Friday, November 02, 2007

Out With the Old, In With the New

Here we are again... Yesterday I started training for the 2008 bike racing season. Six weeks of slacking off flew by real fast! But it served its purpose because I feel refreshed and reinvigorated, so it's time to make goals and plans for next year.

But, as they say, you can't figure out where you're going if you don't know where you've been. So I have to review my 2007 season. (Note: the remainder of this post will be a lengthy and self-absorbed treatise, so the reader is free to move on to some other more-interesting website at this point, such as this one, and I won't be offended.)


On the whole, I'm happy with my 2007 season. I raced often and met a lot of nice people. I particularly enjoyed the races that Cookie, MarkZen, and I did together. Although we were usually outgunned by bigger teams, I think we represented ourselves disproportionally well.

I entered the season with one primary (personal) goal: upgrading to road category 1. Kind of a strange goal to have for somebody my age--it's not like I'm expecting to go further in this sport--but I always had some regret for not focusing on it earlier in my bike-racing life. Despite winning some races and getting a handful of podiums, I was never disciplined enough to train and race an entire year. I wanted to give it one last go before the physiology door slammed shut on me.

I had some upgrade points lingering over from April and May of 2006, so I needed to get some decent results by springtime 2007 before the prior-year points started expiring. Fortunately the SoCal calendar has lots of good road races and stage races in the spring. I think I raced every single weekend from early March to the end of May, and had just enough placings to get the upgrade. What a relief.

For posterity, here's the list of my 2007 results and some are linked to my race reports:
(placing, race, category)

DNF - Boulevard RR - p/1/2
3rd - Mothballs crit - 45+
pack - Mothballs crit - 35+
DNF - Mothballs crit - p/1/2
7th - Pine Flat RR - p/1/2 and pics

6th - Central Valley Classic RR - cat 2
29th - Central Valley Classic TT - cat 2
10th - Central Valley Classic crit - cat 2
19th - Central Valley Classic GC - cat 2
11th - San Dimas SR TT - cat 2
34th - San Dimas SR RR - cat 2
61st - San Dimas SR crit - cat 2
12th - San Dimas SR GC - cat 2
8th - Orosi RR - p/1/2

2nd - Garrett Lemire GP - 45+
10th - Garrett Lemire GP - 35+
26th - Garrett Lemire GP - cat 2
5th - Copperopolis RR - 35+ and corrections and pics
16th - San Diego Omnium TT - p/1/2
2nd - San Diego Omnium RR - p/1/2
24th - San Diego Omnium crit - p/1/2
8th - San Diego Omnium GC - p/1/2
22nd - Conquer the Canyons SR TT - p/1/2
23rd - Conquer the Canyons SR crit - p/1/2
21st - Conquer the Canyons SR RR - p/1/2
19th - Conquer the Canyons SS GC - p/1/2
4th - Devil's Punchbowl RR - p/1/2

15th - Barrio Logan crit - 45+
8th - San Luis Rey RR - p/1/2
10th - Valencia GP - p/1/2
10th - West LA GP - p/1/2
13th* - Mt. Hamilton RR - p/1/2 *DQ'ed

10th - SoCal Championship RR - p/1/2
3rd - Nevada City crit - 45+

pack - Manhattan Beach GP - 45+
pack - Manhattan Beach GP - cat 2
11th - La Mirada GP - 45+
pack - La Mirada GP - p/1/2

3rd - San Luis Obispo crit - 45+
15th - Ladera Ranch GP - p/1/2
21st - San Ardo RR - p/1/2
DNF - University RR - p/1/2

5th - Everest Challenge GC - p/1/2

No wins, but a handful of top-tens. I feel pretty good about the late-spring/early-summer races. Ability to suffer has been the only thing that's improved with age, and that played a key part in many of those races. My climbing was also going well in the spring, and I felt confident and competitive in the road races. Not sure why exactly, but my form dropped a level later in the summer and fall.

There were a number of aspects that didn't go so well in 2007. Although I improved some at time trialing, it was still a major weakness and really hurt my stage-race results. I also struggled with repeated over-threshold efforts such as the hills at Nevada City and the University RR. And, as per usual, my sprint was not too good, which shouldn't surprise me because I could count on one hand the number of dedicated sprint workouts I did in 2007.

So, preliminary* goals for 2008:

- Win a Masters race
- Place top-10 in GC at a p/1/2 stage race that has a tt
- Place top-6 in a p/1/2 road race
- Lead out a teammate to a top-3 in a p/1/2 field sprint
- Break 15:00 up OSM again
- Break 16:00 up OSM, seated using no bigger than 39x23
- Race a NRC event and don't embarrass myself
- Have fun

* Subject to change

Soon I'll make a training plan to accomplish these goals. Clearly, it must include more time tt'ing and some more sprint days. I also think it'll be important to get above 15 hrs a week by early spring. It's the only way to feel good at the end of a 80-100 mile road race. And, as usual, a lot of just-under-threshold climbing will be the cornerstone of my plan. I've always found that to be the best bang-for-the-buck.


Steve Weixel said...

The "Have fun" part should not be subject to change...

Anonymous said...

What's NRC?

Gary said...

Cool. Great season and congrats on the upgrade. I have been meaning to do exactly what you have done. I normally reflect on the year and set goals over the Xmas/New Year holiday but I guess in CA that is too late. Here's to a successful, healthy and fun 2008!gary

Anonymous said...

I've been meaning to attempt the upgrade thing also. Then its right back to Masters racing where I most likely belong. I'll play the age card (44) also.

One thing, though, I don't see how you got even close to 30 pts. with the results you listed??

Marco Fanelli said...

Steve- Yes, the "have fun" part is mandatory, not subject to change.

Anony- NRC = "National Racing Calendar" which is basically the top 20-40 races in the US for the domestic pro teams, not including UCI races like ToC and Georgia. So in California, it's races like Redlands, CVC, Ojai, McLane-Pacific, & Sea Otter.

Gary- Your 2007 is still in progress! We'll have fun next year.

Bob- I'll email you the specifics re upgrading. I learned a lot about it from talking to Jan Luke. But to answer your question, I came into 2007 with about half my points already, so with a few springtime 2007 stage-race gc results and some road-race results, I squeaked across the 30 point threshold with a couple points to spare.