Having done the vast majority of my road riding in San Diego, I never knew just how good we had it down here. The trip back to Canada was great and I'm really glad I took my bike along with me. What I learned however, is that road riding in Vancouver in winter time is serious business. Normally it takes a certain amount of drive to get me off my butt and on to my bike, but once I'm going I could go all day. When you're riding in a place that is cold and wet, getting onto your bike is only a small part of it. Keeping going is the biggest challenge. When your feet are frozen, you're wet, you're covered in road sand that's kicked up off the wet road, your energy bars are frozen, etc.; it's hard to think about anything more than trying to keep going for 5 more minutes.
Racing season is starting to become visible on the horizon. The SDBC Cat 3/4/5 team camp is coming up January 15-17th. That'll be when things really get kicked into 5th gear for me. I've been doing lots of base building and slowly starting to work more tempo and threshold work into my schedule. Team camp will be the first time I'll really put my foot on the gas this season. If it's anything like last year, we'll have 10 or 20 miles of full on attacks and chases to deal with on our Saturday ride. The climb up Montezuma will also provide an excellent opportunity to compare my fitness to last season.
My goal for this season is to enjoy racing and training. Last year, I set myself the goal of competing at the front and getting promoted to cat 3. What I learned last year, is that the nerve damage in my leg didn't make it possible to achieve this goal. Thus starting the downward spiral of discontent with racing performances, which resulted in decreased desire to train and ride, which then led to even worse performances, etc., etc..
Last year I also spent too much time trying to be the rider I was before I hurt myself. For example, not being able to keep up with people in hilly races like the Omnium road race really drove home the point that I'm not able to ride like I did before my crash and probably never will. So, I'm not going to put myself in those sorts of situations again. At least not until I can do well in the races that are at least suited to what I can do best; namely flatter criteriums.
So this year I'll be trying to focus on races like Redlands, Ontario, Dana Point, Long Beach, etc. and won't even bother myself with things like the Omnium and Red Trolley.