American Pro Amy Dombroski just completed the 2011 World Championships, overcoming a tough first lap to ride into 26th place. Read on as she reflects on the ups and downs that brought her through the season.
by Amy Dombroski
I got a number written on the back of my hand. 4015. Looking at lap times…40th fastest; that was how miserable my first lap was. 15th fastest; that was my final lap placing. I had a good start, one of those days where gaps open in front and I was able to maneuver my way through. I think I’ll stop there with the blow by blow…I don’t need to re-live my miserable first lap, crashes and crash-induced body & bike mechanicals (relive Cyclocross Magazine’s live blow-by-blow coverage here).
My tongue is satiated by pizza and red wine from dinner last night and a chocolate croissant and cappuccino this morning. It’s the off season of my on-’n-off season. I’ve had some races which I am very proud of and some I’d rather forget. It’s the defeats we learn the most from and the frustration and anger that fuels the fire to keep digging. I think I learned more in the past five weeks and six races than I did all of last season. On paper it appears I had a better season last year, 2009-10, but truth is I became content as the US season came to a close. That contentedness scared me, so I booked a ticket to Europe the night prior to 2009 Nationals, ignoring any “season plan.” And so I caught a bug on the way over and that led to burn-out, which culminated with a couple of my better Euro results…a 9th at the final World Cup and a 14th at Worlds. What did I learn there? It’s somewhat of a clash in that my results were better last year, but through it all I have become a different, hopefully better developed rider. Or maybe last year’s wine, biscuits, no bike-riding, and two-hour runs made for good form building?
Whereas this season the Euro trip was in the plan, as I changed to a new coach at the beginning of the ‘cross season. As we outlined the race schedule it seemed we had so much time to work with. However after a crummy summer we didn’t have a lot to work with; we felt like we were always playing catch-up with recovery and training. The biggest lesson I take from this season is cycling. Seasons work in cycles and the quality of miles in the summer heavily influences the winter. And the quality of summer is determined by the off-season and the quality of a break.
I am currently making note of all I learned in this 2010 to 2011 mtb and ‘cross season while wallowing in a needed break. But at the same time I am looking forward to jumping in the harness belayed by Crank Brothers and my supportive friends, family, and sponsors…and climbing to another peak.
Stay tuned as I prepare for next season. Drop a comment below if you have thoughts on what I should write about next!