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Cycling Fri Nov 14 2008

Slowing Down, Getting Cold

Last weekend, we were given a taste of the wet misery of Chicago winters. The temperature didn't get that low, but it was a reminder that conditions are going to trend toward nasty for the next five months. Just as I predicted, the weather gave all the racers at the Northbrook ChiCrossCup race a small spanking. Crashes and bobbles abounded in the slick conditions, which is hardly at all surprising. We've had it too good here in Chicagoland, see, and we're behind the curve in getting our mud-racin' skills down pat. Elsewhere in the country, 'crossers have raced on courses that resemble battlefields, with trenches, gullies, and lots and lots of mud. What's the worse we've had? Some drizzle at DeKalb? Slick corners at Northbrook?

Tomorrow, they're predicting snow, which will maybe sodden-up this Sunday's racecourse in Lansing. There is less topography to bust up the fields, but a long, long sandpit's going to throw the various packs into arrears. This is definitely a course for the power-riders - those cyclists who do better because of their ability to sustain high levels of exertion will likely usurp the bike-handlers. We all know who to watch at this point; let's see if there isn't an upset or two to give the Chicago CX blogosphere something to talk about.

And for when all this racing business is done and over for the year in a few weeks, many of you will have ensconced yourselves into your warm, comfortable houses, either getting fat or building up fitness for the early spring road races. January 1st is the day circled in red, a day to get back on the bike (after working off the hangover) and sweating out the bad habits of the off-the-bike weeks of December. Pecan pie not only tastes amazing, but does wonders for the gut - and what better way to get into race shape than with penance on two wheels.

Tsubo Salon & Spa's (1821 W. Hubbard #201) Pedaling With a Purpose, hosted by Kristin Meshberg of Flatlandia, starts in December with twice-weekly base-mileage trainer sessions, and gradually builds up to include higher-intensity workouts that will get those legs and lungs conditioned for the rest of the year. All that is needed is a bike and trainer - determination and will is all dependent on the rider. Power meters and heart-rate monitors help, too.

The cost of a walk-in session is $15, but better value is found by signing up for a deal such as the 31 session package at about $240. As nearly every athlete knows, it's easier to become motivated when training with a group - and as every cyclist knows, the hell of a solo trainer workout is about as bad as Dante's worst. Sharing in the misery actually makes things fun.

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Andrew HuffAuthor Profile Page / November 14, 2008 4:23 PM

I'm looking forward to watching the Montrose race in a couple weeks! It's gonna be cold, but lots of fun.

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