Changes. Well there are many for 2014, all good as far as I can see and all choices; none forced upon me. Along with a permanent move to the mountains came an engagement (yes, I have a wedding to plan this year as well as all those races). Also I made a coaching change; thanks to Kevin Coady of Triforce I have made huge improvements as an athlete in the last 3 years – I will be a lifelong TriForcer at heart, but the mountain bike and the dirt were calling and knowing that I was going to be tackling the beast that is the Leadville 100 mountain bike race meant a new training strategy was needed. I knew just the person and lucky for me she was willing to take on the challenge. Julie Young of O2 Fitness has an extensive and ever growing depth of knowledge and experience both as an athlete and a coach with a world class athletic resume that has to be seen to be believed. Predominantly a cyclist but also having won a plethora of Nordic ski races, Xterra’s, and trail runs, she continues to educate herself in athletic training from a basis of science and selfishly for me lives just down the road. I’m excited about partnering with Julie and am so far enjoying the change and variety she embraces as part of my training program. A new coach led quickly to new cycling friends and then a new team supported by Roseville Cyclery. I will be riding for the Roseville Cyclery Women’s team – an amazing group of women with a variety of cycling interests and personal goals; I’m excited for everything each person is going to achieve this season both individually and as part of this team. We are all feeling honoured to represent Roseville Cyclery and hope we can do Yi, Oliver and their team proud this season!
While my focus has shifted slightly to the cycling end of the triathlon spectrum, I still have several Xterra’s on the schedule with swimming and running ever present in my training plan. I hope to also add some trail runs to the schedule. I am lucky to be part of Team Inov-8 again this season for my off-road triathlon exploits; I am a huge advocate of their range of trail running shoes and apparel for all types of terrain. As the snow falls outside I am already looking forward to making fresh tracks in my Inov-8 Oroc’s tomorrow morning. I once again hope to be a great ambassador for the Inov-8 brand.
It may only be February, but racing is underway in California and I already have 2 MTB races under my belt. TBF racing puts on the most fun and friendly series of early season MTB races, leading up to the first Xterra of the season at the end of March. There are Pro’s and Con’s to starting to race so early in the year when the season stretches through October, but these races are hard to pass up, especially with the severe lack of winter we’ve had in the mountains so far. I’m mixing it up and trying a few things out with the main aim of keeping if fun. For the first race I jumped on my recently built new toy – a Singlespeed mountain bike; being the only girl out there on a bike with one gear meant a very different kind of race for me but wow do I love riding this bike! It’s like learning mountain biking all over again – I had no idea how different it would be to race singlespeed vs. gears. You might think having only one gear would be hell on any hill, but the fact is, it’s far more frustrating on the flats where having just one gear means revving the legs at 110+rpm and still not being able to go anywhere near as fast as gears would. I surprised myself and was within a very respectable few minutes of the expert and pro girls on geared bikes and had a massive grin on my face when crossing the line.
The next race I had tweaked my knee slightly snowboarding a couple days before so I rode gears to protect my knee a little; the race was one more lap than last time and I went out hard at the front of a strong and fast group of girls, too hard it turned out. The nice little lead I built up over the first 2 laps was whittled to nothing by the start of the 4th lap and I battled with dead legs to just about hold on for 2nd. A great lesson learned and one I hope I don’t repeat again now this year. Another note on a Singlespeed is that it enforces pretty good pacing – you can’t really push on the flats but have to ride hills a certain speed or you’re reduced to walking. Next race in the series is next weekend and I think the Singlespeed is coming out again.