- #1 for the 3rd year in a row and it seems like such a simple resolution - to not break any bones biking. 2010 brought me a broken collarbone and made me a full bird colonel. Last year, I was blessed with a shattered nose, a deviated septum and a pretty nice scar. Here's for believing a resolution might actually happen in 2012.
- Athletic maturity. I know what you're thinking, WTF is that Jonny Rando talking about! Athletic maturity is basically gaining higher level skills and mental strength in the athlete's given sport. For rando riders, its knowledge gained through training, brevets, permanents and riding with others. If you decide to do a 25 mile race, given you have any decent conditioning, chances are that you will finish and probably with a respective time. Let's say your goal is to ride a full brevet series - so that's a minimum distance of 124 miles up to 372 miles as one event (with varying distances in between). There are so many things that can go wrong. The rider's on the bike nutrition can be off, upset stomach, bike problems, the elements (this happens often), riding solo for very long periods of time, etc, etc, etc. I learned so much last year from other riders like Chris, Ted, Fred and Tim. Training tips, learning about different types of equipment, words of motivation and jokes to keep the group's morale up. It's nice to know there are other people like you (as Jabba the Hutt would say "You are my type of scum!") and it pays dividends when it's 45 degrees and raining. You are miserable and want nothing more to quit and find a warm place of refugee to rest, but instead look to your left or right and see your riding partners suffering equally; but more importantly, not a singe person is complaining and just sports a smile.
- I am going to try and transition from a standard diamond frame road bike to a 3 wheel recumbent. I know what you're thinking, how is that hard? Basically, it's a relearning process. With a standard road bike, if you get tired on climbs or get leg cramps, you stand up and power through it utilizing different muscles. On a recumbent, all you can do is push through it. On a road bike, I was used to pedaling at a cadence 90-100 all day. On a tadpole, pedaling that high causes torque steer making the bike swerve all over the road. Riding a standard road bike includes it's share of pains, namely the sit bones and arms, and neck after a long day. The tadpole tends to cause more pain in the neck, quads and my tail bone (because it was fractured many moons ago). My goal is to aim doing a full rando series on the recumbent.
- Spend more time with the family. I'm going to attempt to get by with 4-5 days of training vs. 6-7 every week. As an ultra distance athlete, it requires lots (understatement of the year) of training. Last year, I did many a ride starting at 8 and riding till after 11 PM so that the girls were already in bed to minimize lost family time. With the girls getting older now, they are wanting to stay up later and later. This would mean riding past midnight on weeknights, starting before day break to be done in time for work, or attempt to scale back training quantity. As an OCD type person, this change is quite hard for me, but I'm going to give it a try.
- Help my support crew accomplish one of their personal goals. I have a very loyal and supportive group of people who year after year, race after race make sure that I achieve my goals. These are the unsung heroes of any long distance athlete. They are the ones standing in the rain and handing off water bottles and food so you don't have to stop. The ones who scream "don't you dare stop" over and over when your mental strength wanes in the rain and cold after many hours on the bike, often solo. The ones who are there to pick you up and you rebuild you when it seems everything has failed. They also have a great sense of humor and get those photos of the athlete at their best: puking, falling on the ground after the race grabbing their legs trying to stop cramping, etc. The people who say "SURE!" when you call and say, "hey I hate to bother you, but my bike is broke beyond repair and I'm 1.5 hours out". That's true love right there.
This year is their year. We have goals set for each member. All of them are aiming for above century distance and attempting to place in their age group. I'll be pulling lead to break the wind to ensure they have as much energy as possible for the end and carrying the extra clothing and repair gear incase something goes wrong (aka rolling SAG). Each person has been verifying their weekly training and mileage. Each of them have come so close in year's pass, so we're making it happen in 2012. One member of our group is a 15 year old looking to place first!
- Increase my number of blog posts and perhaps include some photos. 'Nuff said. The photo part will require a new and hopefully waterproof camera. The Cannon Elph camera failed me. Just after one month, the automatic lens cover fails to open.