Only as good as your last result

At the end of every UCI 'cross season, I think every US rider (and probably every rider globally) looks at the UCI rankings to see where they finished up. For the US riders who end their season at nationals, we'll gradually drift down a few more spots until the last race at the end of February, but generally, where you are now is where you'll end up. The UCI has ranking archives all the way back to the 2008/2009 season. For me, that starts when my racing age was 37, and goes up until this year, with a racing age of 43. I like to look back at all of them, as a way to see how my results and career have arced over that period.

The data is below, in full, and you can get a sense of it at a glance. Every UCI-point earning result is listed. Some years I had more results than allowable points (only 5 C2s and 6 C1s count). 2010/11, at age 39, was clearly my best year, when I won 2 races, won the Verge Series overall, was on the podium often, and lined up on the front row, in 8th spot, at nationals.

In 2011, the podiums turned into top 10s. In 2012, the top 10s turned into top 20s, and I barely scored any points. It was the worst 'cross season I'd had since 2004, when the Transitions documentary was made, and I thought I was retiring at the end of the season. And with a racing age of 41, of course, you have to ask yourself, "is this it?" I trained a LOT for the 'cross season that year, did a ton of base in August, but just never got sharp. I trained myself into a hole I never climbed out of.

In 2013 I made some changes, pulled up on my road season early for base again but made sure I did a lot more interval work, and I had a season I was happy with, on par with 2011. To see improvement again with a racing age of 42 was very satisfying, and I felt like it was still worth my effort to be out there.

This year, eh. Back to 2012 levels, but for different reasons. I had one of the best road seasons of my career, again unexpectedly, at age 42. I don't have the snap I did 20 years ago, but I was as strong as ever, my driving was good, I can read races like Uri Geller bends spoons. Getting 4th in the NCC got me and my supporters excited about what was possible for the 'cross season. Unfortunately, it went just the opposite. Holding that high level of form for as long as I did meant I was going to have to come down and pay it back at some point. I was still racing road and traveling well into September, interrupting the specific 'cross training I normally do. I showed up at Gloucester exhausted already, with a bad back, a position I wasn't adapted to, uncomfortable drifting in turns after a summer of being stuck to the pavement. For sure, nationals moving to January has made it harder to do a full road and 'cross season together like I have for most of my career. I no longer believe it's possible to do both at 100%.

This season it took me until December to finally turn things around. The training camp I did in Athens, GA before Christmas was the window where my body finally came around. My back and muscle imbalances finally evened out, I was able to correct my position on the bike accordingly, I did a ton of motorpacing and singletrack riding on my 'cross bike, and I ran a lot more than normal leading up to nationals. At Kingsport, the field wasn't very deep, but it was good at the front, and I beat riders who'd been putting minutes on me all fall. Most importantly, my sensations were good. I felt like I was racing. I attacked, I pulled, I won the sprint from my group. I felt ready for nationals.

In the single speed race at nationals, I did get a little nervous. Lindine rode me off his wheel accelerating out of turns in the first 2 minutes of the race. By the time we hit the pit on lap 1, he gapped me for good, and we were riding the same 40 x 17 gear. One thing I didn't do effectively this fall when things weren't going well was to diet. Racing 'cross at 158 lbs instead of 152 lbs is a big, big difference, but the motivation to diet when you're riding badly and don't feel strong is rarely there. I need to feel good and be finishing my training, making good numbers, before I can find the motivation to control my calories on top of it. That 5+ pounds shows up out of every corner, up every hill, and across every soft piece of ground. And it showed up for sure in the single speed race, when I was completely bogged down out of turns and up the off-cambers. Eventually, I got dropped from the group racing for 2nd place, on lap 3. That was a bummer.

On Monday's elite race, I had so little pressure, and my legs still felt good. My only goal was to finish on the lead lap, race the course and not the other riders, and be as thoughtful and creative on what was now a muddy, tricky course with a lot of pedaling, but also, a lot of running, and a lot of thinking. I got a great start and immediately started riding my own race. I took big, wide lines around turns, I managed to ride some of the off-cambers u-turns that then allowed me to ride a section after instead of run, and used my bike as a scooter to coast whenever possible. I talked to Sam O'Keefe after his collegiate race, and he said he remounted at the top of the off-cambers, coasted down into the turn, and ran the uphills. That tactic worked perfectly on Monday, too. Riders would be running downhill around me while I was gently drifting down an off-camber, resting while they ran.

All of that got me 22nd at nationals, a result I honestly could not be happier with. I was back racing with my peers, I was close enough to the front to feel like I deserved to be there, and I was not embarrassed by how I was riding. I didn't feel like an old man holding on to something, I felt like a pro bike racer still in the bell curve of competitiveness. It was a relief, and even if I'm generally unhappy with my season, I was happy to finish it on a positive note. 

That said, the measure of my season isn't just my results. I met a lot of great people this fall. I worked with some new sponsors and created some exciting opportunities for the future. I coached some amazing riders, watched the coaches that work for me have success with their riders, shook hands with people in parking lots, took pictures with fans, did meet and greets, ran camps and clinics, and just generally felt like I gave 'cross more than I took from it. Those interactions make up for bad days on the bike, and even when I have bad days on the bike, it's good to remember that there's very little as thrilling as ripping a turn on a 'cross bike. I can't believe I've been able to do it for as long as I have. And I'm excited about finally winding it down some, being selective about where my energy goes, and making sure it always feels positive.

