You may be asking, “What’s with all the hype?” or “Why would I want to race in the mud?” or “What makes cyclocross the best kind of bike racing?”
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 catch the cyclocross vibe! 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.
Why not discover YOUR reason for racing cyclocross this season?! Check out the many resources we have at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to inspire and motivate you to race cyclocross this season:
- Cyclocross Newbies – Tips to Prep for Your First Cyclocross Race
- What You Need to Know to Prep for Cyclocross Season
- How to Plan Your Cyclocross Training Week
- Drinking During a Cyclocross Race? It’s Not What You Think!
- Cyclocross Secrets to Surviving the Mud and Obstacles