`This season I am splitting my time between being on the road and training at home. While the weather in Knoxville has been hit or miss with a lot of rainy days, I have still been able to get in a lot of solid days on the bike. I’ve also been ramping up the intensity within these rides with the goal of having all cylinders firing for the Redlands Classic, which takes place April 8-12 in California. Redlands is one of the biggest races we’ll do all year, so it’s important to go in with good form.
As my body is getting closer to race ready, I’ve also noticed more consistency in my general health. I haven’t had any of the recurring sickness that has plagued me in the past, so I think the tonsillectomy I had around Christmas is paying off now. Not being sick as often allows me more time on the bike, as well as improving my recovery. Overall, this is a big improvement for me and I’m hoping it will help yield improved results this year.
I was lucky that a lot of people were in town to ride with while I was home. The Marian University team stays at a cabin in Townsend every year for their spring training camp, so the last two years I have joined them for a few rides. One of the days I was able to show them some of my favorite roads that they hadn’t explored yet. Another day I rode with my good friend Drew Dillman up to Newfound Gap. Drew and I were on the same road and cross teams for three years, but lately we have been racing different schedules so I really enjoyed catching up as we climbed into the clouds. He also introduced me to a donut shop in Gatlinburg that I will be sure to visit again.
I also got to go on a couple of good rides with the new pro in Town, Clay Murfet. Clay is from Tasmania and races for Astellas. Having somebody else in town doing similar training to me is a great asset and I’m sure it will help keep the motivation high during the season. We went out and incorporated a bit of Strava chasing into our intervals up Butterfly Gap and Happy Valley, two of the steepest climbs in the area. Happy Valley is especially challenging to pace because it kicks up to be extremely steep in the last few minutes, so I try to make sure to keep a little bit in reserve but on this day I had already gone hard a few times so I was nice and cracked at the top. It was a great ride even though my shifter cable went out of commission near the end and topped out at the 14 tooth cog. On the bright side this meant I got to relive my junior days spinning like crazy down mountains.
I said in an earlier post that I would write a little bit about the products we are using this season. The last two weeks have convinced me the first one has to be the Castelli Nanoflex warmers. These are arm and leg warmers that are made of a special material that is stitched so that water will bead up and roll off of them. They are not completely waterproof but are a huge improvement in comfort and warmth when riding in rain or even protecting your legs from road spray. On days when it’s really damp I have been pairing the leg warmers with the Gabba jacket and that’s been working really well.
I’m writing this on the way to Hagens- Berman u23 team camp in Santa Monica, CA. This will be a great week of riding and getting to know teammates better. The weather forecast looks incredibly nice so we have everything we need for a week of smashing pedals.
Thanks for reading and I’ll have an update from camp soon!