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Jonathan Page: Two Weeks Till Hoogerheide

It’s January 22, two days until I head to Nommay, France for the last World Cup of the 2013-2014 season. On this trip, I’ll bring the whole family, as it always makes for a nicer time, especially since I just got home last week after being away for 2.5 weeks. While I train, the kids and my wife will go biking or rollerblading on the extensive network of bike paths in the area, and on Sunday, they’ll be there to cheer me on at the race. I’m looking forward to it. I like the course, and it’s always good to have my family there with me.

A week after Nommay, I’ll be racing in the biggest race of the season, World Championships in Hoogerheide, Holland. There are two lucky things where I’m concerned, 1) I’ve had some of my best World Cup results on this course (8th, 9th, 10th, each a couple of times I think) and 2) The course is only an hour and ten minutes from my house in Oudenaarde, Belgium. This means that I’ll be able to sleep in my own bed in the days before the race! Awesome!

As you can probably imagine, I’m trying to do everything right leading up to February 2nd. Then again, I’ve done everything right since I started my training for this season in Utah back in March. Now, I just need to hold on for five more weeks, with the first two weeks being far and away the most important. I’m trying to recover from travelling back from Colorado, along with the jet lag, sicknesses, and injuries that I’ve sustained throughout the season. So far, I seem to be winning, and I’m trying to train correctly and eat right. All of these are things I would normally do, only with more diligence, now. It’s also the only time of year that I bust out the germ killing hand sanitizers. I don’t want to take any chances. My kids are always annoyed with me, but hey, they have to get used to being annoyed anyways, because in four years, my oldest will be a teenager.

Each year, my training weeks before Worlds are always controlled by how I feel. I adjust accordingly, however, I do plan to go to the course at some point during the end of the week leading up to the race. I’ll go with my mechanic and test the different pressures and treads of my Challenge tires. I’m a firm believer in a statement from the old movie that says, “Tires win races.” I also have to pay attention to the weather. If I plan a long ride, and it’s pouring icy rain, I’m not going to do it. Instead, I’ll opt to ride the trainer inside or to wait and see if the conditions improve enough to do a shorter ride. I’ll plan on one rest day, which will also serve as my “catch up” day. This means that I’ll be catching up on everything from sleep, to coffee, to tire gluing, to bike maintenance, or to emails. I’d like to do it on the Monday before Worlds, but again, if the weather’s nice, I’m going to ride. I’m sure that there will be a crappy day or two in there to stay inside all day, though. After all, it is Belgium in January. Most likely, I’ll go midweek to one of my two favorite ‘cross training places in Belgium, just to use some skills. It never hurts to freshen up.

As far as diet goes, I have to say that I’m not as strict as some might be. My wife is really good with nutrition, so she comes up with a lot of great meals. For instance, this week we’ve had homemade nutty granola, banana muffins with almond and dark chocolate (she says that they’re good for the brain during the grey dark days of winter here), and homemade 10-vegetable pasta. The latter is one of my staple foods during big blocks of training and racing. On the bike, I always take a Clif MOJO bar and a bottle of Clif hydration. And after each ride, I have a recovery drink and/or a bowl of granola and yogurt. So far, I’ve trained properly and paid attention to what I ate throughout the season, so I don’t need to lose any weight. Actually, I’m at my ideal weight, and with the pressure of Worlds coming up, I don’t need the added pressure of having to lose weight, too. All in all, I’m in a good mental situation leading up to the next couple of big weekends.

Till next time,

JP