Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Training - Year End 2014

So Strava has this cool thing where you can put your year into a video of sorts.

Here is mine.

Presentation is everything - it's a generic presentation in terms of images and music but it makes it look so much better. It's like some pictures we had taken by a local photographer Matthew Wagner (he's the one that did our engagement and wedding pictures way back when) - instead of just reviewing the pictures the photographer did a presentation set to music. It made the images much more than just a picture, it made them emotional, vibrant.

Or, well, you can see for yourself.

My dad was so proud of me, I'm sure
Photo by Matthew J Wagner

So, like that, is the Strava thing.

My stats for the year are definitely on the lower side of things. In 2010 I did something like 450 hours, it's the only major stat I remember. I did something like 150 hours before the first Bethel, although I think I counted from December 2009 - November 2010. I was light, I was training, and the results showed.

This year was a bit less cycling focused, which was fine. The big thing was looking after Junior, who is 2 3/4 years old now. He's talking, he is learning like crazy, and he remembers obscure things from literally 6 months prior. At the doctor's office he pointed at a jar of tongue depressors.

"Sticks for the mouth."

The last time we'd been in a doctor's office was 6 months prior. I was shocked at his memory that moment.

That kind of stuff really overshadows anything I might accomplish cycling. Racing is fun, of course, but this is the end of my 32nd season of racing. I've been about as good as I can get in the past, I dedicated maybe 8 or 10 years to cycling 100%, and I'm totally okay with racing a bit less than at max.

I spent more time with Junior than getting ready to race this day.
I wouldn't have changed it if I could.
Photo by Matt Stuart, obviously

I did 158 hours this year. I did about 8,000 meters of elevation gain, so 24,000 feet. In terms of numbers it's not much. One rider that follows me on Strava would have done the same hours in 7 weeks; it took me 52.

I got about ten kudos for every hour I rode so that was nice. There are a lot of people that not only follow me but pay enough attention that they give me a thumbs up when I get a chance to ride the bike. To me this means the most. I recognize all the names, they're all people that I've become friends with in one cycling related way or another. Many are distant - I've never actually met them. Some I've corresponded with at length, giving them advice about racing and such.

The kudos they give me is sort of a manifestation of what drives me to continue with my involvement in the cycling community. I've been thinking about this a lot recently, the "why do I promote races" and "why do I offer help to other promoters".

I realized that it's not a business thing for me, although technically I'm trying to make money doing it. My accountant wife would argue from a fiscal point of view that since I'm minimally profitable it might be more efficient to not do any of it at all. She doesn't, of course, because she understands at some level, maybe better than I can define, what cycling means to me.

When I commit to someone to help them I'm committing to that person. I'm floored by the efforts and the results that two promoters make and get, those of White Plains and Tokeneke. Both events are things I wouldn't want to undertake on my own but the two pairs of promoters have gone out and created events out of nothing.

The kicker is that both promoters were first year promoters the first year I helped them. When you think about how much you didn't know when you first started racing, it's incredible to think about how much they accomplished going into these huge, full blown events without any experience promoting a race. The Silk City Cross race was also a first year event when I first helped, and the strength of the Expo team really helped pull together the event.


From a technical/bike point of view 2015 really had very little in terms of changes - no redoing my wheel set load out, no new frames, not even a new derailleur or anything like that. I did get my BB30 shells reamed so my bearings fit properly. This wa the first year my bike was semi-quiet.

Another thing was I got my custom stem, placing my drops properly relative to the bottom bracket (cranks). In 2013 I literally couldn't control my bike in sprints because my weight distribution was off just a bit. In 2014 I had no such problems.

Bike with my favorite wheel set, the Stinger 7/9 wheels.

I didn't realize how significant that was until a few months into the 2014 season. I won a lot of field sprints this year. Apparently the drops being 3 cm lower makes a different. Unfortunately none of those sprints were for a win. Still, though, it's better than last year, where I struggled in the sprints.

My only actual tangible prize this season was getting the bronze medal in the M45+ crit (Nutmeg and USAC).

Podium picture with Junior

With my minimal training I struggled at the limit to just finish races. By August my lack of training caught up with me - I got shelled in three races in rapid succession. At that point I decided to stop racing for the year.

I started to diet. I am lighter now than I was at any point earlier this year. I hope to continue the weight loss, to start the 2015 season at a lighter, more race able weight. I'm not as concerned with fitness, but whatever fitness I gain I want it to move a lighter, more efficient body.

2014 was good but 2015 will be better.

A huge thing for us is that the Missus is striking out on her own starting, well, tomorrow. Her first day will be January 5th, but technically today is her last day at her current firm. Tomorrow she'll be an independent small business owner.

The sign outside their office - the partner Harolyn surprised the Missus with the sign today.

In a parallel thought I need to start working. Being a stay at home dad has been great but it doesn't increase our income; I need to bring in some money from outside of the household. I'd like to stay in the cycling world for a number of reasons. The cycling world is realistically not as lucrative as, say, IT, but it's something that I've been passionate about for literally decades. In that time, as a couple friends pointed out, I've built some solid equity in the community.

However, the reality is that I need to earn money, and that could take form in any of a variety of career paths. Ultimately I don't know what I'll be doing for work.

Because of that I have no idea what my schedule will be like in 2015. This is why I can't think about training or race schedules or whatever. I have no idea what I'll be able to do so I can't plan on anything.  In a way it was sort of like when we wanted to start a family. With the unknown in front of us the only thing I could plan on was not making plans. I went into 2011 and 2012 without making any seasonal goals or plans. Back then I didn't want to share the family plan thing so I didn't say anything on the blog. This time it's not quite so sensitive so I'm okay with blurting it out.

Dieting is unique because it allows me to prepare for an unknown season. I can diet while looking after Junior. I can't do sprints while Junior sits at home or at the playground. I hope to be able to train, of course, but I simply don't know how that part of cycling will go.

I've been saying to people that we're going through a lot of changes here at this house. Change is almost always good, at least in my experience. Change is stressful though, which is why it's normal not to look for change. Therefore it's a bit stressful, yes, but I'm confident it'll be good.

Here's to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2015!

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