XC Racing 2012: 18 Weeks Down, 9 to Go...(and feeling a bit beat up)

27 Weeks seems like a fairly long season for XC racing, but with races being scheduled from April 1st to the beginning of October - that's what the season is here in the Midwest. 2/3'rds of it is now in the books, with the remaining 1/3rd beginning this weekend with a race at Seven Oaks Ski Area in Boone. Speaking of 2/3rd's, if I look at the 15 races I have done this season to date, I have made the podium in 10 of them (2/3rds). I have a couple more goals for the remainder of the season, but whatever the outcome will be with those goals, I certainly have been pleased to date.

I had the opportunity to assess my physical condition yesterday to see how I feel with 1/3rd of the season yet to go. It was a scheduled day off the bike and a regular bike maintenance day to clean the JET 9 and get it ready for the weekend as well as my weight lifting day. In short - I feel a bit beat up. Some of that is due to being in the middle of a build phase which I had planned in preparation for the remainder of the season and trying to time a 2nd peak at a specific time. So I am in the middle of the 2nd week of a 3 week build phase which increases my physical stress.

Some of the aches and pains are normal for a 50 year old, some are as a result of getting beaten up from all the pounding experienced in a mountain bike race, and some may be related to golf combined with weight lifting. Technique is so important for lifting as well as the golf swing, that once an inflammation is introduced - it's difficult to recover without total rest or stopping the activity that might be creating the inflammation. My left elbow has been suffering from tendonitis the past few weeks. Whether it is golfer's elbow, mountain biking elbow, weight lifting elbow, or what - I don't know? I really felt it at the end of the race at Elk River in Minnesota and spent the day yesterday adjusting my suspension fork to provide a more forgiving front end. I had set it pretty stiff after my OTB in April when the fork compressed at full speed to try and prevent a similar accident. The roots and technical sections at Hillside Park in Elk River really shook my upper body and my left elbow was screaming at me at the end of the race. So I softened up my fork's settings yesterday for a more plush and easier feeling front end in hopes that will take some stress off of the left elbow. I did some specific stretches for the left arm that are designed to treat the tendonitis.

I may have introduced the original inflammation by lifting too much, too soon without a proper adaptation phase in the arm curls. If I think of the timing of the elbow pain - at least when I first noticed it - I also had started to play golf again with Zack and switched some of the upper body weight work to a more golf oriented lifting routine that I used to do when I played a lot of golf. I haven't played in a long time, so the sudden stress of 18 holes without an adaptation of hitting some balls at the range and building up the golf muscles may have triggered it. Either way, I've got it now and it is just one more ache and pain I am dealing with this summer. The neck and shoulder from the April crash still say a hello to me every day. My right knee - which I smacked at Buck Hill - is reminding me every day it is not 100% yet. My lower back requires daily stretching to keep from seizing up. And to add insult to injury - or injury to insult - I've got a brand new saddle sore on the right side. All I can figure out with that is the combination of Sunday's wet and humid race along with Monday's long Zone 2 ride with the sweat and humidity must have created it. I just noticed it last night and it's a stinger.

So I'm feeling a little more beat up at this point than in previous seasons. I'm sure that doing more races this year and having increased the amount of training (started much sooner and put in a long base phase for me). A nasty OTB crash with neck and shoulder injuries at Tranquility. A knee smack crash at Buck Hill. Improper weight lifting/golfing combo. A sore right cheek in the chamois. It makes getting out of bed at age 50 even more challenging every morning than it would normally be.

Enough of the aches and pains. I will baby myself and treat all ailments as I look forward to the final 1/3rd of the 2012 XC racing season. The month of August requires a long endurance ride every week as final preparation for the Dakota Five-0.

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