Although 2011 was a great year for me (at least in my opinion) in terms of results, I sometimes found myself blurring the line between my A,B, and C races, as well as my Tier 1, 2 and 3 social events. This was in part by design as I see no difference between training days, work days, big rides, big races and big nights, it's all just a part of life. I was also really never very fit in 2011 (also just my opinion), but started to learn to beat people with craftiness and wit instead of old fashioned shock and awe like the good old days of '06 or '09.
For example at Unravel the Scratchgravel this spring (probably about my 5th mountain bike ride), I knew it was podium or bust, but I was hurting like the dog trying to stay 3rd place R.A. Schoenfelder. I wore all of my pain on my sleeve (which was pretty easy on the last lap) until about 4 minutes out from the finish line. A slight rise on a dirt road was the spark I needed to come up with the Crocodile Roll theory of mountain biking. Think about it, the Crocodile is a fairly lethargic animal, except when he needs to throw down a wildebeest sinking death roll! So instead of limping in for 4th, I decided to do the Crocodile Roll for a bit, which was all I needed to cross the line in 3rd. I'm not saying that 3rd or 4th place at Unravel the Scratchgravel is very important, but it's nice to learn a some tricks along the way. It's almost a good thing to be out of shape sometimes, you can focus a bit on technique and strategery, rather than just outgunning folks. Plus you know at some point, you'll be up against someone way better than you, unless you're Jaroslav Kulhavy. So you might as well have a few tricks up your sleeve.
Anyway, I drift from the desired content of this post, just as I drift through the racing season like the Buffalo. I'm a firm believer that we all have the power to do pretty much whatever we please on a bicycle. The tricky part is the rock solid drive, determination and focus of a Corbin or a Schultz. I'm not really the type to key in on specific races-I like to race about 2-3 weekends a month from April thru November, and I want to win them all (ok, top 20 at a pro mtb race counts as #winning for this clydedale). I will however acknowledge that some starts are more important than others. After much deliberation with my coach regarding my A,B and C races next year, he said, I don't know, let the people decide (I think he said this cuz he's lazy).
As uninterested in my season as my coach appears to be, I must admit I think he's on to something. As a racer I've never felt so many positive vibes as I did at this summer's Missoula XC. It was almost as if someone was pushing myself and Dale's tank-ass mountain bike up Marshall Mountain. So much of a riders power can come from the fans. So as a thank you to anyone who was yelling and screaming at Missoula XC, Rolling Thunder, or scoping results on the internet, I would like to present you with the opportunity to dictate my 2012 racing program. I've created a handy poll with races I'd like to do, and even allowed any loyal (bored?) folk to add in their own feats of strength for me to pursue in 2012. I'll split the results into thirds (my A,B and C races), and boom, there's my racing program for next year! Tell me what to do, and I'll get nasty!