Halfway through November, and a week or so into an early winter, I’ve settled on five goals for my winter riding. In descending order:
1. Finish the 200k course of Jay P’s Fat Pursuit in Idaho on January 10 within the time limit – about 36 hours. Last year I made it through 100 miles of this race in 34 hours before Jay pulled me from the course. In 2015, I’ll ride under the finishing arch.
2. Finish the Arrowhead 135 in northern Minnesota on January 26 faster than last year, when it took me 29 hours. Pros: I know the course, I have a better bike and kit, I’ll be in good shape, and I know now to avoid taking such long breaks. Cons: The race might be hellishly cold again, and I’ll only have about two weeks to recover after finishing the Fat Pursuit.
3. Ride at least 750 training miles in November and December. I’m currently at about 150, ramping up toward a high-volume training period in December. These miles – which will hopefully translate into at least 75 hours of riding – are all about getting ready for the Fat Pursuit’s twin challenges: altitude and climbing.
4. Get a lot better at riding singletrack. I am horrible at riding singletrack, but I hope to get a lot better this winter by riding the new tight, technical (but flat) trail that is now available ride right in town, thanks to our local MTB club, CROCT, whose members cut these trails in this fall. And maybe this winter I can get to some of the other mountain bike trails in the area.
5. Ride the Cannon River. I dunno if the river freezes solidly enough to permit riding on it, but I’m going to find out this winter! A ride from Northfield to Faribault would be great!
6. Go bikepacking at least once a month – probably, for obvious reasons, nearby.