I hit the road hard in January, stopped running altogether, and logged more hours in the saddle than any month from 2011. This was partly motivation to build a decent base on a shorter scale than the previous year's 12 weeks but also because I started going off the schedule and enjoying some longer days in the saddle. I did alot of hill work and, by the last week of the month, was already doing anaerobic work. All this was supposed to be leading to an early Road Race season assault with a February to April racing period.
Jan 21, 2012: Early Bird Road Race from Patterson:
This is one of those races that I almost never evade. I know the course very well, it's a short drive from home and I happen to like this type of race that breaks up and leaves finishers coming in small groups instead of a big dumb steaming pack. I actually had a pretty good race. I put up with some stupid tactics on the way out, held my own and rode conservatively on the climb and then nailed it back to Patterson. I outsprinted my one partner on the road and finished 5th of 21. I was pretty happy with this result but a couple things left a bad taste in my mouth. First was the general roadie douchebaggery from the race itself. Without getting into too much detail I'll just say grown men who are supposed to be smart can be really childish and stupid sometimes. And the ones that choose to race/ride road bikes seem to be on a completely different level of selfish stupidity -in general- than the ones you find on mtb, cx or the track. The second was the reaction from my team which was mostly apathetic and what response existed was others self promoting their own mid-pack performances or even cutting down or poo-pooing mine. OK I've just exposed that I'm an insecure little girl that needs a little external ego boost now and then (when it is EARNED, dammit) but there it is.
BUT then February came and I got sick. It didn't seem too bad at first but a vague lung burn and dry cough persisted and my riding hours were cut to half of January's. And as I was getting healthy again I lost my motivation to road race altogether. Traveling longish distances to get outsprinted or dropped or otherwise spanked by people with shitty attitudes on bikes worth more than my car suddenly lost ALL its appeal. My re-focus was firmly on a dirtier path for the year. And none of this was helped by Ray mentioning he was going to do the Whiskey 50 in my old hometown of Prescott, AZ in the end of April...
February 4, 2012 CCCX mtb cx #1 Fort Ord: I should have skipped this race but the motivation was stronger than the intelligence and I raced with the early symptoms of a flu coming on. I had a pretty unremarkable race and finished 13th of 24.
February 19, 2012 TBF mtb Challenge: I must have had full health back and the rest in the legs was good because this was probably my single strongest race day of the year. But I had a horrible start. I knew I had good legs from my warmup and I got a little cocky on the start. I took a little excursion from the main trail on the start to get around early traffic and hooked a tree with my handlebars within the first two minutes. I was slow to get going again since I had to get my chain back on and straighten my bars and by the time I was back on track I was dead frickin' last on the trail. But I had a good mental game that day too and just dug into the race and passed and passed and passed and even passed one last guy in a sprint in the last 50 meters to finish 6th. That was fun having great legs on a race day but there was a distinct aftertaste of "if only..."
In March I got back on track and started logging some longer days again along with regular speedwork. I didn't do any racing but I was enjoying some long days on the bike in preparation for my first 50-mile mountain bike race coming up in Arizona. I did a TON of climbing (for me) during this period and began a streak of five weeks straight of climbing 11 to 13 thousand feet per week! To put that into perspective for my usual climbing load, I only had TWO other weeks the ENTIRE YEAR where I climbed more than 11,000 feet. But I was super motivated to do well in Prescott!