Patrick Lalley / KSOO

I'm not going to lie to you people. I've been in better shape.

But I decided a couple months ago that I wasn't going to obsess about it going into this year's cyclocross season. I'm just going to go out there and race no matter what actual training I get in.

Now, that doesn't mean I shouldn't train. And I'm not in terrible shape. But when it comes to bike racing, I'm a bit heavy.

To be in a reasonable range, I'd need to drop about 15. And, you know, I'm working on it.

That shouldn't keep me from racing, however. I need to do it because I enjoy it. It gives me something to work for and it's a blast hanging out at races around the region.

The Cannonball Cross in Mason City, Iowa  gets the season kicked off over Labor Day. I'm going to miss that one. Then my next good chance is in Lincoln, Neb., on Sept. 15, at the Star City CX.

I need to get down there and get at least one real race in before the back-to-back World Cup weekends. The best cyclocross racers in the world will be in Waterloo, Wis., for the Trek CX Cup, Sept. 21-23, and then in Iowa City for Jingle Cross, Sept. 28-30.

Those are huge races for hobbyists like me as well as the world's professionals. And just for clarity, we don't race together. No, no, no. I'll be in the Master's Class of a bunch of other old guys. Unfortunately, many of them are still in shape.

So I need to get it together. It's been a slow go. But on Saturday we were camping at Newton Hills. The state park south of Canton offers a lot of different terrain, but primary among them are steep hills and ridable dirt trails.

I did a bunch of both. You can't get into shape in one day, but at least it's something.

Also, if you'd like to witness some cyclocross for yourself, here are the races closer to home:

See also: