This winter, like last winter, I have been training for the upcoming racing season. This year was a bit more structured as I did two different things: set a goal number of hours of training for each week based on some periodization training techniques and setup training plans on a weekly basis. What the heck does that all mean? Basically I had a lot of riding to get done.
And, honestly, I haven’t been hitting those targets regularly. But this has made me realize a couple things about training: training for something you do for fun has to be, well, fun. If I do half the hours I set out to do in a week, I take that lightly. I topped last year’s mileage totals in January, but not February (what the heck was I doing in February last year?). This year I have added in yoga once a week and I’m happy I have. So far most weeks have been a collection of 1-2 hour rides with longer 3+ hour rides on weekend. Up until March, I have mostly just done what is called “base” riding: keeping the pace pretty easy. And most of this has either been on the road or a trainer since we’ve had a bad year for riding trails so far. Minus a few intervals, crazy hill rides, or hill repeats, this has been the most I’ve done.
This past weekend was a bit different. Finally the weather aligned so that it looked good to hit the trails. In light of that, I made the decision to skip a mountain bike race to camp and ride two great mid-Missouri trails: the Berryman Trail and Middlefork. And I got to take my new Salsa Spearfish for its first real dirt trials. Pacing was fun and we got in a long day of riding on Saturday taking in about half of the Berryman, some gravel, and some of the Courtois section of the Ozark Trail. The weather was great and the bike was perfect. The 29er’s high clearance and wheels rolled over the roots and rocks making the Berryman more enjoyable than usual. During the descent to Brazil Creek I hit something weird, the bike got loose at 18-19 miles per hour and I thought I had pushed too far. Somehow the bike snapped me out of it, planting the front wheel and pointed it down the trail and telling me “go this way”. And I did. It was amazing.
Saturday night we camped and tried to recover for day 2. It was going to be rough as we hadn’t spent two consecutive days on trails in ages, but the Middlefork doesn’t disappoint and the Spearfish just ate it up. I was having moments where I decided the bike was designed for this type of trail. The climbing pace was easy but descending was insane. I normally didn’t have the bike set in the big ring and was still pushing the speed on these descents. To top that: I didn’t even realize until the end of Sunday that I had ridden the whole weekend with the front suspension set to a more “stiff” setting!
While racing would have been a blast, I just really needed a weekend to chat with the new bike and the trails. Now, I can say I’m looking forward to the Lost Valley race coming up!