Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Season's end

With the last race, Montrose, being over, I have mixed emotions. Like I said earlier, first, I'm kind of bummed out because it means cross is over. The season is over. Deep winter will set in, dooming me to weeks on the trainer.

Second, there is a certain part of me that is tired and ready for some rest and time off the bike. We've been training hard since January with the focus on cross season. Even with recovery weeks, we have been riding 5 or 6 days every week. It will be nice to take the rest of the year off and sleep in every day until 2009.

Finally, I feel a sense of accomplishment. Last year, my first cross racing ever- my top finish in the 40+ was 20th. At Montrose I finished 26th. This year, I had 5 top 10s (1 podium), mostly top 15s and 13th at Montrose.

For anything that I accomplished this season, I have to thank some people:

Brian Conant, my coach. I started training with Brian in January 2008. I was a bit skeptical at first, but decided to dive in spending the money to get an SRM and on coaching to see how it would go. To borrow a phrase from Fu Manchu "The Action is Go." I cannot envision training any other way than I did this past season. LTs, 8 x 3s, 10 x 1s, for me targeted workouts with the power meter are the only way to go. This training was why I was faster all season than I have ever been.

Lou Kuhn, team sponsor, part-time employer and friend. Lou made it possible for me to dive into cross late last season, kept my bike rolling and offered me a chance to race with the Pony Shop Cross team. I think he glued at least half of the tubulars rolling in Chicago this season! Lou is a fierce competitor, but what really sets him apart is his passion for cross. Win or lose, he is a true champion of the sport. Whether at the races or at the shop taking care of customers, his passion is evident.

John, Chris and the rest of the Pony Shop crew. Saturday afternoons haven't been the same. "Hesitation is devastation!"

Roman, Mark, Cliff and the rest of the Pony Shop Cyclocross team. It has been an honor to call myself part of this team. Special thanks to Carolyn (velosnaps) for the great photos.

To all of you against whom I competed: Jim Nowak, Michael Stanley, Pete Rolewicz, Tim Boundy, Wayne Simon, Vince B., William (DICE), Steel and James from Turin, and anyone else I missed in the 40+, congratulations on a great season. Whether it was challenging the results or fighting for every position during a race, there was always a handshake and a "nice race" at the end. I look forward to competing with you next year.

To those I didn't race against, but got to know a bit better this season: Greg Heck, the Bonebell Crew, Damon, Holly and Kevin, Eric S., I think cross breeds friendship because as they say "it takes one to know one."

To anyone who cheered while I went by, thanks too. When you're in the pain cave, every shout of encouragement helps.

Thanks to the Cross Cup staff and the Chicago series race organizers, what a great season! 10 races! Please have at least that many next year.

Finally, I have to thank Tammi and Elora. They had to put up with the most. The early morning rides, long weekend rides and the time spent at the shop all mean less time at home. I seek balance, but know that I cannot always attain, nor maintain it. My heart flutters every time Elora yells "go, papa, go" at a race.

I have the rest of the year off and then start preparing for the 2009 season the first week of January. Off season goals include losing 8 pds. or so and getting in to see Harlan at Deluxe tattoos for some new ink.

As for 2009 season goals, I want to win.


Brother Michael said...

And you will win Jim... you most certainly will!

Eric said...

Congrats on a great season Jim. I had a blast getting to know you and the rest of the gang. See you soon.

Greg Heck said...

This cross season was a ton of fun, and it was great getting to meet so many new people. Once we have our self imposed rest we will have to hit up Palos for some trail riding to get ready for next fall.