This was my first time in Monterey at Sea Otter, hosted at the Laguna Seca raceway. The venue is most famous for its auto racing, but during Sea Otter the track is transformed into an epic bike-only party. 30,000 plus people including racers, spectators and bike industry representatives gather for almost every type of bicycle competition; downhill, cross country, bmx, road and trials. It truly is a sight to behold as you drive from the steep coastal hills of Monterey and crest that final road into the Laguna Seca valley to see thousands of tents, cyclists and banners in this huge natural amphitheater.
Sea Otter would be my final race before my big goal of the year, the Gila stage race in New Mexico at the end of April. So any inkling of form needed to present itself during Sea Otter so I could have some confidence peaking for the Gila. Bottom line, I needed to have really good legs during Sea Otter to signify even better legs at the Gila.
With the Gila Tour in New Mexico at the end of April, it is becoming increasingly important for me to have good legs as my big goal of the year approaches. One of the worst things that can happen to an athlete nearing a fitness peak is getting sick. So of course as I've been riding really well lately, along comes a cold
I woke up on Tuesday morning with a tingle in my throat that went away by the time I ate breakfast. Later that afternoon I had a 7 mile local time trial down in Reno. Nate and I drove down from Truckee and by the time we started warming up in Reno, it was snowing. Half way through the TT it felt like my whole body shutdown, I went from 100% effort to 50% effort for the last few miles. When I finished I couldn't stop shaking and felt like I was going to pass out. Nate thought it might have been the can of Red Bull I drank beforehand – I was hoping he was right. I woke up the next morning with a full blown nasty cold, dripping snot, swollen throat and extremely achy body. I now had exactly 72 hours to get well in order to perform at Madera.
The last few months I have been balancing work and training along a fine line that has kept me perpetually tired and on edge. I'm very aware of falling down the path of overtraining as I have done it so many times in the past. One of my major goals since I started seriously training and racing again last year was to avoid this burnout. I was able to dodge the overtraining bullet for half the season last year by not "training," just riding enjoying my bike. However this happy-go-lucky method eventually caught up with me in August and I was torched for the remainder of the 2007.
This season I moved back to a scientific method of periodization, very specific workouts and detailed tracking of my body and fitness. Using my super secret methods of monitoring my progress and well-being, I have been able to successfully cheat "death" (overtraining) for the last 4 months – even though the entire time I have feel his icy grip ready to close around my neck.