There are a lot of thank yous to send out, but that's a different blog entry. Back to the data, and one interesting side note: 2008/09 was the last year I was on the UCI 'Cross Commission, and was using those free trips to Europe to stay for some racing, including World Cups, where I finished on the lead lap in Tabor and scored a lot of points, points which you keep. If you REALLY want to sandbag UCI points, the best strategy honestly is to go to Europe and try to finish World Cups in the top 50. Funny to think about.

Here's the summary:

2014/15: 27 points, 301st

2013/14: 53 points, 198th

2012/13: 18 points, 344th

2011/12: 63 points, 165th

2010/11: 170 points, 77th

2009/10: 86 points, 132nd

2008/09: 68 points, 146th

And here's the list:

Ranking - Cyclo Cross 2014/2015 

Men  Elite  UCI Ranking  Individual
 
 

 

Adam MYERSON (United States) 

Current rank: 301
Current points: 27
 
UCI Code: USA19720509
Age: 43
Date Event Rank Result PaR PcR Class
03 Jan 2015 Kingsport Cyclo-cross Cup 4   15 15 C2
01 Nov 2014 The Cycle-Smart International 6   8 8 C2
06 Sep 2014 Nittany Lion Cross 8   4 4 C2

 

Ranking - Cyclo Cross 2013/2014 

Men  Elite  UCI Ranking  Individual
 
 

 

Adam MYERSON (United States) 

Current rank: 198
Current points: 53
 
UCI Code: USA19720509
Age: 42
Date Event Rank Result PaR PcR Class
05 Jan 2014 Kingsport Cyclo-cross Cup 3   20 20 C2
08 Sep 2013 Nittany Lion Cross 4   15 15 C2
08 Dec 2013 NEPCX #8 - NBX Gran Prix of Cross 7   6 6 C2
02 Nov 2013 NEPCX #5 - The Cycle-Smart International 7   6 6 C2
07 Sep 2013 Nittany Lion Cross 7   6 6 C2
07 Dec 2013 NEPCX #7 - NBX Gran Prix of Cross 10   1 0** C2
30 Nov 2013 Baystate Cyclo-cross 9   2 0** C2

 

Ranking - Cyclo Cross 2012/2013 

Men  Elite  UCI Ranking  Individual
 

 

Adam MYERSON (United States) 

Current rank: 344
Current points: 18
 
UCI Code: USA19720509
Age: 41
Date Event Rank Result PaR PcR Class
15 Dec 2012 North Carolina Grand Prix 6   8 8 C2
16 Dec 2012 North Carolina Grand Prix 8   4 4 C2
09 Dec 2012 Super Cross Cup 8   4 4 C2
24 Nov 2012 New England Cyclo-Cross Series #5 - Baystate Cyclo-cross 9   2 2 C2

 

Ranking - Cyclo Cross 2011/2012 

Men  Elite  UCI Ranking  Individual
 
 

 

Adam MYERSON (United States) 

Current rank: 165
Current points: 63
 
UCI Code: USA19720509
Age: 40
Date Event Rank Result PaR PcR Class
10 Dec 2011 Kingsport Cyclo-cross Cup 3   20 20 C2
27 Nov 2011 New England Championship Series #10 - Baystate Cyclo-cross 4   15 15 C2
20 Nov 2011 North Carolina Grand Prix 6   8 8 C2
06 Nov 2011 New England Championship Series #9 - The Cycle-Smart International 6   8 8 C2
08 Oct 2011 New England Championship Series #5 - Providence Cyclo-cross 12   6 6 C1
05 Nov 2011 New England Championship Series #8 - The Cycle-Smart International 7   6 6 C2
29 Oct 2011 Beacon Cross 10   1 0** C2
23 Oct 2011 New England Championship Series #7 - Downeast Cyclo-cross 10   1 0** C2
15 Oct 2011 Granogue Cross 10   1 0** C2
04 Dec 2011 New England Championship Series #12 - NBX GP 9   2 0** C2
19 Nov 2011 North Carolina Grand Prix 9   2 0** C2
24 Sep 2011 New England Championship Series #2 - The Nor Easter Cyclo-cross presented by Cycle-smar 8   4 0** C2
01 Jan 2012 Chicago Cyclocross Cup New Year's Resolution 7   6 0** C2
31 Dec 2011 Chicago Cyclocross Cup New Year's Resolution 7   6 0** C2
03 Dec 2011 New England Championship Series #11 - NBX GP 7   6 0** C2
30 Oct 2011 HPCX 7   6 0** C2

 

Ranking - Cyclo Cross 2010/2011 

Men  Elite  UCI Ranking  Individual
 
 

 

Adam MYERSON (United States) 

