I am definitely sitting in an area of no movement right now. The beautiful indian summer weather is about to change to typical Iowa fall weather, with highs in the 40s, and lows in the 30s. The annual "adjustment of the clocks for no good reason" has just taken place too. Lights are now needed for safety, rather than seeing the road ahead. That will also change soon, and their beams will be needed to light the path home. My riding is in a state of adjustment now too. The last two months of the Cup O Dirt Challenge have arrived. The chances of accomplishing my goal this year are swiftly fading, however I accomplished more than a lot of guys my age. My goals this year were driven by my chase for the Cup O Dirt. An early January excursion with a small group of people turned into a lot of miles of gravel, and a lot hours riding and working on dirt. Of everything I've done this year, starting, and completing, the Dirty Kanza was definitely the high point.
My goal planning and event scheduling is already starting for next year. Trans Iowa registration is opens soon, with this year's 300+ mile course possibly the hardest ever, even with perfect weather. The Dirty Kanza will likely be taking place later that same month. This 200 miler could be relatively easy, or it could be a brutal test if the weather doesn't cooperate. Being mentally and physically prepared to start both of those events would be an accomplishment. You can't really talk about off road events without discussing Leadville, quite possibly one of the most difficult 100 mile races a 40 year old flatlander like me could think of attempting,. So I have this fantasy trifecta of completing TransIowa, The Dirty Kanza, and The Leadville 100 all in the same year. A rather sadistic taper no matter how you look at it. Even if I were to successfully register for all three events, completing them all would be a tall order.
That said, another part of me wants to explore a slightly different side of cycling and attempt to earn a Super Randonneur award. These rides would mesh well with my approach of considering completion of the event as the measure of success. It would play into my ability to crank out mile after mile on a bike at a regular, if medium, pace, regardless of conditions, It would also give my wife an opportunity to see her family a lot this summer. However, it would mean not entering any off road events this year (including the IMBCS) and concentrating on cranking out a lot of road miles.
In either case, I'm likely to be riding in a world of my own in 2009. There aren't a lot of people in the area that are willing to go out and routinely lay down 80 - 120 miles all at once. The local road racers typically ride hard for 40 - 60 and call it good. Anyone regularly riding centuries or longer is considered a bit eccentric (if not completely off their rocker) by most of the local cycling community. I have discovered this is especially true for anyone laying down a lot of miles on gravel, like I did this year.
Lots of choices to be made in the next few months. Should be interesting.