My basic philosophy about this racing thing is to have fun. If I am not smiling, laughing, making new friends and feeling accomplished/ rewarded for my efforts - I won't do it. Simple. That said, I train hard.
I know that these days of riding in the cold will pay off next season. When I decided to race over a year ago, I knew I would have to get into that frame of mind where suffering was the norm. I love suffering. Have you ever gone so hard for so long your facial muscles start twitching uncontrollably, you drool, a sensation of pressure presses your whole body while you feel your heart beat like it's the size of a basket ball and you hear an increasingly louder banshee like phantom scream? God, I love that! I have never been one to burn out, or feel over trained though, if you are enjoying what your doing this won't happen.
I had a comment to the effect that "your retarded, you shouldn't feel this good this time of year, racing is in three months", or something like that. I took no offense to that, but it made me realize - I have never had a coach. I am sure maybe I could have used one at some point, but probably not. If a coaches time was worth what people expect to get out of them, they should be pretty expensive. I accomplish my realistic goals in cycling pretty consistently and I sometimes think that getting someone else to tell you how to ride your bike is mostly just a crutch to try and find a way around the hard work and suffering it takes to get good in this sport. Don't worry about me over-training, I don't burn out. I just get stronger, and in turn races are more fun (for me).