Webinar: Preparing For Your Cyclocross Season

Friday, August 15, 2014 | By TrainingPeaks
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Get ready for cyclocross season with this webinar presented by coach Derek Loudermilk. In this webinar he discusses planning your season using goals, monthly progressions, and setting a weekly schedule. He also covers some of his favorite workouts, drills, and games to help with handling skills. In addition, Loudermilk covers equipment choices like bike and tire choice. To finish, Loudermilk helps you get fully prepared for race day by using course maps, pre-riding the course, pacing properly and warming up. 

At the start of this webinar we asked for viewers to send in any questions they had for the author. Here are those questions and the replies from the author.

Q: What hints or tips do you have for dialing in your mounts and dismounts in preparation for the season?

A: I like to start everyone off in a grassy field walking next to their bike. Then we do slow motion remounts focusing on smoothly putting the inner thigh on the saddle and finding the pedal (allowing you to accelerate right away). The keys here are to get it perfect at slow speed so you don’t make any mistakes at high speed. We do a few hundred meters of walking speed without barriers, then add a set of double barriers. It is probably a few weeks in before we start doing them fast. I also like to add tricky dismounting scenarios: a dismount right after a corner, on a steep descent, or with 30 ft in between barrier sets. This helps you decide when to get off – early, before the corner, remount in between, etc. Which is faster? Try to set up the most challenging scenario you can think of.

Q: Do you have any advice on how to plan your race to get the best out of yourself? CX tends to start fast (the opposite from a good time trial, but as some elements of a solo effort at the amateur level). What race strategy advice can you give?

A: We saw last year that Jeremy Powers won the Stars and Stripes by attacking hard from the gun. His race essentially turned into a TT as he worked to stay away from the chase group. 4th and 5th that day ended up coming from far down by working together. From this we can learn that A – the start can set up your whole race, so focusing on this skill, including start line position, clipping in, and picking the right gear are key. B – that there are some elements of road racing tactics when you can work together with a small group to make a chase. The best way to plan to get the best out of yourself is to go over the race in your mind ahead of time: Visualize the first lap, including position, effort level, the urgency of moving up positions, etc. Then break down the mid race into little goals: Gain time on the parts where you are strong (sand, run ups, whatever), and know who you can work with ahead of time. Then prep for the end game, which is a re-elevation of effort to the frantic first lap – by this time, you will probably be in a battle for one or two spots. Know your enemy’s weakness and hit them when you have the advantage.

Q: Your favorite workout 3x12 minutes - what would the rest between intervals be 5 minutes?

A: At the beginning of the season, the interval lengths are shorter and less total time, maybe like 3X8 min or 2X10, with rest being half the time of the interval. You can manipulate the difficulty of the workout in a few ways (to make it more challenging as you get fit). If you are reducing the rest between the intervals, you are placing more of the focus on the aerobic system as your body doesn’t have as much time to recharge the anaerobic system full. You can also choose to make the intervals longer throughout the season to push your ability to ride at that given pace longer. You can also try adding a 4th interval if that helps you break up the workout mentally.

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