September 27 - October 1, 2011*
5 Days, 195 Miles, 28,000+ ft of Elevation GainI had so much fun racing the Trans-Sylvania Epic that I went ahead and registered for the Pisgah MTB Stage Race. Now that I know what to expect from a stage race I should be able to focus on some specific areas of training.
This is what I've been working on since Trans-Sylvania:
1. Equipment testing - I've been trying a variety of tires. I raced some brand new Schwalbe Rocket Ron's at the Beech Mountain short track race and cut the sidewall while leading. I still have the Rocket Ron on front but I put a Bontrager 29-0 on the rear. This tire rolls really, really fast and helped me win the SERC race at Clemson a couple of weeks ago. It also climbs well and works well on loose over hard pack. I'm not sure it's going to be the best tire for Pisgah, though. I purchased a Slant-6 and plan to try it out in the very near future. I saw some XDX tires on bikes at Trans-Sylvania. I tried one on the rear of my SS at Pisgah (after puncturing a Jones XR) and it was really awful on the gravel road climbs. The quest continues...
2. Trying new trails - I've only ever been to Pisgah one time, so a lot of the trails I will be racing on I will have little or no experience on. I've been to Beech Mtn, Dark Mtn and the Issaqueena trails in Clemson to mix it up a bit and to get used to going hard on unfamiliar trails. I do plan to make some more trips to Pisgah to learn some of the trails before I have to race on them
3. Training/racing variety - I race CAT 1 during the weekly races to keep the intensity level high, even though I end up near the bottom of the results. I'll continue to do some road race crits for some really intense racing and I plan to do the Crossroads series which will be 5 consecutive days of racing. I will continue to do long road rides to keep strong base miles for the endurance benefit.
4. Focus/balance - while I am focused on doing well at Pisgah, I still have a wife and a very demanding job that requires a lot of time and energy. I'm doing my best to keep things in perspective. The good things have been dropped from the schedule in order to do great things. I keep up with my Bible reading and prayer/quiet time. When I'm at work I stay focused on work and work diligently, but when I go home I don't take work with me. I try to involve the wife with the races and training as much as possible and to do things with her on the weekends. True, the grass is kinda tall and I have small trees growing in the rain gutters but when I think about how important that's going to be in 10 years it seems to always stay at the bottom of the to-do list.
See you on the trails!