Well, here we are. Months since my last update, and more than halfway through 2017. So, when we last checked, I had enjoyed some success at the Peak 2 Peak race in northern Michigan. I did a few uneventful or notable cyclocross races in the waning weeks of 2016, and then settled in for a bit of an off season, with a plan to kick things into gear in January with training for the upcoming DINO season in the Expert category.
Unfortunately, my father was diagnosed with a terminal illness in late November, and eventually passed away in late January. Training wasn’t exactly a top priority, and even into February, I just wasn’t in the racing/training type mood (to be honest, those personal events are still weighing on me). I finally tried to kick things into gear in March, and did the DINO Death March with teammate Aaron. We actually had a good showing, aside from a wrong turn on a trail which sent us 20 minutes off course and necessitated a bushwhacking/downhill ride along a utility easement to a highway in order to salvage the day. If not for the detour, we would have had a great finish.
After this, things got a little better and I rode more. The first DINO race at Winona went about as I expected, with a near dead last finish in the Expert/Cat 1 field. I wasn’t surprised by the result, thinking back to the first few races in Cat 2 a few years ago which seemed equally hard. Plus, I know my fitness wasn’t quite where it needed to be. However, there was something else. The additional mileage for the expert race seemed to cross a line, between where the racing had been fun in the Cat 2 Open wave, to, well not nearly as fun when starting the additional lap. I went into the BCSP race hoping to turn things around, but it went about as Winona had, with me missing that “fun” aspect.
So, I decided to skip the next DINO race, and started to increase my running. I had been doing a lot of running last year and I felt it helped my overall fitness and helped with my on bike endurance. During this time, I also recalled that DINO presents two XTerra off road triathlons each year, one at Versailles State Park, and another at Potato Creek State Park near South Bend. The Versailles race was about a month away, which gave me plenty of time to get up to speed on my running. Additionally, in addition to the Swim Division, the race also offered a Kayak Division. Since I haven’t done much swimming since high school, this seemed like a good option. For the next month preceding the race I put most of my efforts in running fitness. This included lots of off road runs, and runs around Butler University campus, which actually has some rough terrain and trails on the north end of campus. So, that takes up us to last week. The race itself was on July 15, so my next post will be a full race report.