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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Friday, 10.31.14. “Ultimate Obedient Fiend”

•October 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Well, it’s Friday, and y’know what?

Today I’m going to hit you with a workout that most of you probably shouldn’t do today, if you’re racing this weekend.

This is a piece of fiendishness…

UltimateObedientFiendMFC-NA-C-1E

…that exactly one of the athletes I coach is doing today, and that’s only because we’ve learned through plenty of trial and error – and lots of data collection – that he needs to hit it pretty g-damned hard two days before an important race to be able to perform to his max potential.

Thing is, though?

There may well be a couple/few other folk out there in the same boat as him.

Think you might be one of ‘em?

Okey doke.

Have a go at…

 

The 3×10 with Happy Ending…

- Warm up.

- Go as hard as you can for 10 minutes.

- Recover for 2 minutes.

- Go again for another 10 minutes.

- Recover for 2 minutes.

- Go again for another 10 minutes.

That’s the basic idea. Success on this is,  however,  all in the details.

The idea here is to go as hard as you can for the duration of all 3 intervals without being forced to go easier at the end of the subsequent interval.  If you run out of gas before you finish the second or third interval, you went too hard. If your vision isn’t blurry at the end of the last interval, you went too easy.

If you’re doing this with a powermeter, you want your wattage output to be as close to constant as possible.  Keep it steady.

But hey… you’re not getting off that easy!

This is the Happy Ending version.

What does that mean?

After the third ten-minute interval,

-spin for 1 minute.

sprint for ten seconds, starting at the one minute mark on your watch.

-spin until you hit the 2 minute mark on your watch

sprint for ten seconds

-spin until you hit the 3 minute mark on your watch

sprint for ten seconds

Etc., etc., continuing until you hit the five minute mark, and give the last little bit of your energy in one final 10 second sprint.

Ouch.

Have fun!

M

 

**********

Hey there…

Thanks for following my blog!

This thing started off as a lark, and over the years that I’ve been doing it, has become a little bit of a monster.

It takes a fair bit of time – and a wee bit of money – to keep this thing rolling, and as you may have noticed, I’ve recently started asking for folks to chip in a bit if they feel like what they’re getting her is worth something to them.

Honestly, it’s not like I’m trying to get rich off this here thing… or really even make any money from it at all.

It’d just make my life a fair bit easier if I didn’t lose quite as much money doing this as I currently do.

So, hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, please do me a favor – and yes, it’s a favor, and I will be truly thankful for it – and send a buck or two (or five, or whatever…) my way.

How do you do that?

Simply click on the graphic below, and PayPal will be glad to make it happen.

 

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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Thursday, 10.30.14. “All Downhill”

•October 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

How did that start practice go yesterday?

If you did all that, you’re probably feeling it in the legs a little bit today. It’s not an easy workout if you’re giving it full stick… that’s a fair bit of sprinting!

Didn’t do it?

That’s OK, we’re going to hit you with some speed work today as well.

Why?

Well, speed is good.

It’s pretty much always your friend.

It’s great to be strong, and we’ve been working a fair bit on our strength and endurance over the last couple of months, but if you can be strong and fast?

That’s the real E-ticket ride.

More to the point, though?

If you’re in the Seattle area, heads up; the race this Sunday is going to be fast (or, well… a mud bog. One or the other.)

We previewed the course out at the Wednesday Night Cross Practice last night (you shoulda’ been there!) and yup.

Fast.

So, how about some speed work today?

How about…

Going Downhill Fast – 

s i_love_going_downhill_clock-r9a1b6cd0b7af400d82412cc36622ff44_fup13_8byvr_512

 

Start by warming up well, a bit longer than usual – 30 minutes or so.

Find a gradual downhill that lets out on a flat section of road or trail. The ideal setup for this workout is a downhill that’s about a block long that turns into  a flat section of road another block or so in length.

Extra bonus points if you can loop back to the start without having to turn around – that would be perfect.

You’re going to do 3-5 sets of 5 sprints, full gas. Here’s how the sprints go:

Roll down the gradual descent in a comfortable gear. You want to hit the bottom of the hill going fast, but not yet in a sprint.

As soon as you hit the flat section at the bottom of the hill, get out of the saddle and give it full gas.

Sit back down as you get up to full speed, and try to go even faster.

Go until you are spun out.

Spun out means that your legs can’t go any faster, your form goes completely to hell, or you start bobbing up and down on the saddle a lot.

Ideally, a little bit of all of those things.

