I can tell just by my eating habits. It's been getting warmer, and the foods of winter - heavier, greasier, etc. - just dont' seem as appealing. Give me a sandwich and I feel better all day. This might take some getting used to, because this change normally comes a month or so later for me. I guess it's just the fact that it gets warmer here earlier in the year.
So for the last week I've had the flyer from the Nova Desert Classic sitting in front of me on my desk. I've picked it up and looked it over a few times, and had come to the conclusion I wasn't going to race. I know my current shape, and it's nowhere near racing Expert 25-29 at a national level race. Even though this isn't a NCBS race this year, it'll attract a lot of top level people from around the region. That and it's just a few weeks before Gallup. A 3 day stage race followed by a brutal XC race the next week and then a 12 hour race makes me hurt to think about.
But today the fact that the Marathon race is part of the Norba series finally hit me. So I started doing some looking into it. In the Norba Marathon series, you have the Open/Pro division in men, then 19 - 29, 30 - 39, etc., through a 50+ division. I've only witnessed one Norba marathon race and it was a 6 hour race without many racers. With my curiousity peaked, I looked at the results from last year...
There wasn't a single racer in the 19 - 29 age group that raced more than one race the whole 7 race season! First place was a 6 way tie among the 6 different first place winner of the season. There was one race that no one even showed up for my age group. And the guy who won the last race - against only one other racer I might add - won the title by default (tie breakers are determined by who finished higher in the latest race). A check of the calendar this year shows that all the races are in the western half of the country with San Francisco (Sonoma on the 14th of July) being the furthest away.
I'm really thinking about giving it a shot this year. I'm in no shape to win the Nova race right now, nor will I be in 3 weeks, but I could finish it. If I can finish and keep myself healthy, the other races aren't that far away to go race in them. It's not like I'd have to go out to West Virgina like I would have had to last year. Even if I could just get the ones that are an easy day's drive away, that's still three races. And the finals at Brian Head, Utah are in August. That's a month that's normally a really good racing month for me as I've just come off of the Tour cloud where I spend a three weeks consumed with racing and bikes.
So now I've got a lot to think about. To race at the national level, or not to?