This can be tough! Races are fun, you want to get out there and test yourself against your peers, and hard racing can be great training.
The other interesting thing about late spring is this is when riders from all different fitness level and timing start to come together. Road specialists that have a winter of base miles that are ready to build for summer crit season are in great shape and racing hard. Cyclocross guys might just be getting back into the swing of things look to work to some later summer road races. All-arounders that can't quite put in the miles in the cold are starting to pile it on and get frisky with the warm weather.
Make sure you take inventory of a number of things while you decide your upcoming racing schedule:
- Where are you in your fitness?
- How are you feeling (fresh versus fatigued?)
- When are your "main" or A races?
- What do you need to best prepare for these events?
- What weaknesses do you plan to work on?
It is all to often a rider hits the spring "hot" but doesn't sustain or improve throughout the season. Sometimes this is due to overtraining in the winter, but usually it is because of too much mental energy being focused on weekends of racing and looking for results. A short-term, near-sighted view can make us forget the importance of our weekday workouts if we focus on every race on the weekend.
When we hit the race season, we often place all of our physical and mental energy into the focus of weekend race results. We easily forget or slack off on the need for quality weekday training. It is critical to keep the season's goals in mind, and not have a short-term, near-sighted view on "achieving results."
Some key tips:
- Don't be considered about tapering for races in the spring; race fatigued from a quality week
- Consider doing races outside your normal category or comfort (such as a 1/2/3 race for a cat 3) to give yourself a challenge and free yourself from your normal comparisons
- Use early races as a chance to try out new tactics and work with your team
Keeping the big picture in mind will keep you on track and fresh for the events your really want to perform well at, and will make for an more enjoyable season. Keep your goals fresh in your mind and track and measure your progression to where you want to be down the road. Enjoy the warming days while you are at it!