This year I have been fortunate enough to do a bit more cyclocross announcing than I have in years past. At the last couple events I have heard quite a few of the athletes saying the same thing and that is "I'm tired", "I need a break" or saying they're going to call it a season any day now.
The cycling season starts earlier and earlier every year it seems and then continues into the fall if you're doing 'cross. The races here in CO are well attended and most of these athletes are not 'cross specialists, rather roadies who are trying to squeeze in a few more races. What this means though is that they have to extend their organized, intensive training.
Thats a lot of miles and hours. A rider I spoke with yesterday told me he was at about 10,000mi for the season. That's a lot of accumulated fatigue. I can remember the 4yrs I raced as a pro, I put in 19,000mi yearly. I was tired at the end of those seasons. And not just physically tired but, globally tired. My mind was fried as well as my legs
The number of riders I've heard this out of in the recent past illustrates the need for a break at the end of your season. And that break is designed to not only work physically but mentally as well. You can back off the training, you can back off the food restrictions, you can do other activities instead of having to be so specific.
So, this fall, find a place in your over-all training schedule to allow for a 2 or 3 week break. In this time you don't have to completely stop training, just keep it loose. If you don't feel like riding, don't. Allow yourself to have that 2nd serving at dinner, go ride your mountain bike or go hiking. These activities will help you refresh physically AND mentally.