While the cross country mountain bike and road bike race seasons may be winding down, the cyclocross race season is just starting. In fact, you could officially say that it is now cyclocross season! If you’re new to cyclocross, you might wonder what the big deal is? Cyclist who have ventured into the discipline are passionate about it and here’s why.
Cyclocross is one of the fastest growing sections of cycling – it’s an all-out mad dash through the dirt, pavement, grass, mud, sand, snow and/or ice that will leave you sucking wind, barely able to see straight…and excited to do it again. It’s held on a relatively short track (2 miles or less) making it spectator-friendly as well. Cyclocross is also one of the few sports where heckling is not only carried on by the spectators but encouraged, even by the top-level touring elites.
Sounds fun, right? And it is!
Cyclocross is a wonderful way for road cyclists and mountain bikers to extend their competitive seasons and get a head-start on training for next season. The intensity of cyclocross racing provides a training stimulus that’s very difficult to replicate with standard interval training during the fall and winter, especially as the temperatures fall and athletes turn primarily to indoor cycling. As the season is just now getting underway, what do you need to know?
Transition: If you’ve been racing throughout the summer season, recognize that there is going to be a transition phase. Moving from one form of racing to another takes a bit of adjustment. This generally takes 4 – 6 weeks to fully adjust to a new cycling position, frame geometry, gear ratios, and race tactic specific strength.
Running and Drills: You’ll want to plan time for running and cyclocross specific skills training. Running prepares your body to handle the stress of runs and dismounts at the beginning of cross season. Skill training is essential for safe riding and also, efficiency during the race! The better your skills are, the faster you will go! Skills to focus on include practicing starts, dismounts, remounts, shouldering, cornering, and riding through different conditions, as in, mud and sand. All play an important factor is racing efficiently.
Training: As for training for cyclocross, the best approach is a comprehensive one. Meaning, now is the time to begin planning your season using goals, monthly progressions, and setting a weekly schedule. For those athletes who want to focus their efforts and manage their time, a good plan is to structure your cyclocross training week. While training time, heart rate and power zones vary, a typical training week usually includes a variety of focused activity. As an example, the post, Preparing for Cyclocross Season, shares more on what you need to include in your training plan.
It’s easy to get started with cyclocross. If you are new to cyclocross, check out our cyclocross bikes online at bikeparts.com. Equipment choices matter! Dial in the best bike parts and and tire choice. While bike setup and having the right cyclocross bicycle parts is important, one of the most important parts of all is tire selection and their pressure. Next, sign up for Golden’s very own Back to Basics Cyclocross Series. Held Wednesday evenings from September through early October, the series offers a fun challenge to build your cyclocross skills and enthusiasm!
So what’s stopping you? Plan your cyclocross season now, order your bike parts at bikeparts.com and grab your cow bell! With a little planning, your 2015 cyclocross season can be very rewarding. Sure, cyclocross races are very high intensity and extremely demanding; yet, cyclocross as a sport is meant to be fun, otherwise, there wouldn’t be beer handoffs, money pits, crowds heckling the pros, or pros heckling the crowd! At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’re gearing up for some cowbell cheer. See you at the races!