Sunday, September 7, 2008
I'm at the end of my 2nd season of racing. It's been fun, and not the least bit brutal. I used to associate distance sports with pain and nausea and a feeling that I hate what I've been working toward. This year, I've dialed back the intensity during races and it's made all the difference. Now, I'm focused on finishing in a good position, rather than going as fast as possible. When there's nobody around you with 200 yards to go, there's no reason to sprint for it. The fun in racing is the people. Without people, you are on the moon, measuring yourself against nobody. You can't apply strategy against nobody. You can't "win" (or "lose").
I have been riding an unconventional, but mostly effective bike in my races. There are elements of my setup that I feel give any mountain bike a boost. I used to be a disk brake hater (weight), but now, I'm a participator. I haven't quite learned to use them to full effect, but I'm getting there. Going tubelesss with your wheels/tires is a huge improvement over convention. Wheels have evolved to recently include the option of 29" wheels. You really need to ride the biggest wheels your height will allow. For 5'8" me, it's the 29". Full suspension is not a necessity for XC mountain bike racing in the midwest. However, that's what I'm using, cause it's more fun. With air shocks, a light aluminum/carbon fiber frame, and racing tires, my complete bike weighs in at 25 lb. It is way too good for me.