This post could easily have been titled “Why did this hurt so much?” or even simply, “What happened!?” It’s nice to come away from a race having learned something. Unfortunately, the lessons aren’t always pleasant. The best way I can phrase the lesson from this year’s Bavarian Bike & Brew race is like this If you want to find out whether your training is working, stop doing it for a year and see what happens. You’ll learn something, I promise. That’s basically what happened here.
Last year at this time, I was well into preparations for the BC Bike Race. I had spent time doing core work in the gym, focused rides on the trainer, and endurance rides on both the road and the dirt. I was in reasonably good shape, and my race results reflected that. Once the BC Bike Race was over, though, I basically began an early and very unfocused offseason. With no major event planned for 2016, I did nearly nothing to maintain the fitness I’d built up in the first half of 2015. I barely rode my bike at all, and certainly didn’t race.
So, jumping forward to this season, I missed the first couple of races with excuses that wouldn’t have worked last year. When the time did finally come to race, I really didn’t have a clue how I’d do. I knew that the weather would be similar to last year (HOT), and I knew I did well last year. So, maybe I’d do well this year, right? Eh, not so much, as it turned out. There are a lot of numbers to point at to tell the story, but most notably are these: My average speed for the race dropped by 0.8 mph from last year, and my time increased by more than 14 minutes. Not only that, but it hurt more and was less fun.
So at this point, what’s next? The next two weekends are race weekends, and both races are longer than Bike & Brew. I can’t expect my results to look like they did last year, that much is clear. My best chance to salvage something respectable out of this season is to effectively start from scratch. There are some worthwhile races later in the season (July, August, and September). It will be interesting to see if I’m able to rebuild any of that fitness in the next two to three months. It’s awfully discouraging, though, knowing that you’re starting from scratch in June something that you should have been working on since February.
This is going to be an interesting lesson to look back on during those dark, cold winter nights this coming winter. We’ll see if it provides sufficient motivation to get back on the trainer. Maybe committing to Singletrack Six or the the BC Bike Race again will help there, too.