Remember, we’re working on leg speed today, so really focus on turning your legs over. The goal isn’t to make the bike go fast, the goal is to make your legs go fast.

There’s a difference, eh? Try to keep it in mind, ok?

ANYways, That’s one rep. You’re doing sets of 5.

Ouch.

Each sprint should take just a few seconds. Recover for 30 seconds to a minute between them, and 5 minutes between sets.

Stop when you hit 5 sets or just aren’t getting the same leg speed you were on the first couple of reps.

When you’re done, spin out your legs and go home.

Tips -

- You should start the sprint in a pretty big gear, and spin it out. How big? It depends on how fast you’re going and how strong you are. You’re working on speed here, so don’t try to lug a giant gear, but the gear needs to be big enough that you accelerate when you hit it at the end of the downhill.

- Important, let me reiterate: stand up out of the saddle when you start to sprint, and gradually sit down as you begin to spin up into your sprint.

- Don’t forget to breathe. Seriously. Too many people hold their breath when they sprint. Don’t be one of them.

Have fun!

M

**********

Hey there…

Thanks for following my blog!

This thing started off as a lark, and over the years that I’ve been doing it, has become a little bit of a monster.

It takes a fair bit of time – and a wee bit of money – to keep this thing rolling, and as you may have noticed, I’ve recently started asking for folks to chip in a bit if they feel like what they’re getting her is worth something to them.

Honestly, it’s not like I’m trying to get rich off this here thing… or really even make any money from it at all.

It’d just make my life a fair bit easier if I didn’t lose quite as much money doing this as I currently do.

So, hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, please do me a favor – and yes, it’s a favor, and I will be truly thankful for it – and send a buck or two (or five, or whatever…) my way.

How do you do that?

Simply click on the graphic below, and PayPal will be glad to make it happen.

 

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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Wednesday, 10.29.14. “Quip in & go”

•October 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Today we’re going to talk a little bit about a topic that’s been coming up in conversations with coaching clients and in clinic sessions a fair bit lately.

Starts.

Right off the bat, I’ll get this out of the way; if your shoes & pedals aren’t working well, you aren’t going to be able to start worth a damn.

Make sure you can clip yer damn shoes into yer damn pedals, and that you can do it even when there’s a crap-load of mud stuck to your shoes.

Here’s a tip: cut the front of the lugs on the cleat area of your shoe at a 60-70 degree angle so that they form a guide path for your pedal/cleat interface.

Check out how, in the pic below, the lug shaping has made it so that even with a sole crammed full of mud, the pathway to the cleat is clear. Heck, in this case things are working so well that the mud has actually taken on the shape of the treat pattern and reinforced the pathway to the cleat…

1014475_391383584295356_1164503190_n

 

Pretty cool, eh?

Definitely worth the time and effort to do if you’re having problems, it works really darn well.

(modifications like this are best done using a Dremel Tool and a sanding drum or an Xacto saw.)

If you want/need to read a whole bunch of me babbling about the biomechanics of clipping into and out of your pedals before we continue, check out this link.

Got that all digested?

OK.

Onward!

So, about those starts…

- Above all, you need to practice them.

Every time I do my openers the day before a race, I finish the workout with a set of start efforts – from a dead stop, one foot on the ground – and I don’t end the ride until I get five in a row absolutely perfect, no bobbles.

There were times back in the day when that wound up being a long, frustrating way to end a workout, trust me!

Totally worth it, though.

Make these starts part of your routine, and not only do you get better at the skill, you gain confidence in it.

Being confident in a skill is every bit as important as having the skill.

You can’t afford to worry about being able to clip in at the start of the race, there are simply too many other things you need to be thinking about.

- Start with your pedals at 3&9 o’clock, not 12 and six.

It might take some practice if you’re used to starting with your pedals ant closer to 6 & 12, but it really is better and faster.

Every gate start event does it this way, and they do it for a reason, eh?

 Associated Press photo by Ricardo Mazalan.

See what I mean?

- Do I start with my butt on the saddle or off it?

It depends.

Both ways work, and you need to give them both a shot to figure out which is best for you.

Today in practice, alternate.

I’m a butt-on-saddle guy myself, but it took a bunch of practice to get it down and with my stubby little legs, I’m literally on the very tip of my toes with the grounded foot at the start of a race.

In retrospect, teetering on a precarious tippy-toe might not be the best idea in the chaos of a starting grid, but it’s worked pretty darn well for me over the years, so I’m committed.

