My journey to cross country nationals got a little more complicated a few weeks ago. I broke my frame.

I was doing an easy ride around the Marshal Mesa trail network in Louisville/Boulder and, while on a smooth section of trail, my seat post just dropped all the way and my butt suddenly came in contact with the rear tire. After what I’m sure was a spectacular crash/save, I picked myself up off the ground to find that my seat post had actually gone through the back of the seat tube, leave a roughly 1 square inch cutout.

I managed to put the post back in the frame and basically road a large kids bike 8 miles home. My knees were not happy about this, but it’s a pretty easy road ride back to Broomfield.

Since then, I have contact Specialized, who will not help because I am the second owner and several carbon repair places, who can not fix the frame due to where the break is located. I appear to have limited options. I plan on again contacting Specialized and hope to plead my case to a higher authority as well as continue to engage carbon repair shops to see what can be done. In the end, I may have to find a way to buy a new bike, but I’ve got several months until I need to make that decision.

I’m devastated, but undeterred. One way or another I will get this sorted and be ready for the “real” mountain bike training to start early next year. For the time being, I’ll focus primarily on base fitness and some skills work on my cross bike.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need it!

It’s time to set new goals for 2017! This year, I’m going to try something old and something new: higher volume and having two peaks in the season.  One of the biggest things I noticed when I was racing in college was that even if I wasn’t getting a ton of intensity in or if I was sick, having the extra volume seemed to buffer my fitness and allow me to have a lot of extra gas in the tank as the year progressed.  For this reason, I’m looking to shed some of the intensity I did this year in favor of volume.  However, this won’t just be mindless riding, I’ll include plenty of tempo intervals with some neuromuscular efforts.

Physical Goals:

  • Increase TTE to 50:00
  • Raise mFTP to 300w (season high: 273)
  • Raise 1min power to 700w (season high: 568)
  • Gain/Maintain a weight of ~150lbs (currently: 144.6 lbs)
    • Gained through strength training
    • Mostly an experiment since most great cross and XCO racers carry a higher weight for raw increased power
    • It’s OK if I’m a little below this as long as I’m not carrying loads of dead weight (low body fat)
  • Body fat less than 10% by “A” mountain events
    • I would like to use a DEXA scan, but the cost might require me to continue to use my scale
  • Raise CTL to between 75-85 by “A” mountain events and rebuild that for the cyclocross season.

Misc. Goals (Nebulous):

Normaly you don’t want goals that are nebulous, but some of the skills I need are nebulous (such as comfort offroad)

Skills that Make a Better Race

  • Learn to bunny hop barriers
  • Need to include a few minutes of skill work during endurance rides
    • Doesn’t need to be super structured
  • Need to include more neuromuscular work to reduce co-activation of muscles during the pedal stroke
    • High cadence intervals (120+)
    • Cadence Pyramids

Do more offroad riding on my cross bike

  • Dirt roads and mountain bike trails count
  • Generally looking for more comfort than anything specific

Racing Goals:

  • In the road/mountain events, finish in the main field
    • Need goals to keep motivation high and to avoid just doing continual base
    • High placing is a bonus, but these events are for fitness, motivation and skills
  • Upgrade to Cat 3
    • Missed this goal by a wide margin last year; I won’t make the same mistakes again
    • I believe if I hit my physical goals, this will fall in line
    • However, I also will try to target smaller races to follow the path of least resistance

With lofty goals set, I want to go over some equipment changes that I want to make. This year was mired with technical issues. Desipite feeling good physically, I DNF’d 60% of my races due to issues with Specialized’s tubeless tire lineup.

Equipment Change List:

  • Acquire Tubular Wheelset
    • Hopefully I can afford two: one for mud and one for all around
    • Likely will go 35mm for increased stability since UCI rules don’t apply to me yet
      • Will have to change that if I qualify for Nationals or race in the open field
    • If I have to stay on tubeless, will need to experiment a lot with tires, so I don’t have the same problems of tires burping during hard cornering
  • Get a bike stand
    • This was supposed to be done earlier this year, but wasn’t due to finances
    • Life would be easier if doing my own repairs was easier

It has been almost two full weeks since my last race and will be another one until I make a final run at the season.  Despite having opportunities to race, I decided to pull the plug for a few weeks in order to rebuild my form ahead of the regional and state championship races.  I have and will continue to spent nearly all of my time at FTP and SST in order to hopefully generate a few more watts.  I’ve discovered over the past several races that what is holding me back is sustainable power and the ability to ride and recover at or slightly below FTP.  Will this short rebuild work?  I don’t know, but I feel like I’m in a bit of a rut at the moment and had to change things up before the season ended.

50-7892-BLK-ANGLEI’ve made another change that will hopefully garner some results, changing pedals.  For the last three races I’ve had problems clipping in during the later portions of the race because my current pedals (Shimano XTs) keep filling with debris.  In fact, during Sienna Lake I went nearly a quarter of a lap over bumpy terrain without being clipped in, which I feel cost me a top 20 finsh.  As such, I have purchased a set of Crank Brothers Candy 3 pedals, which, thus far, are really nice.  I like the size of the platform and the 4x entry makes them easy to clip in to.  I’m still not as solid clipping in quickly as I am with the XTs, but I’m comfortable enough to finish my season on them.  The only thing I don’t know yet is how good the mud clearance is.  Fundamentally, there is a lot more open space in the pedal body, so I would think the mud clearance would be fantastic.  We haven’t had any since my last race, so this isn’t something I have been able to test.

Back to training.  I still have a nagging goal of getting a top 20 finish and only two very difficult races left to accomplish it.