It seems like I just dusted off my cycling shoes from the last race of 2016. These days, time seems to fly by faster than Peter Sagan’s sprint. That same speedy sprint that I wish I had at least 50% of. That crazy fast sprint that will get me back in the game – it’s race season! Wait, already?
You’ve got to be kidding me.
Seemed Like a Good Idea
Although it’s Texas and we don’t HAVE a traditional off-season, taking a small break from competitive cycling for mental purposes isn’t a bad thing. However, a dedicated cyclist can ride outside all year around (barring a few shockingly cold days). Bundling up, training smart, and keeping in race shape is easier in warmer climates. Starting road race season the first weekend in January last year seemed like such a great idea … so what happened?
Too Much of a Good Thing
While starting the race season early in the southern states is feasible: after racing an extra long season it seemed to become very stale towards the end. Maybe it’s just me. Not everyone jumped on board the first weekend of January 2016 and pulled out their very best Peter Sagan sprint imitation. After starting so soon, it was a push to make it to the end of the season at all.
Changing Up The Game
Now that more competitive cyclist are aboard the early race season train this year, it’ll be interesting to see how they feel come July when the mid-summer sauna hits. Will more racers suffer from the mid-summer blues and will it be easier to blow off a few boiling-point events? Perhaps we may see a shift in southern state competitive cycling over the coming years to focus less on events in the blazing heat and favor more brisk spring days.
No Energizer Bunnies
Face it folks: not too many people are blessed with endless amounts of motivational energy to compete almost every week through NINE MONTHS of racing. Yes, gravel grinders start early, but that’s just because they’re weird. (I should know: apparently I’ve become one too.) It will be interesting to see how things shake out. I’m not opposed to focusing on a Spring Season of racing verses slogging through the entire summer too.
Wish I had thought of that last year.
Still in Hibernation
Thanks to an extra long race season in 2016, some folks just haven’t worked up the competitive edge to throw themselves out there just yet. If you are like me, you might still be in hibernation for the winter. (Bah, Humbug) A few enterprising souls are thinking: “Yeah, I’ll just race back into shape”. Some are just racing because they think they should but their heart’s not in it yet. And a few haven’t figured out that you really can get burned out or maybe they’re in denial.
Find Your Focus
If you are risking a ‘burn out’ situation by racing an extra-long season, focus your efforts on key events rather than putting 110% out for EVERY event. Most Pros and semi-pros don’t plan to race all events with the same intent. Some races are building blocks to get them a little closer in their training plan. Every smart competitive cyclist has a few focus events that either plays to their strength zone or is a goal to achieve.
Whichever the reason, there are ways to avoid race burn out and still compete reasonably often.
Dust off the race bike, focus on your game plan, and race smart my friends.