If you’re not so committed, though?
Now’s the time.

Figure out what works for you, and put some time into it to be sure, because once you decide, and put the practice reps in, you ain’t likely walking that choice back.

- Starting with hands in the drops vs. hands on the hoods? Ditto all the above.

You’ve just got to try it both ways and see what works.

There aren’t many top crossers who start in the drops anymore, but not so long ago, this was a pretty common choice for the fastest guys off the line.

Try it, it might wind up working for you.

- The start of a Cross race, despite everything you may have heard, isn’t all about the first 10 meters of the race.

Let me repeat that: The start of a Cross race, despite everything you may have heard, isn’t all about the first 10 meters of the race.

Here’s how the start of a Cross goes…

The gun sounds.

Everyone clips in and immediately starts to sprint up to speed, out of the saddle.

Someone (or lots of someones…) blows their start. They get passed, quickly.

People are shifting up gears, starting to sit down in the saddle.

Someone who started way in the back blows by almost everybody on the outside.

There’s a very short pause in the acceleration, almost as if everyone takes a breath…

Bang! There’s a second acceleration, a sprint just  before or as the group leaves the starting straight.

If you want to be good at your starts, you need to master this second acceleration. You must to be able to go even harder than your first, out of the gate effort mere seconds later.

How do you develop this ability?

Yup.

Practice.

So, with all this talk of practice, on with today’s workout…

 

Mostly Getting Started – 

1 – warm up for 10 minutes.

2 – Stretch out after you’re warm.

Pay special attention to all the muscles used in those movements you make hopping on and off the bike that are different from what you usually do.

3 – Dismount/remount  skills for 5-10-15 minutes (depends how rusty you are. Do more of these, less of everything else if you need to.)

- Start at literally a walking pace, and slowly increase speed until you can mount and dismount the bike smoothly and perfectly at full speed. Do not jump on and off the bike, you are looking to smoothly slide yourself on and off.

 Need a refresher on the basics? Click here.

Do just the most  basic dismount/remount as per above until you have it wired, smooth at all speeds. When you are feeling confident, add some barriers to the session…

- Again, start at a super, super slow speed.

- Approach the barrier, dismount smooth as silk.

- Step over the barrier, paying attention to how you lift the bike, and how you place your feet.

- Remount. Again, think smoooooth….

- Start with a single barrier, move to a double, and keep going slow until you have things wired. Then, speed things up until you aren’t smooth, back it down 1 notch, and make it smooth.

(If you don’t have barriers, anything will do. Use a log, put a stick on the ground – whatever.)

 

4 – Starts.

Just like the beginning of a race. One foot on the ground, dead standstill, get-up-and-go.

Begin with a few medium effort starts, working on all the things we talked about above.

Remember…

- Start with your pedals at 3&9 o’clock, not 12 and six.

- Alternate butt-on-saddle and off

- Alternate hands in drops with hands on hoods.

When you start to get the feel for things, hit it hard a couple of times, then back off.

2 sets of all the variations above at a medium to slow pace.

Feeling solid, skills-wise?

Nice.

Get  yourself ready to go hard.

- Bang! Six full-gas starts.

- short effort, just go long enough that you are up to full speed, then back down, turn around, go again.

Spin easy for a couple of minutes, then…

- Bang! ~pause~ Bang!

- Six full-gas starts, but each start effort will look like this…

- Full effort start from a dead-stop, foot on ground.

- As soon as you get up to full speed, sit back in saddle, take one deep breath, go again, HARD!

- Ouch.

5 – Recover for a few minutes, then Finish the night with two interval efforts on relatively easy terrain.

- “Easy” as in a loop on grass with some tight-ish turns on it, or some pretty buffed double-track.

- Go hard, and work on accelerations out of the turns.

- Every time you slow down entering a turn, get on the gas on the way out of it, ass out of the saddle, working hard.

- 6 minutes full gas, rest for 2 minutes, then go again for 5.

- Start each effort with, well… with a start. Like you were working on a couple of minutes ago…

Warm down, go home, relax.

Enjoy!

 

**********

Hey there…

Thanks for following my blog!

This thing started off as a lark, and over the years that I’ve been doing it, has become a little bit of a monster.

It takes a fair bit of time – and a wee bit of money – to keep this thing rolling, and as you may have noticed, I’ve recently started asking for folks to chip in a bit if they feel like what they’re getting her is worth something to them.

Honestly, it’s not like I’m trying to get rich off this here thing… or really even make any money from it at all.

