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Cyclocross training

matmoomatmoo Posts: 14
edited November 2007 in Training, fitness and health
Having finally been backed in to a corner where I've had to commit, I'm entering my first race on saturday. I've been up each morning pounding around the local park, practising mounting, dismounts, general bike handling and getting used to the much slower steering. Fortunately there are some sharp climbs and trade-off steep descents. I've been trying to build some leg strength by pedalling standing up (same during my communte to work) and sprinting between trees, using them as markers.
I'll count it a success if I'm not last and manage to complete the course without blowing up.
I plan to rest completely tomorrow and drive to work to take in next weeks supplies then do some stretching and weights when I get home.
Any advice anyone can offer would be fantastic on staying the distance and what nutrition should I consider before the nerve-wracking start!! Any comments on training should I decide to enter then next one?


  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    Not A Xer myself but would guess that a good start is beneficial. Warm up well, make sure bike /gear is in top condition. Pray if you are so inclined :wink:
    good on you for trying - good luck :)
  • Hi there.

    CX races start fast and frantic. Basically the leaders will hammer from the begining and try to wear everyone else down. If it's your first race then take it easy at the start - the battle for the first corner will be fierce and if you're not expecting to be fighting it out for the lead come the end of the race then don't let the excitement get to you and get involved in the scrum at the start. i.e. don't do what I did.

    There's no sitting in, little drafting and very little chance of recovery. You'll be alternating between just above and just below your threshold for the whole race - replicatiing this in training would be a good idea. Try and relax and catch your breath through any technical bits where you're not pedalling. Other than that, the only specialist cx training I do is technical stuff like you've already mentioned: off camber cornering, mouting, dismounting, barriers and running steps. All the fitness stuff is the usual road or turbo stuff - maybe with some sprints thrown in too.

    I'd recommend getting to the course early and warm up on the course. Find someone who looks like they know what they're doing and follow their lines round the course. It helps to do practice the line at race speed - warm up over a few laps doing some sections at race pace, then taking it easy for a bit then back up to speed again.

    Have fun!

    Cheers, Andy
  • matmoomatmoo Posts: 14
    Thanks for the advice. Much appreciated - just need a good nights sleep and as you say warm up early and recce the course.

    Now if only I could stop the knees from knocking!
  • HudsterHudster Posts: 142
    I know how you feel. I did my first cross race not so long ago. I learn a lot on the first few laps. The advice everyone gave me was to get a good start, don't get too carried away with the start and totally blow up after the first few laps, and draft where I could.

    The reality was that I felt like everyone was passing me and I was going backwards. Drafting seemed to make no difference as you don't seem to get as much rest as you do on the road. Argh, it was a nightmare. But by the end of the race, I had learnt a lot and also recovered a bit and managed a decent placing. My next race and I'd improved that by 10 places!

    One great thing is that you shouldn't worry too much about coming last. You will get lapped by so many people that it's not clear as to who did come last so you will be spared that indignity. Also, I have found cross races to be really friendly and everyone was very encouraging to me.

    Good luck, and enjoy![/b]
  • jpembrokejpembroke Posts: 2,569
    Yes, please let us know how it went. I just started CX racing so know how you feel. It is nerve wracking at the start but once the start is out the way, it's brilliant. I'm, hooked. Hope all your practice paid off.
    I'm only concerned with looking concerned
  • matmoomatmoo Posts: 14
    Absolutely fantastic - conditions were great and managed to keep from getting overexcited at the start but managed to make quite a few places. Having never ridden on grass I was a little wary following a pileup (that I dodged) on the third corner.
    What I did find though was that I was strong enough on the climbs and open corners and made plenty of ground but that my technical ability was in fact pants. I fell off four times on technical sections and had my chain unship on three occasions. Really struggled getting it back on once - so I ended up loosing ground only to catch and pass others on the faster sections. This pattern went on all through the race.
    The leaders were something else though as the rocketed past!
    Really enjoyed it and as soon as I buy my own bike (thinking of the Focus, Scott CX or building up a Dolan frame from all on my spares) I'm entering again.
    Got round without blowing up (goal 1) finished 67 out of 91 finishers and importantly loved it (goal 2).
    Really need to get off road and learn some decent handling skills - would have probably managed another half dozen places or so.

    Thanks for the advice and interest all!
  • andypandyp Posts: 9,106
    Blatant plug matmoo but I'm selling a cross bike just now;
  • matmoomatmoo Posts: 14
    I just haven't a clue what to buy or what size. I normally ride a 58 on the road but was thinking smaller is lighter and so on and fitting different stem/seat post etc to a 56. The bike I borrowed was an Allan (and way to small) and was lighter than my road bike but without having checked the t'interweb, I suspect is out of my price range.
    Having been pounding round the Derbyshire Dales this weekend I can't believe I fell off so many times - some of the potholes I was bouncing over were incredible - I out to have the handling skills of a gazelle rather than the gravity of a brick!
    The race struck a chord though as I missed it these last two weekends. Everyone who keeps saying how much fun and addictive it is most definately soooo right.

    It's not a blatant plug AndyP and thanks for the link but (without wishing to offend anyone) I just can't get on with Campag - again it's probably linked to my all-round lack of dexterity!!!!
  • buy the same size cross frame as your road bike, just lower your saddle a bit and raise your bars a bit. I ride my cross bike virtually the same as my road bike and it's easier for me to handle it that way
  • matmoomatmoo Posts: 14
    Much appreciated - do you find that you have any problems remounting on the move our is it just something that comes with practice? I notice people use a variety of techniques from old man scooting style to vaulting straight back on and clipping straight in. I felt ok jumping straight on (especially on a small frame) but feel a little wary trying to remount a fame the size of my road bike. It's probably just psycholgical and something to add to the long list to practice!
  • it just comes with practice I'm afraid. Although you have a higher b/bkt than usual a quick leap over at speed will be enough to re-mount. It's technique - go and watch a decent 'cross race near some planks and watch how people do it properly then try and copy on your own in a park. Are there no 'cross training sessions near you?
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