Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mid Season Checkup

Onboard camera from the Saturday Beer-Drinking-Dad's race,  edited down & sound-tracked.  Funny how what you remember from a race may or may not be what really happened.  Might have something to do with depriving your brain of oxygen for 45 minutes.  Not sure.  At least I was following thru on my race goal of not waiting to pass,  but just doing it.  (Been watching Rod Yoder's cam footage,  and he has NO hesitation in going by people.....)  Some nice elbow-throwing and even a crash or 2 in here.

Colorado Cross Classic - SM35+ cat 4 bar-cam from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Time for a "mid" season checkpoint.  While I try and walk the fine line between obsessive-compulsive neurotic "result wanter" and beer-handup "who cares" Portland cross-dressing crosser,  I do try and have a reasonable set of goals for each season,  and would really like to at least get a LITTLE better each year.  Now that I have been in enough races to get a "statistically valid" sampling of race results,  and have had my first full on physical meltdown for the year,  it's time for a little look at progress to goals.

I had three measurable goals for the season....

1 - Place in top 1/2 of the field in ALL races finished (well,  in the 35+ cat 4,  not the 45+...)
2 - Consistently place in top 20 of the 35+ cat 4 races entered  (> 50%)
3 - Get one top 10 finish in the Beer Drinking Dads League

Well,  one out of three at mid season isn't bad.  I track my placing as a % of the number of finishers in a race.  Helps level out field size variation against place.  I've been doing that for years,  and it makes it easy to track your results year to year,  without small & big fields messing with your mind  (15th in a 30 rider field is not the same as 15th in a 100 rider field...).  You can even see your "% beat" on if you don't want to track your own statistics,  so I must not be the only one to dream up this method.   I am running about 6% better on average finishes compared to last year,  mostly due to consistency.  Not having multiple really bad races helps the average a lot.   So the question is whether a few percent improvement year over year is "good enough",  or am I an abject failure as a bike racer?  Myself,  putting on my "race for fun" hat,  I am going to go with "Good Enough".  After the first 2 races,  a 23rd in 45+ (50%) and a 14th in the BDDL at Xilinx #1 (16%),  I started thinking I was maybe on a breakthrough season,  results wise,  but then reality reared it's ugly head again for the next few races.  Now I think it was the less "deep" fields,  and the heat that helped my placing out  for those 2 races,  more than any sudden Sven Nys gene implantation or sudden EPO regime.

This year I have been consistent to the point of being creepy.  outside of the first 2 races,  I've been finishing in what is apparently "my" place in every race.  41% within 1 % race to race.  Not anywhere near my goal of consistent top 20 finishes,  but well inside the always top half base goal.  Top 10 is looking like a bit of a "stretch" goal for the year.

OK,  Given the checkup results,  and that a bazzilion intervals now probably won't really help make me faster,  not to mention are NO fun and would hurt a lot,  it looks like serious rest may be the only real option to try and get out of that 41st percentile.  This means I will skip both races this weekend,  and hope the easy time off will let me recover and suddenly start riding in the front 10.  (or maybe 5 or so places further up the fields.  Ft. Collins USGP will tell a lot about how the rest of the season will go for me.  till then,  I hope all of you hang out,  drink lots of beer,  and help me reach my goals.

That,  and some snow or mud to help slow down the big motors for me would help,  too.  Pray for snow.  Please.

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