Spring Stage Race.

Last year I had good luck in the Arctic Bike Club's Spring Stage Race.
 
"Luck" is the only way to describe it.
 
True, this time of year I'm coming off a winter of focused workouts on the trainer while everyone else is just getting started, although that advantage has been mitigated over the years by the popularity of fat biking. A lot of them don't have a significant snap yet, but their diesels are refined to the point that they grind me under their wheels.
 
The weak winter and early spring means that most of the riders I line up against have just as many or more miles than I have on the road. A spring business trip with a bike to the Lower 48 usually gets me some long rides when everyone else is dodging ice, but my week in San Antonio didn't result in the volume bump I usually get. Knocking out a couple four hour training rides a week to go with the usual one or two hour weekday rides hasn't happened either, so I'm on the back foot there as well. Endurance matters, especially when you're trying to hang with the big diesels.
 
The weight is slowly coming off, although not fast enough to make any sort of difference for the Spring Stage Race or Fairbanks. A crash diet would take off the pounds, but would also leave me too weak to ride. I'm already in more of a caloric deficit than I would like. I just need to keep my meager momentum going and hope for the best.
 
So, that leaves me with luck.
 
Twelve months ago I squeaked onto the podium with a couple good results in the crit and circuit race which, thanks to the omnium format, hid the sub-par finishes in the hill climb and time trial stages. Jim Winegarner took a creative side trip on the hill climb that cost him valuable points and teammate Craig Walker skipped the last stage to rest up for a mountain bike race, allowing me to take his spot on the final podium. It wasn't a decisive podium spot, as I was a long way behind first and second place, but a second place and a win on individual stages were certainly a bump for my confidence levels. The previous year had been so disappointing that I really needed the result.
 
I'm not expecting anything out of this edition. The competition in Masters 45+ is too strong and I'm in no shape to respond. I need the intensity, though. Just hanging on will be a victory. If somehow I find myself in the mix at the end of a flat stage, I'll take a stab at it. Maybe I'll come away with a kick in the pants.
 
I debated soft-pedaling the stages I don't have a prayer in, leaving myself fresh for the flat stages, but that doesn't really seem right. I'm there to race, and I will be eliminating luck as a possibility. You never know until you cross the line how much a couple points might matter. I'd rather go down swinging. Give it a solid effort and see how well I do.
 
Maybe I'll get lucky.




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