My sports this year were running, duathlon, cycling time trials, endurance rides and cyclocross. In 2015 I was able to amass a large number of finisher medals, podium prizes, team championships and even a championship jersey. The chances of repeating that were pretty much nil. So my expectations this year were altered.
In the only event where I had nearly the same goals, I raced in all of the Airport Time Trials and got 2nd overall in the Masters 50+ division (a very competitive division, but points are awarded cumulatively.) I never won a race and only Kevin Clark beat me every time. He finished first overall.
The duathlon landscape changed this year. Epic reduced the number of events and there was no series award. The Sommer Sports Clermont series was held again but I had conflicts on 3 of the 4 weekends so I decided to opt out this year. As a result I entered only three duathlons at Moss Park with Epic Sports, but did manage to get on the podium each time, primarily because of low turnouts in my age group and distance.
Due to my success in Cyclocross in 2015 I had been “upgraded” to Cat 3, where I certainly don’t belong. I’m at best a mid-pack Cat 4/5. I also encountered some friction due to my Pro 1/2 podium. Some felt I was taking advantage of the system (well I was) and didn’t appreciate it. So my 2016 goals were to lay low a bit, maintain a lower profile, ride around as best I could in the Cat 3 races and hope for a repeat of the WAR MTB series champion.
So I set goals for running, endurance cycling and different goals for cyclocross:
- Complete Cross Florida ride in 10 hrs
- Complete Blue Ridge Breakaway
- Finish enough Cat 3 races in Cyclocross to stay qualified
- Repeat as MTB champion at Wicked Awesome Racing Series (WAR)
- Finish Six Gap in 9 hrs or less
- Complete the Space Coast Half Marathon
- Run 400 miles total for the year
- Ride 6000 miles total for the year
Cross Florida (XFL)
I had high hopes going in to this ride (not a race, well scratch that, it’s ALWAYS a race) because I had gotten enough training in beforehand, down some preliminary century rides and was feeling good with the new bike (Giant Propel.) One thing that I didn’t have was a well matched group to ride with. The Blue Hammers and ESCC were too fast for me, especially in the hills. I fell in with some groups that matched well along the way, but the support groups did not want to support me, since I wasn’t part of their team, bike shop or whatever. That was a bit discouraging. I won’t mention names, but there were a couple of groups that refused to fill up my water bottles, because I wasn’t “on the list.” Since then, I have talked to both of those groups and we got straightened out. They apologized but thought they were following orders. They assured me (and I believe them) that in the future they will fill anyone’s water bottle, whether “on the list” or not. It was a miscommunication that has been rectified.
Did it affect me? Yeah a little. I had to carry on alone to get to a place to get water. That slowed me down some. I didn’t take it personally though, as it was my own fault for not properly setting up support. I have a tendency to “wing it” on these rides.
Also not expected was a strong northerly cross wind for the first 80 miles, and a fairly stiff headwind for the last 40. I was unable to make it under 10 hours and I attribute that mostly to the wind. My final time was 10:48
Blue Ridge Breakaway
Well it’s going to take me another year (at least) to finish this ride. This was more of a logistics problem. I am aging, and my eyesight is “not what it used to be.” Long distance drives are not recommended for me. I thought I had someone to drive up there with, but it fell through. Rather than take a risky long drive on my own, I opted for safety and stayed home. One of the main problems with this ride is that it is scheduled very close to the start of the school year for my own Orange County. When it doesn’t conflict, my wife and kids make the trip much easier. When it does, well I need to find a “Drive Buddy.”
Cat 3 Cyclocross Series
This went pretty much as expected. Even though I was stronger and slightly faster than last year, I was “last man standing” in every race I entered. If I wasn’t last, it was because people had breakdowns or other reasons for not finishing. I still ended up 6th in the standings, although we are waiting for Swamp Cross to post their results.
I got a chance to enter three Pro 1/2 races also, but just to fill out the field. The races only count for USAC rankings if there are three riders. Yes, I finished third in all of them. Oddly enough, that still gets me in the top 10 in series points. I’d like to see this category make a come back some time, but I think it will take cash sponsors.
MTB Champion at WAR
OK this was disappointing. Josh decided to do away with this series, claiming that attendance was too low and did not justify buying the extra medals and championship jersey. I think he got enough feedback from those of us that love this series to bring it back next year. It would certainly make me attend more WAR events. It motivates me.
Six Gap was scheduled on the same weekend as a business convention in North Atlanta, so this was going to be convenient for me, or so I thought. Turns out I was needed at the convention both Saturday and Sunday so I couldn’t do the Sunday Six Gap ride. I did get out on Friday and rode Three Gap by myself, so at least I got some of the course done. It was difficult, more so than I remember. I was 10 lbs heavier than I should have been and that definitely affects climbing. If I ever try this event again I need to shave off those pounds.
Space Coast Half Marathon
I didn’t do as much running training as I normally do this year. The longest run I did leading up to it was a 10K two weeks earlier. As expected, this one hurt. I finished, but not with a great time (3:12, 111th out of 128 in my age group.) I really shouldn’t have even done that well as it was hurting me to keep running. I had some motivation, however, as I knew two of my ORR teammates were close behind me, Patrick and Michelle. I didn’t want them to catch me. At the finish I found out they were putting a little extra on to try and do just that, too. What made the event great was the photobomb in the picture below 🙂
Run 400 Miles
Today is December 13th and I have 372 miles. That’s close enough. I don’t think I will run 28 miles in the next 18 days. My feet still hurt from the Space Coast run. Running is getting to be really hard for me, especially long distances. Age is not kind to running specific joints.
Ride 6000 Miles
I have a little under 200 miles to go and should make that easily. This is my last year with a “mileage” goal, because it focuses too much on road riding, and I want to do more off road.
I survived. Wasn’t a great year but not bad either. Professionally things were great and I am still healthy. No complaints.