"Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast." One of my favorite quotes with its origin in the sniper world. I think of it every day as winter racing season draws closer.
The temperatures during my morning training rides are dropping and I'm half tempted to train in the garage 80% of the week. Just about the time my ego has me sold on a warm garage, my choice of entertainment and a huge mirror to "ensure proper technique," I remember why I ride super-early: because it's awful. Awful cold, awful dark, awful hard to get out of bed - all things found in any good winter race. I'm convinced this training gives me a mental advantage over the rest of the race roster. It's funny but I frequently think of a Guy Ritchie film when grinding out hours of solo training. If you haven't seen Revolver I recommend you check it out. It's violent but is a great story about one man's battle against his personal ego's desires - something all endurance athletes can relate to.
The custom Fatback (http://www.speedwaycyclesak.com/) should be on the road next week. It's going to be a sick bike with all the bells and whistles - dripping in carbon fiber. Thanks to Greg and the guys at Speedway for putting up with my outside-the-box custom order and the dozen phone calls to check status. In the meantime I modified my cross bike into a pre-winter training machine I call Donkey Punch. It was such a great-looking cross bike but, now, with lights and bags it's more of a pack horse. It's like putting a luggage rack on a Porsche - it's functional but ugly as hell. They'll only be a handful of long rides on the Donkey before snow sticks and trails begin to firm-up. Next weekend with Tony B will be the first over-nighter of the season. We're planning on riding the complete tour DeValley from Palmer, up and over Hatcher Pass, down Willow Fishhook, through Wasilla and back to Palmer. We're going to ride through the night and not bivy - lots of hours and lots of miles!
Hard to believe the first race is only 6 weeks away! There are lots of unknowns in the inaugural year of any race. The Sheep Mountain 150 (http://www.sheepmountain150bike.com/) should be a ton of fun - it's earlier in the season, it's going to have more elevation variation, and the distance will be just what riders have been looking for: something between the Susitna and the ITI. In the meantime, there will be a few beer-inspired team meetings to discuss the future of cycling in our area, the Backcountry team and how to best prepare for the winter races.