The off season and laying the foundations for 2012

January in Utah would normally lend itself to stories of great backcountry skiing, snowboarding, and cross country skiing. This year has been dry and mild, with a relative lack of snow, and the riding has been a lot better than the snow sports. Since we did finally get snow a week ago, the avalanche danger has been through the roof. It has been better to try out the snow biking.

I made it down to St. George, Utah for New Year’s weekend and got out for some good mountain bike rides. Before that I had taken some time off in December post-La Ruta and Utah cyclo-cross, and it was just nice to get the legs turning again.

Since then I have been putting in some miles on the road bike around Salt Lake. I have an old Cannondale Super Six set up with fenders, old parts, and an SRM. It’s the perfect winter training machine. Amazingly, we were even riding dirt in the foothills over a couple weekends. Does this mean I will be faster in the spring? Not sure, but I’ve been having fun riding!

In other related news, I am stoked to confirm that I will be racing for Cannondale Factory Racing (CFR) again in 2012. Once again, I will have no excuses in the equipment department and won’t be able to blame any personal shortcomings on my bike.

This year you will be able to find CFR riders all over the word at all types of events. We’ll have Jeremiah Bishop and the European CFR squad gunning for the London Olympics, Tinker Juarez and myself racing a variety of endurance and cross country events around the country, and new additions Keegan Swenson and Taylor Smith dicing in the junior category at World Cups and nationals.

Every year it seems like the number of races increases, and there are so many to choose from. The calendar fills up, and there may be four or five events to choose from on any one weekend. This makes planning a season very challenging, but I guess it’s good to have a lot of choices: it means you can be picky! I try to hit the high profile events, some classics, try some new events and formats, while hopefully racing events that are suited to my strengths as a rider. It can be challenging to fit it all in, but I have bucket list and just try to check one event off that list each year. This year that may be to race a World Cup as I have the UCI points to line up at Windham. Regardless of how I finish, I think it would be an awesome experience to race a World Cup.

Besides that, I could recount joys of filing taxes as a first year business owner, but I’ll spare you!

February looks busy, kicking off with a long weekend training camp called Camp Lynda hosted by Lynda Wallenfels and Dave Harris in St. George and wrapping up with

Cannondale Factory Racing team camp. Stay tuned…

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.