2014: Wherein We Also Ride Bikes

Chris Fontecchio

Introducing a new feature: talking about ourselves! I know, it's like some beautiful dream...

Oh hello all. Hey, one new thing we're starting for 2014 -- in a, let's try this and see where it goes -- is a regular(ish) thread about going out and riding bikes. A few points before getting started.

  • First, this post will not occupy the top spot. It's more of a Fanpost level thing, in that it's not germane to our purposes. To be clear, the Podium Cafe has always been a place for cycling fans, whether they ever picked up a bike in their lives or not. That won't ever change, and so to the extent we detour into talking about our own stuff, it'll be below the main stories.
  • That said, it's also a cafe where people hang out, and if there's one thing I know about cyclists of all levels, it's that they love little more than sitting around a cafe talking about their bike and/or what they do with it. So there you go.
  • I also think it's fun to commune and share stories from our far-flung corners of the world, and it might also prove useful for people to trade some ideas. The concept is that when the post pops up, maybe twice a month, people can talk about their short-term plans, e.g. training cycles or targeted rides or just fun ideas they have for being on the bike that fortnight. Over the course of the year we'll get to obsess in a linear fashion over our cycling objectives. And we'll probably swear at Will J a lot. [Politely, of course.]
  • One minor detail, where does the emphasis in the headline go? Wherein *we* also ride bikes? Wherein we also *ride* bikes? I'm getting confused, so maybe I'll just put it on "wherein."

Let's Get Started: What's Up, 2014?

So what do you have in store for the new year? Personally, I'm at a bit of a crossroads. The RAMROD, a 160-mile climbing beast, dominated my 2013, and I guess it was fine in the end, but entry is a lottery crapshoot, and if you want to ride 10 hours with people besides complete strangers, the better strategy is to form a posse, volunteer to staff the ride, and get a guaranteed entry in the following summer. Also, as mega-rides go, it's all downhill from the RAMROD in the Northwest. I can't get inspired by Seattle-to-Portland, and Ride 542, a long climb, is too late in the season to care much about now. So I need inspiration.

I do plan to race cross again, and my schedule may shift around enough to allow me to do some summer crits, particularly the Thursday night one which consists almost entirely of climbing and descending around a 1km loop. In other words, good 1-minute attack/recovery intervals. Perfect complimentary training for CX, which is where I scratch my fading competitive itch. But that's summer.

Until then, I need something to rally myself around. It's been a while since I rode without a specific cause, either racing or distance stuff. Travel is out of the question, because we're taking a huge family trip in winter. So apart from riding with my bro in Massachusetts this summer (and daydreaming about my next assault on de Ronde, maybe 2015?), I'll be spinning around the Northwest, catching whatever I can. Obviously the opportunities are endless. But without having to sign up and commit to something early on... well, it'll be interesting to see if I can ride well without goals. The plan is to just pretend I do have goals, follow the usual training plan, and see what comes up. Lots of miles in January and February, more climbing and harder intervals in March. Maybe dust off the time-trial clip-ons for April and do some cronos, to keep me honest. We shall see.

OK, year-long goals, anyone?

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