I have always thought that balance and moderation are key to a happy and healthy life, and the same applies to racing. One of my favorite quotes is "all things in moderation, even moderation." I take it to mean that while for the most part moderation is a great motto, sometimes you have to indulge.
This time of year is a great time to mix in some other activities and balance out all of the cycling that I do before and during the season. As much as I love and need to ride, I also need a break, and this is the perfect time. It seems like as the years go by, I can extend my riding season longer and longer, and take a shorter break. I guess it's just my body adapting to all of the miles and races over the years. I also try to mix in short breaks throughout the season to avoid burnout and stay fresh.
This year, I pretty much shut it down after La Ruta, but did finish out the local Utah Cyclo-cross season. One week after riding on to the beach in Puerto Limon, I raced the state 'cross championships in some of the worst conditions I have ever ridden. It was snowing and cold, but under the snow there was a ton of water and puddles. We got drenched, then the temperature dropped more and it started to get windy. By the end of the race, I was so cold that I could barely function. Although I had just won the state title, I was too cold to care and just went straight to the bathroom to try to warm my core temperature back up, and get some feeling back in to my hands and feet. Maybe I was just soft from the mild Costa Rican weather, but I think that may come close to the coldest race I have done. I still think the True Grit 50 in 2011 was the coldest. That's a whole other story...
The next day I flew down to the Sho-Air Cannondale team launch in California and continued to confuse my body with some 70-degree weather. It was a great week of riding, meeting the Sho-Air crew, photos/video, and chatting with the media. And that is not to mention the K-1 Speed Go-Carting that we did on a couple evenings. That is a blast, and Jeremiah [Bishop] and I took home the prize for biggest crash after he spun out and was driving the other direction on the track. I hit him almost head on and it was quite a wreck. Luckily there were no injuries to speak of and we got going again.
For a few weeks after that I tried to mix in time off the bike during the week with a few more 'cross races on the weekends, and did just enough to squeak by with the UTCX series win, by only a few points. My good friend Bart Gillespie won the title for at least 10 years in a row, and I have managed to take the last two. Maybe next year if he gets back out for some 'cross, I will be passing the torch back.
Now winter is in full swing and mother nature is reminding me why I moved to Utah in the first place: for the snowboarding. It hasn't been the best start to a ski season, but I got in a great day of backcountry powder skiing over the weekend, as well as a snowshoe with Sammi.
I am hitting the gym a couple days a week for some strength and agility training, but I thrive on being outside and love snow sports. I am hoping to get out for a cross country ski this week, and then some more ski touring and snowboarding around Christmas. Then it's time to get back on the bike around New Year's with a few days in St. George. Ten days later, I will be in Santa Cruz, California for some training with the team and it's going to be full on from there to get ready for the early season races!
Thanks for reading.
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Alex Grant, 31, is one of America's top endurance mountain bike racers. Sponsored by Cannondale Factory Racing in 2012, Grant juggles racing as a pro with managing an outdoor gear consignment business called Gear Rush, which he co-owns with fellow Utah cyclist and racer Bart Gillepsie. This season, look out for Grant on the podiums at major endurance and stage races. For variety, you may also see him on on the start line of some super Ds, cross countries and short tracks.
In 2011, Grant finished third at the Leadville 100 and eighth at the US cross country national championships while also logging top 10s at the super D and marathon nationals. He finished fifth in the Downieville Classic All Mountain Overall and seventh at La Ruta de los Conquistadores. For the third year in a row, he won the Park City Point 2 Point.
In 2010, Grant made headlines with his second place finish at La Ruta de los Conquistadores, the Breck Epic and the Trans-Sylvania Epic.
When not on his mountain bike, Grant enjoys backcountry skiing, snowboarding and hiking.
Grant is from Richmond, Vermont, and he presently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Follow his 2012 season in this blog on Cyclingnews.
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