More and more I am becoming aware of a paradigm shift in my athletic inclinations. For example, the Kokopelli Trail Race. I did it twice last year, first, second. Very different rides. The first was a mass start event with 56 starters, the second was a solo training mission.
The mass start event was a blast. Starting at midnight under a full moon was unforgetable, no doubt. The vibe on the start line was thick as pea soup.
The solo mish was, without a doubt, my favorite 1 day ride last year. Now why would that be I ask myself…
I could go on and on about this paradox. Mass start events usually come with a goal of victory, and to be honest, I have no desire to “beat” others. I absolutely enjoy riding near my limits on a regular basis (duh) but don’t relish the thought that doing so might diminish others enjoyment of their efforts. I say this because when I am unsuccessfully chasing in an event, I usually find my limits before expected because sensations are muted in this instance. I don’t know I’m pushing as hard as I am until it’s too late. And that isn’t very fun.
If you’ve raced with me, this might sound like horseshit. In the heat of battle, I am very focused, level headed, and will do all in my power to chase you down or leave you choking on my dust. That’s the rule of the game. The shift is that my enjoyment of this game is waning. More often than not, I find myself preferring to smell the roses.
Back to that solo mish: now that’s the sort of thing that turns my crank. Why? Because its me and the course and it’s as simple as that. It’s pure. The only external influence on my actions is the wind, sun, trail. To me, this is the essence of athleticism – or dare I say the human experience.
The 3rd race would be team events. In TransRockies last year I discovered a new type of racing, one requiring teamwork, synergy, and focus towards a common goal. That is entirely different because with the right partner you will help each other reach new levels of performance. Maybe that is the human experience.
In any case, as I look at my early season racing schedule there are some things that don’t quite gel. For one, the Payson race. It’s hard to get excited for lap races these days (thanks a lot Curiak) in general, but when I learned it was staged in a county fairgrounds (read: animal manure and flies) and there is no singletrack – life is just too short to spend doing that sort of event, and I can’t bring myself to ask a support crew to hang out in the fairgrounds for 36 hours swatting flies. So, about 2 weeks after registering for it, it’s off the plan. That leaves a big hole, cause I have been building fitness for the event. I’m shaking things up a bit like this:
This weekend I’ll do a solo KTR mish. So far no shuttle plans so I may park in Moab Sat, ride to Fruita via pavement, sleep a few hours in a hotel then blast away. That will push the 16 day TSS total to ~ 3500, not a bad 2 week binge total if you ask me. From there its a taper and sharpen period to the weekend of the scheduled KTR. Depending on conditions, I will either do the GLR route or KTR that weekend. I’d prefer to do the GLR route, but if the Unc is still snowy then I’ll chase moonbeams & rabbits with y’all.
For certain, I will put everything I have into solo 24 hour worlds this year. Time will tell whether or not it is a one-off event. What really gets me excited for ’07 is a solo GLR attempt and BC Bike Race.
Kudos (or condolences) if you’ve made it this far. These are some concepts that have been rattling between my ears for awhile. Hope it came out right, but I doubt it…