Surviving Race Report Void

Post-posting update: Go read Rosey's unusually verbose thoughts about growing cross, they are good, so good I haven't figured out how to respond to them yet.
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It's safe to say that the last 12 days proved I'm nothing without race reports. It's one thing to sneak the odd non-race-report item into a 4000-word essay about a mountain bike race, it's another thing to build that non-race-report item into a 4000 word essay. There's a length requirement for these things, right?

My desire to crush souls on snow, despite the fact that I did zero dryland training and didn't even get on skis until December 20, has already caused some problems. I'm up to, let's see, 9 days on snow and there has been zero progress in how I feel. Linnea and I hit the snow for 3 straight days over New Year's, and by the last day I was completely useless, not getting stronger at all, I just wanted to walk up hills until we hit two hours and I could legitimately quit and go back to sleep. Is it possible to go from zero to overtrained in two weeks? Probably. I feel exactly the same as I did in February 2007.

So anyway. We're backing that off a notch, which -- now that the holidays are over and all I have is Weston -- shouldn't be too hard. Luckily the Tuesday night races start tonight, which will both create blogging fodder and answer the question, "just how bad is my fitness?"

If tomorrow's post is "so I just won a Tuesday Night Race" then I am sorry for wasting your time with my whining.

Elsewhere, on the obligatory-January-cyclist-self-improvement front, I have two New Year's Resolutions to share. Many people have real, important, serious goals for 2009 and are making positive changes in their life to achieve them, which is great, although why we all wait until January 1st to get our shit together escapes me. I actually came up with this stuff on January 3rd, anyway.

Without further ado, my grand and illustrious goals for 2009 are:
1) Drink three glasses of water a day. It's a sad truth that programmers love the coffee, and I'm no exception. By some weird coincidence, I also often find myself heading out for training rides/Tuesday night races thinking "man I'm dehydrated." Perhaps if I can get the thought "I'm thirsty, I think I'll refill this coffee mug" out of my brain, I can solve this problem.
2) Be able to do 15 pull-ups without stopping. There is no good reason for this except that I read a fasterskier article where the author, a former pro, said: "Pull-ups are the essential part of my week and a good indication of my upper body strength. If I can do sets of 15 each week, I know my arms will be there when I need them in a race." Of course, I have never been able to do 15 pull-ups in my life, never mind sets of 15.

This is my favorite idea of all time, because almost everyone who reads this is a cyclist, and thus has the upper body of a T-Rex. So 15 pull-ups is as intimidating to you as it is to me, and more importantly, when I reach this lofty goal -- you might say something like, "Pullups aren't going to make you faster on a bike, moron" but you'll be thinking to youself "oh god I'm so weak and pathetic."

Lastly, to fulfill the non-race-report-blog-entries-must-be-three-unrelated-items quota, I've been riding a fixed gear to work for over a month now. Sadly it is not Miriam's Sweet Fixie or even a "sweet fixie," but it's still my fixie, which is pretty cool to me. After a month of bouncing my knee off my chin when I try to stop pedaling, I've mostly got it down.

It's a brand new Surly Steamroller, acquired from from IBC for the right price. I would have taken a picture of it, but that's a bit too velospace-y, and besides it looks just like the one in the link, except it's a nice poop-brown color and has brake hoods and fenders. As always, the bike and its accessories were assembled by Thom P, who is so good at his job that my bike mechanic skills are rapidly atrophying.

After riding home through 4 inches of packed snow back in that big storm we had, aka longest-sandpit-ride-ever, I can safely say that this bike is wicked, and that pushing a fixed 2.5:1 ratio on 23 mm tires through snow is stupid, but in a fun way.

So now, when you find yourself saying "how'd that mountain biker get such a buttery-smooth pedal stroke??" -- you'll know the answer.
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