The yearly ritual has begun - grabbing odd moments to layer glue on rims, stretch tubs and then the tedious yet satisfying efforts to glue and reglue each tire needed for action later in the year. Not to mention that naggin feeling that the 2nd bike still isn't ready or even properly built up. Cross has a rhythm to it even when it is the off season - all thoughts, all tasks go toward the opening race and getting it right for that day. After that, well it seems to take over and each race leads to the next via each training session, good or bad.
This year, whilst the ritual feels familiar, new approaches to training are being put in place. As ever my lack of real racing since the last season hinders potential results in the season openers. However, a series of evening 10 TTs for the next 5 weeks should put some zip in the legs and to some degree accustom the brain and body to the unique pain that is the 1 hour of gut wrenching effort required to race cross. Base miles (ie the lack of) are perhaps less of problem this year as a number of longer rides and sportive goals led to above average time on the bike since last season. Some morning or evening runs combined with bike sessions have also led to my feeling of increased preparedness this year.
The big hole this summer is caused by the absence of the 3 Peaks - sometimes there is only so much I can juggle and new commitments for the family and a busy calendar in the league leave little time for the kind of obsessive approach the Peaks demands. A strategic withdrawal seemed the sensible option - the race is so oversubscribed that someone else will doubtless be itching to hurl themselves enthusiastically at the Dales hills and roads come the end of Sept.