Looking Forward, Looking Back

Sunset on the Season

Though I’m still squeezing in a ride or two a week, there’s no doubt that the season’s come to an end. Time to look back over the year, learn what I can, and set some goals for next season. Like when you’re on a ride, it’s probably best to spend most of your time looking forward, and only glance back quickly to take what info you can.

So… what have I learned this past year? Plenty. But here’re the things that stand out in my mind.

  1. For each degree above 95°, I lose about 0.5 mph from my average. In other words, riding in the heat sucks.
  2. I’ve never felt lonelier than when riding with a large group of mean-spirited cyclists. Heat AND mean people suck.
  3. 100 miles is far. About 90 miles in, 100 miles is stupidly far.
  4. Persistence might not beat preparation, but it runs a close second.
  5. There’s nothing wrong with being average. As long as your effort is exceptional.

Where do I go from here? Good question. I had a lot of disappointments this season. Don’t get me wrong, I did pretty well – I just tend to judge myself harshly. For example, I made 91 miles on the first day of the Tulsa Tough. No, I didn’t make the 107 that I was gunning for, but come on, 91 miles? That’s not failure. I may have been defeated, but I didn’t fail. Of course, saying that and believing it are two very different things, and I still wrestle with that difference.

For next year, I plan to focus on the obvious stuff of course – getting faster, riding stronger, increasing endurance, the usual. One thing I’d like to focus on is enjoying the ride more, to get the most out of each event. Another is to give help to more riders, taking longer pulls in the wind, giving encouragement and staying positive (believe me, for me staying positive is a full-time job).

For goals? Finishing the first day of Tulsa Tough with a good time, and at minimum riding the second day. Doing a sub-5 at Hotter ‘n Hell (so close, yet so far). Beyond that, who knows?

Lastly, I’d like to get out on the road more. More back-to-back days. Shorter, sprint days and some hill/interval training. At peak, the team has three rides a week, but I’d like to bring that up to four or five to get at least 4,500 miles in next year.

I can’t wait to get started.