It’d just make my life a fair bit easier if I didn’t lose quite as much money doing this as I currently do.

So, hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, please do me a favor – and yes, it’s a favor, and I will be truly thankful for it – and send a buck or two (or five, or whatever…) my way.

How do you do that?

Simply click on the graphic below, and PayPal will be glad to make it happen.

 

btn_donateCC_LG

The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Tuesday, 10.28.14. “The lady ain’t wrong…”

•October 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

It’s Tuesday, and I’ve got some good news, and some bad news.

Bad news first; word is that the Deschutes Brewery Cup races in December have been eighty-sixed.

This is a pretty serious bummer, as there are now zero UCI races within driving range of anyone in the Pacific Northwest of The US.

Can we all just please admit that this system of patchwork sanctioning and a National federation that’s out of touch with the grassroots and the best interests of the sport just isn’t working?

The Feds change the rules in re: to participation in Elite Nationals to require UCI points or a National Ranking to participate, and the entire geographic area with the largest participation numbers in the entire freaking sport in the entire freaking world now has absolutely no races offering qualification points?

To put it bluntly…

Blecch.

Good news?

It’s Tuesday, and while we haven’t done them in a while, we are today.

Yup.

Time for…

Two by Twenty Tuesday!

Pretty simply, the 2×20 looks like this:

- Warm up.

- Go as hard as you can for 20 minutes.

- Recover for 5 minutes.

- Go again for another 20 minutes.

The idea here, folks, is to go as hard as you can for the duration ofboth intervals without being forced to go easier at the end of the second interval.

This is all about doing two intervals.

Two intervals at as close to the same level of output as you can possibly maintain.

If you’re doing this with a power meter, you want your wattage output to be as steady and unvaried as possible.

For both intervals.

Both.

How steady?

Can you keep it in a 10 watt range?

Probably not.

15 watts?

More likely

20 watts?

Try.

Keep it steady.

If you run out of gas before you finish the second interval, then you went too hard.

If your vision isn’t blurry at the end of the second interval, you went too easy. But guess what?
It’s way better to go too easy and finish both intervals than it is to go too hard and crater part way through the second 20.

These take practice to do well, and the better you get at doing them the harder they get, as you figure out how to push yourself into a deeper and deeper hole.

This is a workout that’s a natural for the turbo trainer, and that’s how I do ‘em, because I always wind up flat on my back on the floor trying not to puke after the 2nd interval.

That’s not an exaggeration.

You should aspire to seeing-spots level of output on these.

But that might take a while

Get a handle on cranking through both intervals rather than just one, first.

 Eventually, when you learn to push through your limits – really push – you will get better and you will get better fast.

It’s gonna’ hurt, though.

The good kind of hurt.

Have fun!

M

 

 

**********

Hey there…

Thanks for following my blog!

This thing started off as a lark, and over the years that I’ve been doing it, has become a little bit of a monster.

It takes a fair bit of time – and a wee bit of money – to keep this thing rolling, and as you may have noticed, I’ve recently started asking for folks to chip in a bit if they feel like what they’re getting her is worth something to them.

Honestly, it’s not like I’m trying to get rich off this here thing… or really even make any money from it at all.

It’d just make my life a fair bit easier if I didn’t lose quite as much money doing this as I currently do.

So, hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, please do me a favor – and yes, it’s a favor, and I will be truly thankful for it – and send a buck or two (or five, or whatever…) my way.

How do you do that?

Simply click on the graphic below, and PayPal will be glad to make it happen.

 

btn_donateCC_LG

The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Monday, 10.27.14. “Ice Packing so you don’t have to”

•October 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Well, it’s Monday! You made it through another weekend of racing, and hopefully did so in better condition than your’s truly.

Washing your front wheel out right as you step over the saddle for a full-speed flat barrier section?

Not recommended. Tends to leave a mark.

Remember, I do these thing so you don’t have to.

While I’m sitting on an ice pack today, I’ll be watching…

…to get myself stoked for next weekend’s version of the race, and – as usual – to see what pearls of wisdom I can derive from watching the best in the business go at it hammer & tongs.

This was a fantastic edition of the Classic Koppenbergcross, and with the action going right down to the wire, it’ll keep you on the edge of your seat right to the finish.

