The A-Season

Posted by on Nov 2, 2010 in Bike, Ski | 4 Comments

I could see cyclocross becoming my A-season.

Really. I could.

It’s family—and spectator—friendly. The races are short, fast, and entertaining. The courses, despite being at the same venue a few times, are different each and every race. And it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Oh, and the kids? They race for $3. And that includes a number plate, and a crack at the same course the Elite riders (and the res of us hacks) compete on. Which is one more reason ‘cross is awesome: anyone can come out and feel like they a part of the action, regardless of experience or ability.

So, yeah. I can see ‘cross becoming my A-season.

But I don’t have to choose.

I can ski powder in the winter. I’m on the bike in the spring—when I’m not skiing amazing March powder. The singletrack in the summer is unrivaled. In the fall I can race ‘cross. The obvious overlapping nature of all of the skiing and riding and skiing is self-evident—and amazing. And when all that is simply not enough, I can flee to the south for desert sandstone, or stay home for nordic skiing. I can hike, run*, or backpack any day of the year. In other words, there’s no such thing as an A-season. Or rather, every season is the A-season. It’s a little bit like when I was a kid. During baseball season, baseball was my favorite. Football season? Football was my favorite. Basketball season? You get the idea. And I’ve discovered that the only way to stay half-sane while living in a diverse and seasonal climate is to embrace the unique offerings of those various seasons.

If you are anything like I used to be, then right about now you are dreading the coming of winter. To that I can only say this: Get some skis—of any variety. Or some snowshoes.**

*I can run. That doesn’t mean I will.
**If you do buy snowshoes, it will most likely lead to you buying skis. Because, what goes up…must come down. So let me save you the time and money: Just get the skis up front.

I’ve been having so much fun racing ‘cross that I only just now realized that I’m not very good at it. Which isn’t to say that I am not anxiously engaged in the good cause of betterment. I’m trying to glean every last bit of information, advice, and advantage that I can from my tired legs and timid tendencies. How far I’ll move myself up the field is undetermined, and ultimately irrelevant. While finishing 1st (heck I’d be happy with 10th!) would be fantastic, finishing 22nd still requires 50 minutes of lung-searing, leg-spinning madness. I still want to vomit when I’m finished and I’m as dizzy as the guys on the podium are. The difference? They’re faster while dizzy.

But in a few weeks, cyclocross will go the way of mountain biking. That is, into the back of my mind. Avalanche and weather reports will replace Belgian television feeds and articles about proper hood position. Instead of chasing wheels through the muck and mud, I’ll be chasing powder and cold smoke through the pre-dawn darkness of the Cottonwood canyons. The back of my car will be mildewy with melting snow and drying skins—instead of mildewy with wet chamois and muddy bikes.

The white room will replace the pain cave.

And the A-season will begin all over again.


  1. Keith
    November 2, 2010

    I’m so excited for the snow!

  2. mark
    November 2, 2010

    I-Cup really bends you over with the kid races. Cross has it right. Road races offer junior divisions (for free), but the logistics aren’t easy, as you’re racing same time as your kid most races. $3 and no conflict is awesome.

    Being an MTB racer, unless you’re focusing on PCPP, is perfect for cross. Race strong early season. Recover mid summer. Ramp it up and peak again in cross season. Trying to race on the road 60 times March-September and then race cross may be too much to expect when the novelty of cross has worn off. But then again, I’m only doing Lotoja one more time, so that should change the training plan significantly.

    All that said, dawn patrol powder skiing is the A season.

    • Grizzly Adam
      November 3, 2010

      RE: Icup Kids. Yeah I guess it does. $25 for 10 minutes of “racing” is more than I’m willing to pay for my 3 kids to ride. The UTCX approach is pure awesome.

  3. mtb w
    November 2, 2010

    Well said. The A season is the one I am in. Why ruin your present with thoughts of future enjoyment? Live life now and take advantage of the outdoors as it exists today and enjoy tomorrow too when it comes.

    That being said, I still don’t like the tween seasons – late fall/early winter and the opposite – late winter/early spring, i.e. muddy seasons in which you can’t ride (OK, not a crosser yet) and not enough snow to ski. Luckily, the tween seasons don’t last long.

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