Thursday, October 26, 2006

Paying the cost

It's been pretty lonely at 'cross practice recently.
Just me and my beat up barriers stashed in the trees.
Between the weather and a fading of early season enthusiasm attendance drops off by mid-October. For me, however, 'cross is my only real racing season & I'm committed to doing it right start to finish. I think if you can fight through that mid-season burnout and get enough recovery you can come into the last races flying and with a better shot at results since attendance dips.

Yesterday I focused on gettting ready for Beacon. I set ut up the barriers out of a right-hand U-turn. I did the race two years ago and that's the way it went with a tricky approach to the hurdles. Making that tight turn mid-dismount is not easy to do smoothly, but you can make up a second or two per lap if your technique is solid. I did a lot of reps working on the dismount and I'm glad I did. The first few were really sloppy, but eventually I got a feel for doing the lean and carving the turn. I also practiced dismounting early and running the u-turn in case there's traffic early in the race.

My starts have been shaky so I did some really hard start efforts to get used to the pain. The first two were horrible...well, good for 20 seconds and then my legs could barely pedal. The rest were pretty decent as my body got used to recovering from the initial sprint.

To prepare for the long beach run I shouldered the bike and did some tempo runs the length of a football field as part of my practice loop. The running felt fine, but when I remounted the first few pedal strokes were not pleasant. I think the key for me is to NOT sprint the run, but rather to run at a tempo pace and use my longer stride to my advantage.

I'm not sure how to prepare for the amphitheatre steps. They are evil. I did a few runs up a steep hill, but I don't really think that simulates the effort of the big stairs. They are like doing one-legged squats.

Even though I was solo I still got in a decent workout and since I started early I made it home in time for dinner.

Last night was also the final night for a practice with daylight. Starting
next week I'll use the helmet mounted light and move over next to the lighted fields.
And maybe I'll bring the iPod to keep my company.

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