Pay a little bit of extra attention to the different techniques the riders utilize to negotiate the always hazardous descent off the Berg. It’s pretty unlikely you’ll be fighting your way down anything quite that massive in your weekend race, but there’s one hell of a lot to be learned from analyzing the choices they make – and if you’re doing the Jingle Cross Rock weekend?
Might just need to have some of those tricks in your quiver to make it down Mt. Krumpet if it’s wet!

Anyways, enjoy the vid, perhaps while you spin your legs out on the trainer doing today’s…

Recovery Spin -

- Get on your bike. Roll out into the street, and just spin around for an hour.

- Really small gear, no hard efforts – heck, no medium effort.

- Spin. You’re looking to move your legs around in circles, almost like there is no chain on the bike.

- The idea is to get your body moving, flush the systems out, and speed your recovery.

- Just get out on the road and spin aimlessly. At a certain point, your legs suddenly feel better.

- As soon as that happens, turn around, go home, eat, stretch, and put your legs up.

If you can finagle it, today would be a great day to get a massage, see your physio/chiro/acupuncturist. Get some bodywork, whichever flavor works for you.

Enjoy,

M

**********

Hey there…

Thanks for following my blog!

This thing started off as a lark, and over the years that I’ve been doing it, has become a little bit of a monster.

It takes a fair bit of time – and a wee bit of money – to keep this thing rolling, and as you may have noticed, I’ve recently started asking for folks to chip in a bit if they feel like what they’re getting her is worth something to them.

Honestly, it’s not like I’m trying to get rich off this here thing… or really even make any money from it at all.

It’d just make my life a fair bit easier if I didn’t lose quite as much money doing this as I currently do.

So, hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, please do me a favor – and yes, it’s a favor, and I will be truly thankful for it – and send a buck or two (or five, or whatever…) my way.

How do you do that?

Simply click on the graphic below, and PayPal will be glad to make it happen.

 

btn_donateCC_LG

Sorry folks…

•October 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Sorry folks,

Pretty epic wind storm in Seattle today means no electricity in the house, means no posting on the blog.

Should be all systems go soon, so fully expect to return for Monday’s workout.

Have a great day!

 

M

The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Saturday, 10.25.14. “G’bye, Jack”

•October 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Sad day for the music world….

RIP, Jack. You were one of the greats.

I’ll be playing Cream tunes loudly on my Ipod today when I get my legs open for tomorrow’s race by doing today’s workout,

 

Ignition -

You’re going to do a series of short, hard sprints midway through a 1 1/2 hour ride, so before you head out on your ride, give some thought to where you can do these effectively.

A flat, straight, low-traffic section of road is what you’re looking for.

Even better if it’s about a :45 minute ride away; that will make things nice and simple.

Hop on your bike and roll out the door.

Ride steady, at a moderate pace for  1/2 hour – 45 minutes, eventually winding up at the aforementioned stretch of road.

You’re now going to do a series of Hard out of the saddle sprints.

How hard?

Well, hard to say. You’ll start to get the hang of it pretty quickly, but figure that you’re shooting for an output level that will allow you to crank out all the sprints in the set at about the same level, but not easily.

You aren’t sprinting to failure here, and you aren’t doing a max power test.

Don’t overdo it,  you’re trying to open your legs, not destroy them.

Make sense?

10 sprints, 10 seconds each.

1 minute between each sprint.

After the last sprint, roll back home spinning easily to recover.

Budget at least 15 – 20 minutes for the spin/ride back home.

when you get home, relax and get ready for the next day’s race.

What’s that you say?

You feel like you need a little bit more work than this to fully open your legs the day before a race?

Add in a single ten-minute effort at your 2×20 level of output just before your sprint efforts.

Warm up, do the 10 minute effort, recover for a minute or two, jump right into the 10-second intervals.

Just that simple.

Have fun!

M

 

**********

Hey there…

Thanks for following my blog!

This thing started off as a lark, and over the years that I’ve been doing it, has become a little bit of a monster.

It takes a fair bit of time – and a wee bit of money – to keep this thing rolling, and as you may have noticed, I’ve recently started asking for folks to chip in a bit if they feel like what they’re getting her is worth something to them.

Honestly, it’s not like I’m trying to get rich off this here thing… or really even make any money from it at all.

It’d just make my life a fair bit easier if I didn’t lose quite as much money doing this as I currently do.

So, hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, please do me a favor – and yes, it’s a favor, and I will be truly thankful for it – and send a buck or two (or five, or whatever…) my way.

How do you do that?

Simply click on the graphic below, and PayPal will be glad to make it happen.

 

btn_donateCC_LG

 
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