The season is officially on the radar, having officially registered for Vint Hill, Jeff Cup and Tyson's. Vint Hill's going to be interesting, with 100 guys on that course. There were 35 or so guys on the course the last time I raced there, so this will be a bit different than that. Tyson's will be what it always is, a well run event where you have to do a lot of one minute intervals to get up the finishing side on time. Jeff Cup is a course I really like, although it has a reputation for being more selective than it is. Maybe that has a lot to do with my only having raced it as a 4. The 4 race goes fast enough to make you think the course is hard, but it's generally 100 or so of your closest friends at the end anyway. Last year, two guys stuck a break, but they were demonstrably stronger than other guys and obviously committed to what they started. The pack just behind them still had 80 guys in it, so the point is that it's not necessarily the race of attrition that it's often discussed as being, at least not for the 4's.
Being old and of middling ability really puts the options out there for you. The team has a standing practice of doing the 3 or 3/4 race, whichever is the most 3-ish race. The principle being that hanging on for dear life in 1/2/3 races isn't the best environment for trying to race together logically and productively. For races like Walkersville and Jeff Cup, which have no 3 or 3/4 race, necessitate a little horse trading. In my heart of hearts, I'd love to go try and help Greg in the 1/2/3 since he will be right at home in that melee. In my head of heads, I know that white knuckling it to forestall my inevitable droppage does him no good. The Master's race may not be a whole great deal easier but since there are several creakers among us we decided to do that and leave Greg to fend for himself. In any case, it's freaking sweet to not have the hardest race of the season be the one to register.
Since so many of the early races are on the long side of things (55 to 60 miles, not furiously long but not short), I've been upping the length of my rides to get ready. High/low tempo is enough effort to keep you engaged but not enough to jack you up. When you're looking forward to the short LT intervals sprinkled in there, you know you've been on the trainer a while. 1:30 at 255 watts, way more tired of being on the trainer than tired when it's over. I think the chamois cream's highest and best use may be rides like that. I'll have to go get some. Yeah, 1:30 isn't exactly a long ride but on the trainer it'll have to do, so it's all about keeping the effort in the productive zone.
I'm trying to work on training myself out of relaxing at the end of the race. I often notice myself being like "oh, sweet, we didn't get dropped, we didn't die, things are all cool let's just cruise this one home" when I should be a few stage more aggressive at that point.