A small look back at 2009, an analytical look forward to 2010. 5 questions for the boys of Bikeridr. 5 public answers so our readers can keep us honest.

Looking back at 2009 how do you feel about your performance?

Ken: Overall, I’m pleased… Until this year I hadn’t raced in a long time and wasn’t sure what to expect my first season back – Generally I was less concerned with my actual ranking throughout the season, but was fairly pleased with how my fitness progressed throughout. It was nice to see my racing performance improve as my fitness progressed.

Sheldon: This was my first year racing, so I really didn’t know what to expect, but I admit I had some high hopes. Right out the gate, I had respectable finishes at both the Bacon and then the Perogy XC in the Novice category. Nothing stellar, but close to the top ten. I figured I’d progress quickly from there, but given the marathon distance type training I was doing in prep for the Transrockies, I didn’t really get any faster. This was really disappointing to me. That said, the TR was always the main goal, and that was a huge success. The toughest XC stage race in the world so I’m told, and maybe even the toughest TR to date, and Ken and I finished it end to end. That was huge!

What were some of the highlights?

Ken: This season, the Transrockies definitely takes the cake. It was an epic adventure that I really enjoyed sharing with my buddy, a true test of the legs and the spirit. I learned more about who I am as a rider, where I excel, where I need work, what I’m capable of, and what I can push through mentally – The ’09 TR was definitely not a walk in the park ;-) Perhaps the best surprise though, came 3 or so weeks after the Transrockies, after I had fully recovered from my efforts. All that fitness (and mental fortitude) I spent building during the TR really came together and paid off during the Bow 80 when I was one of only 46 finishers. On an off-the-bike, but still bike-related note, another highlight has probably been this blog, it’s great to put my thoughts down on paper (digitally, anyway) and I find it’s a great way to get my passion out there while (hopefully) getting people excited about cycling.

Sheldon: Well, for sure getting to ride the Transrockies with my buddy Ken. Though out of that, I won’t say it was hitting the finish line like you’d think, although that was pretty awesome. The highlight that sticks out in my mind most was me getting back on the bike on day two, after having been severely dehydrated and put on an IV drip the day before. I bounced back, riding pretty well on day two and surprised myself big time! This was such a massive relief, because after the strain of day one, I was really scared that I wouldn’t be able to go on. That’s my top highlight for sure. Others would be winning the Superhero Challenge and getting a chance to stand on the top of the podium – this was the one and only time I’d experience that in 2009, haha… Also, believe it or not, my foray into cyclocross. I came in either dead last, or next to last in every race, but for some reason I love it!  I’m looking forward to the 2010 CX with both excitement and fear… Be afraid, be very, very afraid…

What was a low point? How did you get through it?

Ken: I was lucky enough to stay healthy throughout most of the season and injury didn’t really come into the picture except for a little lingering knee pain. Looking back at past entries I would have to say the low point was halfway through the off-season. Being inside on the trainer, with no hope of the snow abating it was pretty tough mentally to keep focussed and positive.

Sheldon: Likely the low point for me didn’t come until after the Bow 80. In 2008, I failed to complete it, so in 2009 it was one of my main goals to go back and race it again, and kill it! As luck would have it though, Mother Nature decided to dump on us about 2 hours in and it was a blizzard… Still, despite the snow, wind and freezing temps, I was well on pace to complete, but for safety reasons the organizers called it off, and once again, I didn’t get to cross the finish line. It’s funny because I’m getting mad just writing about it here. I stayed off the bike for a while after that. Now, of course, I need to go back at it again in 2010. So I’m making the declaration here and now – I WILL finish the BOW 80 this year, hell or high water! 3 times the charm, right? You all can hold me to it.

Looking forward, what’s in store for 2010? Goals? Big races?

Ken: I’m not a pro (yet), so staying fit, healthy and having fun is the most important thing throughout the season. One of my original goals was to finish top 5 in a mountain bike and cyclocross race this season, but I think that goal will be completely dependent on what category I end up racing in. We’ll see if I have to stay in Novice or if I’m able to upgrade to Sport. I think I’m also going to give things a go on the road – No specific goals here, since I have no idea what to expect. Don’t crash, I suppose ;-)

In addition to the individual races, Sheldon and I will of course have to defend our Bikeridr title at the TransStoney next year ;-)

Outside of the ABA circuit the only one other race in my sights is the Breck Epic (though I haven’t committed to it yet). I’m hoping the other half of Team Bikeridr will be able to join me, but we’ll see how schedules pan out.

I’m also hoping to become impervious to gravity, so I can climb effortlessly for hours on end ;-)

Sheldon: For 2010, I’ll be changing my main focus away from the Enduro events. This year, I’ll look to hit the ABA circuit with regularity. I’m training a lot more for speed now, so I should see some improvement over last year and I’m looking forward to that. That said, Ken might convince me to do some team enduro, if opportunity knocks, and I will be doing the Bow 80, without saying. Other events on my hopeful calender would have to be the Superhero Challenge, as Ken and I need to defend our titles. Also the Perogy XC, which is being presented by River Valley Cycle this year. I also have a soft spot for the 24 Hours of Adrenaline. It’s not on a good weekend for me usually, but we’ll see. Lastly though, THE MOTHER OF ALL MY GOALS – TO BEAT KEN HURD!!!!

Any tips you can give your readers out there?

Ken: Stay focussed on your goals, but don’t let them take over your life. Unless you’re consistently winning races (or that is your goal ;-), there’s no sense getting down on yourself for missing a workout or blowing up on the first race of the season… Take a step back, regroup, and get back on track. Just try and be as consistent as you can and don’t loose sight of the bigger picture.

Sheldon: There is one tip I can give, and that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve learned this year, in my first year of racing. That’s it takes awhile to build up the endurance, speed and power you need to race, at least competitively. I’ve ridden for years, and I thought I was fast. But, well, I found out otherwise pretty quickly once I started racing. I might be fast one day (though at 35, I’m runnin’ out of time here), but it takes a long time and a lot of training to get there. So, my advice, stay committed, but be patient. Big gains won’t come overnight, but over time, we’ll get there. Here’s to 2010.