Saturday, June 04, 2016

Racing - Goals for 2016

(Wrote most of this in April 2016)

My last outdoor ride in 2015.
Note the sparse training.

Out of curiosity I looked at my Strava training calendar to see when I last rode outside. It was August 4, 2015, at one of the last CCAP Tuesday Night races. It seems, based on how things are going here, that my next outside ride will be another CCAP Tuesday Night race, hopefully in May or June. I just hope it isn't a year before I ride outside. I just need to race before August 4 to keep this from happening.

My criteria for a race is to minimize the time spent away from home base. My dad doesn't travel well and requires constant supervision "out in the wild". He can walk but isn't cognizant about his surroundings - he doesn't recognize that he could be walking into harm's way. At home it's manageable because we've gated off danger areas (stairs, kitchen), but outside it's difficult. He'll walk into the street completely oblivious or start down a hill he has no chance of navigating successfully (he can't "brake" well when he walks - he just accelerates with gravity). At a bike race he'd step in front of the field if it meant he could take a few steps.

Another tricky thing is that he doesn't communicate at all, not for a number of years. Therefore he can't tell us if he's hot, for example. This means we have to keep an eye on him, guess at his comfort level, and react accordingly. This precludes any racing on very hot days since he'd be in a more vulnerable state.

In order to reduce potential for things going wrong, we also want to minimize time spent outside. There's a number of things we have to do to care for him and it's not ideal to be doing that stuff in the parking lot at a race.

His "window of opportunity" is realistically in the 3-4 hour range, meaning if we time things just right, we can spend a solid 3 hours away from the house without any problems. If unexpected things come up it might be a bit less time, and, in an emergency, perhaps another hour might be acceptable (to me). Combine the round trip travel time and suddenly my racing world shrinks to maybe a 45-50 minute travel radius from the house.

As an experiment we did a long road trip, 3.5 hours each way, and a public lunch stop at a restaurant. It went as well as could be expected but we definitely needed a family bathroom in the middle of the trip. "Family bathroom" meaning a lot of room and a relatively clean floor. Portapotties wouldn't cut it, not even the handicap stalls, at least not the ones I've seen.

However, the plus side is that if the weather isn't really hot, and if the race is close to the house, it should be a very possible trip. The CCAP Tuesday Night races fit our criteria well because it's close to the house - 35 to 45 minutes each way - and the racing is short and on time. It's also very informal and inexpensive so even if I drop out quickly I'd feel okay with it.

It's possible that we do a New Britain race. It's also 35 minutes away (on Sundays it's very consistently 35 minutes due to no traffic), and, if the races are reasonably on time, we should be okay for a shorter race. No P123 90 minute races but a 17 to 25 lap race, probably okay.

I'll be leveraging my "no warm up" thing, where I basically kit up and line up. This will save a bunch of time since we can arrive 15 minutes before the race start, reducing my dad's exposure to the

These seem like pretty straightforward and simple goals.

After that?

No real telling. It'd be great to contest a sprint or two but that's not very likely. I don't want to lose touch with cycling, that's for sure. However my life outside of cycling has made it pretty clear that for 2016 cycling is definitely a lower level priority.

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