Current rank: 77
Current points: 170
 
UCI Code: USA19720509
Age: 39
Date Event Rank Result PaR PcR Class
04 Dec 2010 New England Championship Series #9 - NBX GP 1   40 40 C2
24 Oct 2010 New England Championship Series #4 - Downeast Cyclo-cross 1   40 40 C2
05 Dec 2010 New England Championship Series #10 - NBX GP 2   30 30 C2
07 Nov 2010 New England Championship Series #6 - The Cycle-Smart International 2   30 30 C2
11 Sep 2010 Nittany Lion Cross 2   30 30 C2
09 Oct 2010 Providence Cyclo-cross 9   2 0** C2
19 Sep 2010 New England Championship Series #2 - Catamount Grand Prix 9   2 0** C2
18 Sep 2010 New England Championship Series #1 - Schoolhouse Cyclo-cross 8   4 0** C2
23 Oct 2010 New England Championship Series #3 - Downeast Cyclo-cross 7   6 0** C2
30 Oct 2010 Beacon Cross 6   8 0** C2
06 Nov 2010 New England Championship Series #5 - The Cycle-Smart International 4   15 0** C2
17 Oct 2010 Granogue Cross 4   15 0** C2
25 Sep 2010 The Nor Easter Cyclo-cross at Loon Mountain 4   15 0** C2
15 Jan 2011 Kingsport Cyclo-cross Cup 3   20 0** C2
28 Nov 2010 New England Championship Series #8 - Baystate Cyclo-cross 3   20 0** C2
27 Nov 2010 New England Championship Series #7 - Baystate Cyclo-cross 3   20 0** C2
31 Oct 2010 HPCX 2   30 0** C2

 

Ranking - Cyclo Cross 2009/2010 2008/2009 

Men  Elite  UCI Ranking  Individual 

 
 

 

Adam MYERSON (United States) 

Current rank:  132
Current points:  86
 
UCI Code:  USA19720509
Age:  38
Date Event Rank Result PaR PcR Class
05 Dec 2009 New England Championship Series #13 - NBX Grand Prix of Cross 2 1:02:19 20 20 C2
19 Sep 2009 Nittany Lion Cross 2 58:29 20 20 C2
06 Dec 2009 New England Championship Series #14 - NBX Grand Prix of Cross 3 1:01:27 15 15 C2
01 Nov 2009 HPCX 3 1:02:54 15 15 C2
20 Sep 2009 Charm City Cross 3 57:49 15 15 C2
14 Nov 2009 USGP of Cyclocross #5 - Mercer Cup 15 1:06:40 1 1 C1
07 Nov 2009 New England Championship Series #9 - The Cycle-Smart International 10 58:13 1 0** C2
27 Sep 2009 New England Championship Series #2 - Catamount Grand Prix 10 1:05:57 1 0** C2
25 Oct 2009 New England Championship Series #8 - Downeast Cyclocross 9 1:00:06 2 0** C2
17 Oct 2009 Granogue Cross 9 1:05:50 2 0** C2
28 Nov 2009 New England Championship Series #11 - Baystate Cyclocross 8 57:52 4 0** C2
18 Oct 2009 Wissahickon Cross 7 59:58 6 0** C2
29 Nov 2009 New England Championship Series #12 - Baystate Cyclocross 6 1:00:25 8 0** C2
24 Oct 2009 New England Championship Series #7 - Downeast Cyclocross 6 57:55 8 0** C2
31 Oct 2009 Beacon Cross 4 57:38 12 0** C2

 

Ranking - Cyclo Cross 2008/2009 2009/2010 

Men  Elite  UCI Ranking  Individual 

Final result
 

 

Adam MYERSON (United States) 

Current rank:  146
Current points:  68
 
UCI Code:  USA19720509
Age:  37
Date Event Rank Result PaR PcR Class
06 Dec 2008 New England Championship Series #8 - NBX Grand Prix 3 1:01:08 15 15 C2
26 Oct 2008 UCI World Cup #2 - Tabor 46 1:10:25 14 14 CDM
07 Dec 2008 New England Championship Series #9 - NBX Grand Prix 4 59:27 12 12 C2
29 Nov 2008 New England Championship Series #7 - Baystate Cyclocross 5 57:22 10 10 C2
01 Nov 2008 New England Championship Series #5 - The Cycle-Smart International 7 1:01:28 6 6 C2
19 Oct 2008 UCI World Cup #1 - Vlaamse Industrieprijs Bosduin 51   5 5 CDM
23 Nov 2008 North American Cyclocross Trophy #8 - Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup 14 1:00:50 2 2 C1
22 Nov 2008 North American Cyclocross Trophy #7 - Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup 14 1:05:58 2 2 C1
11 Oct 2008 New England Championship Series #3 - Gran Prix of Gloucester 9 1:06:52 2 2 C2
02 Nov 2008 New England Championship Series #6 - The Cycle-Smart International 10 1:03:19 1 0** C2
12 Oct 2008 North American Cyclocross Trophy #4 - Gran Prix of Gloucester 10 59:37 1 0** C2
27 Sep 2008 New England Championship Series #1 - Schoolhouse Cyclocross 10 1:01:21 1 0** C2
20 Sep 2008 Nittany Lion Cross 10 1:05:24 1 0** C2

 

 

 

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