The bikes still sit in the garage with mud on them, the jersey hangs from the handlebars of one with the number still pinned on from the last race of 2008. I am 5 days into my "off season" which is going to last anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks depending on what I decide to do with myself.
Number one on the agenda for the winter is losing some weight. I already have a head start from a fall/early winter bunch of cyclocross and painfully changing some bad eating habits.
Second is to take a look at 2008 and figure out what I did that worked and what didn't. I am doing that now and plan to write about that in another post soon.
Last, I am starting to get confirmation on dates for 2009 races and putting them together in a schedule so I can know what I am doing and when. 2009 is going to be divided in three distinct parts - Early season, Primetime, and Cyclocross. Early season can begin as soon as Jan 1 with the Snake Creek Time Trial series in North Georgia should I decide to participate. Also in January is more cyclocross with the Knoxiecross Series in Knoxville, Tn and the Icycle race at Fontana Village in North Carolina. February is more cross and the 12 Hours of Santos in Florida. March is still undecided but there's the last round of the Snake Creek TT series and a couple of road races that I could do if I choose.
April brings the first couple of bigger races on my schedule - the Cohutta 100 and the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek. All those races are part of my early season build up to the prime racing months of May, June and July which contain 3/4 of the races I really want to do well in next year. A few more important races come up in August/September and then I switch from endurance mode back into cyclocross next October.
I have to be careful and not do too much. I could literally race every weekend if I wanted to. I am trying to keep the big, hard stuff separated by enough time to recover (no more back to back to back 12 hour, 24 hour and 100 milers like I did last May - that hurt!)
All in all, I am excited about the upcoming season. I don't race because I am particularly good at it and I certainly don't do it for the money or the fame (hahahaha). I do it because I love racing. I guess I am ok at it, it's hard to judge from results since I keep pushing myself harder and against stiffer competition each year. It's more about the war than it is the battle I guess. The truth is though, I am slowly improving each year and clawing my way a little further each season. Having seen some impressive performances from older competitors, I am encouraged about what I may be able to achieve if I keep on keeping on.
We'll see how it goes.