When my partner asked me if I wanted to upgrade my bike for next year, I answered that since we probably couldn't afford to upgrade both my bike and my body, I decided to focus on my body and just race what I have.
After taking 2 weeks off post-USGP/Portland (no riding, no training, just lots of easy neighborhood walks and a couple of day-hikes in Forest Park with my sweetie), I began working out regularly at a small local gym. I couldn't afford a coach so I went with an online workout program called ActivTrax. It has been very helpful due to its methodical and gradual approach. I do this usually 2-3 times a week, focusing on using resistance (weights) and abdominal exercises to get stronger. At least once and sometimes twice a week I also go to yoga class (free with membership at the same gym). Not sure what this is doing for me but I like where my headspace is after an hour of yoga. Mornings before I ride to work I do about 10-15 minutes of gentle yoga-type stretching.
This month I began adding a little hill/interval work on my evening commute home, once a week. Next month I will make it twice a week. Without a coach there's no definite way to gauge progress, but I've noticed that my abs are definitely feeling stronger, there is a tiny bit more definition in my arms and legs, and -- gasp! -- I am losing weight. I've probably lost 7 or 8 lbs since December. (This last one I hadn't counted on, and it's come as a bit of a surprise to me.) On the few days the weather has been especially awful (and in Portland there've been quite a few of those), and I can't get motivated for the gym, I still go out and ride my bike hard for a good hour or so, just so I can get out and move around. My partner has noticed the difference and she has commented that I seem happier all around because of the increased physical activity. And she's been going with me more now, so we work out together. All around it's been a positive step.
I am racing short-track xc this summer and hope that all this additional work on myself will simply help me to feel stronger during my races. Feeling stronger is my primary goal; if I actually get slightly better results in my races too, that will be a bonus.
So what are the rest of you doing to get ready for 2011? Are you upgrading your body, your bike, or both?
The only thing I've upgraded in my body since 'cross season ended is its alcohol content. But, now that it's time to start getting in shape again, I should probably chill out with that.
I want this next season to be a big one! I'm riding more than I was this time last year, and I've been on my balance ball almost everyday. A little bit of mountain biking and maybe the occasional road race this summer should get me ready for the real season.
It sounds like you're super motivated! Good for you to be working so hard. I like the idea of upgrading your body. It's my new goal.
Beth! You rock! That is very cool to hear, glad you are seeing improvements. Myself, I'm trying to improve the body mostly although not as "seriously" as you. As a field service guy, my schedule for the past few months has been real wonky - leave the house Monday morning, and a string of 12-16 hour days and then I get home on Friday eve. What I have been doing is working on ab excercies at least every other morning and hitting the treadmill - getting my bike out at 9pm in strange neighborhoods isn't exactly the best idea sometimes. (Other times, however, it's a blast.) When I have time for short rides (and hour - hour & an half) I've been stringing together a lot of short steep climbs I have around here to get those legs in shape. I am finding what I used to "need" a 34 x 32 gear for, I can manage fine with a 36 x 28.
Bike-wise, I am looking to go tubeless on one wheelset but really, that's the only upgrade on the equipment end I'm thinking of.
If you are considering tubeless I have this wheel set for sale.
Body! Ok and Bike! I Just added the final touch this year on my bike and got a new fork so as far as my bike goes, it is done, now I have to earn it and ride it. Gym, pre work road rides and Mt biking are are all on the agenda this spring and summer, after all Labor Day Cross is right around the corner...