In seasons past, I’ve read about pros withdrawing from late season events, such as Valverde and Zabriskie have done this year, citing “fatigue” as the reason they’re not going to race. I never understood this and always figured that with a couple weeks rest, they’d be fine. I sort of figured that “fatigue” was code for “laziness” or “I don’t give a crap about that race” or “I just want to be home for the first time in nine months.”
But the last few times I’ve been on the bike, I have begun to understand what they mean by “fatigue.” Which is not to say I’ve trained or raced like a pro or put in anywhere near the volume or intensity that these guys have. I have, however, if you include mid-week races, raced over 25 times this season. I’ve been on the bike five or six days a week almost every week since April, including eight days in a row through last Monday. And it’s caught up with me. I’m just plain tired. I’ve burned all my matches. My legs seem to lack that little extra something they had earlier in the season.
I’m not complaining—I don’t have anything left to train for, and I’ve accomplished more this year than I thought I would or perhaps even could. Going into the season, I wondered if I’d ever win a single race in my entire life. This year I won three.
It would be fun to try some ‘cross races. And I may still do so. But I think there’s a difference between “trying a ‘cross race” and “racing ‘cross.” If I do it, it will be the former.
One thing that’s certain is that race fitness is not a prerequisite to enjoy fall colors and cooler weather. The Ghost falls and Bobsled descents require very little fitness to be fun, especially with the trails as tacky as they are right now. I’ve always maintained that the tours we do in the winter are so nice, I’d hike up just to hike back down—being able to ski down is just an added bonus. Well the hiking up just to hike back down stuff is pretty good right now, too.
If you want to get out and ride for fun, I’m all over that. But if you attack on the climb and try to get me to chase, I’ll probably just let you go. Probably.