Had a conversation today with a colleague during lunch.
“Are you done with the racing season? Anything coming up soon?”
“No. I am done, no racing this year for me.”
“Big trips? Expeditions?”
“No. Nothing. Not next year. Training – yes, but nothing extraordinary, no.”
I think this year I have bitten a piece I can’t quite handle well yet. First thing I did wrong was not gradually diving into bikepacking and ultra winter riding, but rather throwing myself into the water and doing 300 miles in snowy wilderness alone with minimalistic setup in limited time. Spending two weeks afterwards just recovering from 14 hours daily efforts and having spontaneous tears come into my eyes when just thinking about it. I wanted to write a story about it, but find myself emotionally empty when it comes to writing it.
Then I dived into ultra distance road cycling and realized too late that what I really wanted to do was winning local races and getting sustainable fitness that should stay for years. You can train to perform well at the short events and be an OK long distance racer but not the way around. Long distance events are just too exhausting. Recovery takes too much time and in general they leave no room for hard efforts. Of course I tried to incorporate hard efforts anyway and ended up overreaching twice during the same season. Not quite overtrained but enough to disrupt my training plan and throw me few weeks back. I had a strong start of the season and got lots of support from my clubmates, but when the time came I under performed. Almost every single time I didn’t have just a little bit of gas to make it. Except maybe two events when I finally got my shit together and did not let myself succumb into another aerobic debt hole.
So my motto for the next season is “steady progress and staying on track”. I want to keep my training sessions as short as possible, humble and to the point. I leave the muscle flex for the final moves in the races and eliminate them from the training. It’s very hard to resist that urge to ride 200, 300, 400 kilometers in one go, but obviously I must…