03 January 2006

A case of the Mondays

I know it's Tuesday, but being the first business day of the year, I think I'm entitled to my first case of "the Mondays" for 2006. I don't remember what movie it's from (Office Space?), but having a "case of the Mondays" sort of sums up how I'm feeling right now about racing on the road this year.

See, overall, I feel pretty good. I'm motivated to be on the bike (even violating my 40-degree rain limit this morning), I'm having some of the best weight-lifting/core workouts I've ever had, my weight isn't all that far from where I want it, and I had an absolute blast sliding around in the muck at Montrose on Sunday. I even spent the Holiday season watching a bunch of bike-related videos, some of them multiple times.

But then I read about how Wes is headed out to California, and will be lining up at the NRC races soon. Or Garrett's recap of his year. Or that Little Mike has joined Mesa, and will be in Tucson for the next 3-1/2 months. And I have to admit that, for the first time in 5 years, when I think about Superweek, or Joe Martin, or Downers Grove, or Proctor, all I can think of is "so what?"

I had my best racing year ever in 2005, and clearly left the door open for 2006 to be even better. Racing well at the elite level isn't an overnight proposition, and even though I'll never be at the top of the top, I can clearly see where I could make improvements in the new year. If -- and here's where I struggle -- if I'm motivated to do so. And right now, I'm not so much.

I just feel … deflated, when it comes to thinking about the road season. I really think the teams situation has a lot to do with it -- I'm looking forward to racing with Mack again this year, but there's an edge lacking that we had when we had a sponsored elite squad. And although I didn't look that hard, this off-season brought really only one viable alternative for me next year -- while at the same time, some of my rivals/peers are getting rides on prestigious teams with fewer results than I've posted. But that said, the number of teams in the area has declined precipitously, and it really has become a "buyers" market -- it's not what you do, but who you know …

I don't want to sound like I'm dissing on Mack. It'll be fun working with Andy, and the enthusiasm he brings to being a new Cat. 2. I've been there, and the possibilities are still endless! And with the rest of the guys, many of whom are Cat. 3s poised to move up. And ultimately the reason I re-upped with Mack was because of the team itself … these are some of the best racers in the Midwest, and above all some of the best people. I may miss some of the pressure cooker that elite, sponsored racing brings, but ultimately there are no other teams I'd rather be on … I can give you a laundry list of reasons (personal and public) about why I'd rather NOT race for such-and-such a team. (And, secretly, I'm looking forward to having even better results, just to show some of them!)

In the meantime, though, I seem to be having trouble getting "up" for April, May, and June … more than anything, I just want it to be September again. That may be putting the cart before the horse, but those falling leaves are calling …


David Johnsen said...

Ah, now you're getting into my area of cycling expertise! I'm a Cat. 1 in "Lack of Motivation."

But seriously, you shouldn't dwell on it. You've been a 'cross fanatic this fall, which means you've had hardly any off-season so far. And it must be a huge letdown to go from the thrill of Nationals to the dreary winter roads. You can't expect to feel the same way this year as you did last year at this time. You may not be physically overtrained, but maybe mentally you are.

Worst case, maybe you'll get a late start and have to reassess your early-season goals. Maybe that's the price you'll pay for riding 'cross. But considering how excited you were about 'cross in 2005, I think it's probably worth it.

I'm betting that you'll come around soon enough, though. Are you going to Arizona again this year?

Anonymous said...

My advice would be to watch some B movies, order a pizza with extra toppings, and try to laugh really hard at the B movies. Then, download some pictures from NRC races and throw darts at them, saying, "You son's a bitches wouldn't last one day in the jungle." Next, watch Apocalypse Now (has to be Redux), and really focus on Capt. Willard's comment "Everybody gets what he wants." Do one shot of an alcoholic beverage, and write down what it is you want.........then get it in 2006.

Don't knock until you try it.

Chris said...

Dave, thanks for the advice. And Anonymous, well, let's just stay that way for now, shall we?

I'm not unmotivated at all! In fact, I'm as motivated, if not more so than last year! I'm just struggling with my change in goals -- I've been so focused on getting to where I'm going on the road, that now I'm trying to cope with being different. And I know what I want this year, and am determined to get it! (Even without the pizza ...)

I rode easy with Kim this morning on the lakefront, and it was fun. We talked about it a bit, and I guess I miss the challenge/push that an "elite" structure brings to the road season, even if that push comes from Gary! But I do look forward to racing on the road with Andy, and anyone else who joins us in the elite races, so April through August will still be fun!

Chris said...

... but nothing like October and November!

MadCross said...

It's good to see that you've discovered that all that racing that happens before late September is not important. Really it is just training for the important part of the year . . . cross season. Besides you need to mountain bike this summer . . . forget about all that roadie stuff :-)