out of Gloucester Day 2 and rode like an idiot at Vermont Day 2, which gave him the upper hand. Lest this come out sounding like sour grapes, Brian did the exact same thing to me, so it's not like I was the third-fastest guy in the field, and as previously mentioned Jeremy partied all night with the series on the line, and still rode fast enough to keep 3rd.

I've used my massive social network to determine that Dylan, Jeremy, Brian and I are all planning to ride the elite races next year, and I can only assume the James Tosca will do the same after winning the series outright. Patterson is an unknown, I get the impression that he will either be incredibly fast or living in a cardboard box next season. Possibly both. If you take the top five out, he's going to slay the field, so I hope he either upgrades or gets slower.

Last year's top 5 basically retired from serious 'crossing instead of racing a full UCI season, which is a shame since the back end of the elite race definitely needs more pack fodder. That's actually what bothers me about upgrading, more than getting lapped, or riding 60 minutes, it's the prospect of switching from tight, group racing to lonely time trials. Hopefully we'll all stick with it, and maybe Ryan will quit hating his bike, so we can have a back-of-the-lead-lap party train, at least until Trebon and Johnson show up.

I had initially planned to do a 2008 version of the golden top mounts here, but I took the top mounts of my bike, and spent this entire post talking about how great I am. Which is not very great at all. Oops. Guess we'll have to get to that in a future episode.