Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 - Summary, 2016 - Plans

This seems like a good time to summarize the racing year of 2015. Were expectations met? What went well and what was not so good?

I guess I'm not the kind of person to set hard goals, I'm probably too scared not to fulfill them. Much better to have them in my head. As long as no one else knows about them...

The Races

One of the really positive things about 2015 was the two stage races: Beskidy Trophy and Trans Schwarzwald. Placing in the top-10 in both races, being my two first stage races ever, was fantastic. Especially considering that I would've placed higher in both races were it not for some uncontrollable circumstances. I will definitelly be back in 2016!

The other big goal for 2015 was the Swedish Marathon Cup (Långloppscupen). I finished fifth at the end with one top-3 trace finish. This was 'okay', I guess, but I had hoped for more. Again, I will give it another shot n 2016.

The national XCO championship finished with a puncture. Well, I'm not much of an XCO cyclist so that wasn't a huge disappointment. I was happy to have practiced the championship track and mustered most of the a-lines. As for the national XCM championships I went in feeling physically poorly and ended up with an eigth place, which, under the circumstances, was all I could wish for.

In 2016 I will continue to focus on Långloppscupen and also on the different marathon and stage races. That will be the main focus. I do however want to become a better XCO rider so part of the plan is to do some XCO races as well.

The Bikes

As for bicycles and equipment: I switched from Specialized to Trek in 2015. As in 2014 going with one top-of-the-line hardtail and also a full-suspension bike with identical spec. I still remember that first ride that I had on the Superfly hardtail and how my initial reaction was that it felt so slow to turn in, compared to the old Stumpjumper, and seemed so more boring to ride. Well, after the first few races I really changed my view on that. The Treks were slower to turn, but so much more stable and therefore made me a much more confident mountain biker. They aspired me with confidence to go downhill so much faster than I had before, which really helped with both Beskidy and Trans Schwarzwald. The Treks were great for me and helped me achieve great results in 2015.

For 2016 I'm switching bike brand from Trek to BMC. I'm very very excited about this and so curious on how the BMCs will feel. I will write a complete post on the new bikes. I'll just mention right now that as 2015 and 2014 I will be riding on one top-of-the-line hardtail and a full-suspension bike as well.

Most of marathon races were done on the Specialized Fast Trak / Renegade combo. An early puncture made me switch from the S-works version of the tires to the Control version. 50 grams heavier but then I had zero punctures after that. The XCO-type races were done mostly on a new tire for me: Vittoria Barzo / Peyote. Apart for two punctures I like the way these tires feel. Tire pressures were around 1.7 bars for the smaller Specialized tires and 1.4 for the bigger Vittorias. This seems to work. For Beskidy I used Racing Ralph Snakeskin and they worked great! No punctures in that race where I saw tons of people having punctures. I will continue to use these tires during 2016.

I loved the NoTubes Valor wheels! Imagine a wheelset that's actually LIGHTER in real life than the manufacturer specifies. And the weight does make a difference: You accellerate away much quicker!

The Training

I've raced most of the season weighing in at between 73 and 76kg. Mostly around 75kg. I did go down to 73kg just before Trans Schwarzwald and I think that accounts for part of the success there. I will try to be more focused on achieving a low weight in 2016. Even though my passion for dark chocolate is hard to give up....

I have continued to train using a mix of MANY races and A LOT of training. My training is not very structures. I did get a training program from Activitus before 2015 which I then didn't follow. I'm not sure if I'm the kind of person who sticks with a training program. I may have to become more structures in the future however to take another step upwards in performance. We'll see...

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