2014 racing so far & Empty Fields

Have not been here to write since before the race season started.  I will give a short recap and then get right into the here and now of life.

As far as results go, this season is the best of my career.  I did get a wicked Virus Mid-Season in July.  It took me out pretty good, so my ability to race at the same level as the first 1/2 of the season was compromised for about 45 days. I kind of “had to” race almost every week in August, being already registered for some bigger Mid-West races and WORS, so the rebuild was slow.  This season has had a good string of Second places, and those are good, just leaves me wanting more of course.  The fitness is great now as I rebuilt a base just recently in late August and early September after all the August racing.  I think my form has been a few % points off to really grab the Win time and again.  Maybe a bit of the story this whole season.  I took the volume of riding to another level, which has helped in a long-term bigger picture, but the intensity might have lacked a bit.  Don’t get me wrong, I have had a good share of wins and great performances for such a stellar season, but in WORS I missed a few opportunities for a some wins when it looked to be in the cards.

The highlight so far this year was definitely the sole Pro XCT/National race on my schedule.  With UCI points running out and no ProXCT standing this year, I was riding from the back row.  Somehow was able to pull off 8th in the Cross Country and 6th place in the Short Track.  Both races I played it smart and steady.  I knew trying to make up too much ground from the back row would cost me later.   I set the pace at threshold or just a tad above and it is paid huge the last few laps of the XC.  It was the right call and I was never overtaken the whole race, steadily moving forward.  Front row and maybe in the mix?  In the short track it was a serious patience game! Most of the time the rule is to always overtake to get to the lead group. Instead I waited as patiently as possible in drafts until people started to show any signs of cracking and I only had to close 1 serious gap about half way through the race.  It cost me big though and probably was the effort to contest any further up than 5th-4th place.  With a single solid performance like this we are hoping to put together a solid program that allows for racing this level throughout next year.  Be great to see what front row starts could bring while racing this level consistently. Hopefully we will have some bigger announcements on that in a month or two.

 

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Another highlight is leading the WORS series right now, but its going to be a battle the last two races to hold off B. Matter, and that is how it should be at the end of a great season.  Battling head to head, rather than walking away on a few points by default!  Even better, by all local standards we both get a crack at each other on our “home courses”.  A few years back I won the race at The Rock  2 years in a row, it being a course I raced on every Wednesday night in the Summer since like 2004.  The last few WORS races at the venue have had a stream of bad luck for me, so I am looking for a bit of redemption on the home course.  And then of course Brian being from Sheboygan, the WORS finale is right in his backyard, and he has won on it many times.  He has been absolutely on fire this year, so both of these races should make for some great epic battles to cap off the many we have had this year!

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Plenty of battles with Brian so far this year!

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Putting me in the pain cave at the Crystal Lake Classic

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Just off the Win battling again at Treadfest with B. Matter and Cole House.

 

 

 

With some time off of racing, I have been really working on getting a bit more Form than Volume in training these past few weeks, we’ll see how it goes.  Less volume and WAY more intensity than I have ever done back to back.  I have this reoccurring phrase in my mind after all the repeats, “lessons in suffering”.  It is odd how workouts you are usually a little bit afraid of, because they hurt so bad, can start to become enjoyable. The pain of 174-185 HR beats per minute almost fades in the moments of adrenalized elation.

So looking ahead, it has been an amazing seasons so far and I am really excited to cap it off well through the last 2 WORS races and Iceman.  I may or may not include some Cross racing, but I think focused training time on Iceman may be more important than racing a discipline I do not focus on at all.  Plus Fat-Bike season is coming, with a race series right in my back yard where all the intervals are happening!

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Well this post started as a short recap of the season, which was supposed to be followed by a throw back Thursday about where my training days started.  It all started in this empty field I visited this past weekend while checking out the seriously RIPPIING new trails at Minooka park in Waukesha.  Ronsta and Waukesha Bicycle Alliance HAVE OUTDONE THEMSELVES!!!  But, since it is now pushing “stupid” late at night, I will just leave you with some pics and get back to you about gratefulness for those empty fields in a day or two.

Close friends and family might recognize the place in the first picture and know how immensely significant an empty field can be in the future fruits of it’s existence.

 

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A picture allegory in Empty Fields

 

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Empty Field & Sensei

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Had no idea Minooka had so much elevation!

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One morning while living across the street from here, I thought running was no big deal, never really did it before…I ran a whole loop…literally could not walk the next day!

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New Trail Head at Minooka, seriously best trails in SE Wisconsin! They seem to be just getting started!

Thanks for checking in!

Blessing to all!

-Nathan