Thinking about 2015

The arrival of December marks the end of the cycling calendar for most people, me included. I can’t race US National cyclocross champs, and because I’m staying in Colorado this Christmas, I won’t be racing UK nationals either. With no more racing to do, it’s time to start thinking about next year!

I’m very sad to say that the Red Ace Organics MTB team won’t be continuing next year. As with every sponsorship agreement, it was going fine until the plug got pulled. Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to fill in the details more publically. I will be riding in Boulder Cycle Sport colours for 2015 and beyond, and I’m very happy about that.  BCS has given me some solid tasks to pay my way. I will be helping to manage and coordinate their club mountain bike team, which is an enthusiastic bunch of local racers. Part of this will be leading group rides, teaching beginner and intermediate level skills clinics, and helping newer racers with how to prepare for races around Colorado. It feels like a solid and tangible plan, and one that can be measured easily by Boulder Cycle Sport and me. I’m excited!

So onto 2015:

With the race dates starting to get confirmed and an already palpable feeling of money leaving my bank account, it’s time to start thinking about the 2015 race season. As I alluded to in my season summary, I wasn’t entirely happy with my 2014 season, even though from the outside I had a lot to shout about. Last season I burned through a pile of cash and a chunk of motivation to race the early California season. I really enjoyed it, and it showed me exactly where I was lacking compared to the best in the world. That was invaluable in knocking me down a couple pegs and making the rest of the year a success. Racing from March onwards severely limited my training time though, and I went into those races on less than a month of structured riding. More concerningly, it meant I missed out on a lot of base miles that would have taken me up a level for the rest of the year. This time around, I’m hoping to have twice as long this spring to train, and start my intervals and speed work after a lot more base. I think it will help for both the shorter XC races and the local longer races too. So, I won’t be racing until April, when I’ll head to Prescott for the Whiskey 50. It’s a gamble having such a big race to open the calendar, but I think it will be worthwhile. After that, I’ll head to new place for me: Ogden, Utah. There’s a UCI sanctioned stage race, which should be a good opportunity to get some ranking points and race the really fast kids. It’s also new territory which is a big bonus in my book. Then comes the rescheduled Grand Junction Off Road, which has been moved to May – a great time to be in the desert. After that, my focus will turn to short races – first the ridiculously climby course in Vail for the GoPro games, then another climbers favourite at the Missoula ProXCT, and then a little more locally the week after in Colorado Springs.

That takes us through to the end of June. The later half of the season will depend on what the first half brought. If I managed to pluck a fabled UCI point from the cycling ether, I’ll focus on gaining a couple more throughout the year. If I think that’s a lost cause, it will be local Colorado races instead, starting with the Firecracker 50.

Rather than cutting off my racing as soon as the hills turn golden, I will take advantage of the fantastic late season races in Colorado. The Fall Classic in Breckenridge, a new race run by Mike McCormack in Eagle, and maybe a couple more in between. That should round out September nicely. With a number of UCI stage races happening in the Autumn, I’m also dreaming of making a late season dash on some points. I’ve traditionally had some really good form at the end of the year that I’ve used for racing cyclocross. If I could plough that into a fun stage race and some experience racing internationally, that would be even better!

Tentative Schedule:

April 24-26: Whiskey Off Road, Prescott Arizona

May 8-11: Nordic Valley Stage race, Ogden, UT (UCI S2)

May 29-31: Grand Junction Offroad, Grand Junction Colorado

June (TBD): GoPro Games, Vail Colorado

June 20th: Missoula MT Pro XCT (UCI C1)

June 27th: Colorado Springs Pro XCT (UCI HC)

July 4th: Firecracker 50, Breckenridge Colorado

July 11th: Boston Rebellion ProXCT (UCI C2)

July 25th: WORS Cup — Portage, Wisconsin (UCI C1)

August 10-15: Breck Epic, Breckenridge Colorado

August 22-23: Steamboat Stinger, Steamboat Springs Colorado

September 12: Fall classic, Breckenridge Colorado

September (TBD) The as yet unnamed 50 miler event in Vail (Mike McCormack is organising with big $$)