December 15, 2010

The season is officially over for me. It's definitely been a long one, longer than I anticipated. I've been racing Since April and I think the total race tally will be around 43 races this year - that is a ton and way more than I expected. I probably shouldn't have raced that much but I just can't help it. There are probably a bunch that I shouldn't have done in hindsight from a fitness perspective, but I love racing and there aren't any that I didn't learn from.

I had a very solid season and the best part is I hit all my goals. I placed top 5 at USGPs, I podiumed at a UCI cross race, I won the WORS series, I won crits. All of those kept me motivated as the season went by month by month.

This past weekend at Nationals in Bend, OR I matched my previous best result at nationals with another 8th place. This year was a very dificult race, it was a demanding course and very challenging. The competition at cross races are getting tougher every year with more and more riders getting into the sport. My 8th place in Providence in 2005 was very special at the time, but now that I have such limited schedule and training time I think this was also special knowing that I am able to hold my own against the best in the country while holding down a day job. It is not easy at all and now that the season is done I am really feeling relieved and like a burden has come off my shoulders because I can get up, eat breakfast with Ellie and Jamie, and not get out on my bike before goign to work but can rather play with Ellie and do some projects that I haven't done in 8 months while completely forgetting about riding. It is a great feeling and very relaxing after having almost zero down time at all the last 10 months.

As far as the racing itself the last couple months it was tough, and probably why I feel so relieved now that it is over. I started struggling with workouts and heavy legs sometime in mid October and watching my results they started to slide. It may not look like some of those races were that bad, but given how I felt a lot of the time I have gained a little confidence knowing I can feel very bad at a race but still pull off a top 10, and I was doign that a lot the last 5 weeks. Still, when the legs quit, it is hard to stay motivated and I struggled. Luckily, my coach put me in somewhat of survival mode and I got away with it the last couple races mostly by recovering and racing. I managed to get just enough for Nationals, but the week before Nationals at USGP in Portland was really bad especially because the mud was so sticky and slow. None the less it was enough for to keep my 7th overall in the USGP series even though I had probably the worst weekend of the season.

The next couple weeks I'll wind down but try to get out on the skis a bit over the weekends. My legs already are starting to feel tight and uncomfortable from not riding for a few days. It is hard to quit in a way after being so dedicated since last January in training, like something is missing every day, but that is necessary for the body to come back from always being on the edge trying to do too much in too little time.

Thanks to all who cheered and watched at the races, it's really great to have such big support while out there racing. Have a great Christmas !


Anonymous said...

Good report. None of us really know what you are going through so it's good to hear your analysis and perspective.

bschwalls said...

Great job Tristan. I know it can be difficult sometimes, but it's great to follow your results and see your name on Velonews. You had a great season so just relax and enjoy some much deserved time off. Next year will be here quick. Give me a call to hit some (ski) trails.

jmaloney said...

I have been racing mountain bikes since I was little, kind of grew up watching you race. It's really cool to see you holding you own against the top guys in the nation. I remember watching you at the Subaru Cup Pro xtc, and thinking you were having an amazing day! Turns out you were having an amazing season. Congratulation!

Eric O. said...

Great comeback from where you were a year ago. I remember you writing about days when you would bonk at like an hr into a ride and all the Dr's you were seeing. Definitely an inspiration with the work and family too. Fantastic season Tristan.