I did the Cheq Fat Tire 40 this weekend for the fifth time. The ride is really, really hard, especially for a suburban dad who rarely rides his mountain bike. It typically ends my riding season, and i slouch into autumn, eating lots of chocolate, enjoying my weekends a bit too much.
I was bummed this weekend when i got my final time. After a lot of riding this summer, I ended up with a time that was much slower than last year. Sure, the course was really muddy, and soggy from rain the night before, but i thought i should have been faster. The race just seemed a lot harder than it should have been, given all the riding i had been doing. After a little analysis, i realized that my overall results weren't as bad as i thought. While my time as much slower, i actually improved a little against all riders, and in the men's division over the last few years (with a couple assumptions about the relative mix of men to women over the years). (NOTE: These results are still nothing to brag about, per se, but they are all i got!)
And, relative to my age group (and assuming the size of the age group is roughly equivalent year over year), my placing is improving a bit every year, too.
I'm better off sticking to the road. I'm especially happy about the results from the Dairyland Dare, a very hard road ride in southern WI. I do the 100k every year. While the course has changed a bit in the last two years, its still 100k, and the actual number of feet has gone *up*. I've taken more than 40 minutes off my time (though some of that is due to not wasting time in the feed stations).
I hope to continue the trend into next year. I'll have to go light on the doughnuts over the winter.