We’re baaaaack!

•June 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Well… it’s that time of year already.


Seems like people start talking and thinking and writing and plotting and planning about cyclocross earlier every year, and based on what I’ve been seeing out there on the interwebs, this year “earlier” means, well… now.

That’s not such a bad thing.

If you’re in the “Cross is what I really care about” camp, and the other disciplines – road, track, mtb – are something that you do largely to stay in shape and fill the time until the fall finally rolls around, you probably should be training pretty hard right about, well… now.

High Level Aerobic Base

One of the single best things about racing cyclocross is that cross riders get to lay down their fitness foundation in the best time of the year to be out on the bike, the summer.  While all the hard-core roadies are out slaving away on training rides in the depths of winter, us cross folk get to go long now, the time of year when even non-cyclists can see the logic in throwing their leg over a bicycle.

Yay, us!

So, take advantage of the weather. Get out there and ride your ass off this month.

What should you be doing?
In short, think long.

Ride a lot.

I mean, it’s nice out, right? It’s fun to ride for 4, 5, even 6 hours when it’s not too hot and not raining.

Long doesn’t mean slow.

Traditionally, this is time of the season when the big-time Euro-cross racers are out on the road clogging up the gruppetto in week long stage races. They aren’t in these races to win them, they’re in them to get pushed to greater levels of fitness by stringing long days of hard effort together, in a way that’s always been tough to do riding just by yourself.

“Tough” doesn’t mean impossible.

I mean,  sure…  you aren’t going to go out and get a Tour de Luxembourg level of training out of your hard weekend of riding, but if you follow the principles that underlie the intent of these week-long training races, you can probably do better than you’re doing now, and set yourself up for success in the fall.

So, what is that intent?

Let’s start with this; It’s  incredibly difficult to make profound physiological improvements in your underlying, base-level fitness during cross season.

Can you  and should you  get faster during the course of a season?

Absolutely.  But…

You race hard every weekend. If you’re doing it right, you’re spending most of the following week recovering from the weekend past & getting opened up for the weekend next.

You can do some small work mid-week to improve deficiencies or hone strengths, but you really can’t do the kind of work that it takes to  bump your FTP  enough to get to the front of the group you raced in last season, to be competitive at the next category level , or to win one of those races you’ve been sooo close in for sooo long.

The kind of work we’re talking about is the sort that if you did it on a Wednesday, you’d be way off the back come the weekend, and that’s assuming you could take a day off to do it mid-week and still be free to race on the weekend.

Sound likely? I didn’t think so.

Now, though? No such problems.

Want to be stronger this cross season? Spend your weekends for the next month or so doing long, hard, fast training rides.

This isn’t long, slow distance eating we’re talking about, this is “Oh crap, how the hell am I going to finish this ride” kinda stuff. These are the rides where you barely manage to drag your ass in the door of your house when you get home. The rides where, when you get home you need to drink a coke to summon the energy needed to order takeout.
4, 5, 6 hours of glorious suffering. That’s what we’re talking about.

Try one this Saturday. Then wake up Sunday, do it again. Give me a few weeks of this, and you’ll be really, really strong.

Then we can start to work on making you fast…


Hey! Check it out! I’m now working for…


Looking for a cycling coach? Click the banner, check out the site, and drop me a line at mhill@source-e.net

The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Tuesday, 1.5.15. “Week-ness”

•January 5, 2015 • Leave a Comment


Howdy folks,

Well, here it is… National’s week.

Hopefully you aren’t stuck in bed sick as a dog, as it seems so many are. Blecch.

What you do for workouts this week is pretty darn dependent on when you’re racing, so hey… how about some options?

(Fair warning… I give myself license to contradict the following schedule with newer postings later on in the week.)

To be fair, I probably should have posted this up in the middle of last week, but hey; last week I was the one in the hospital, so I plead extenuating circumstances!

Here we go…

  One Week Before Race – 

Warmup Race, Race simulation outdoors, or The Doppelganger.

6 days before race:

Recovery spin

5 days before race:

Downhill Sprints,  Form Sprintsor 1-2 Hour Moderate Ride

4 days before race:

Slow Roast, or 1/2 a Classic 2×20 or more sprinting.

3 Days before race:

Spin-Ups   or   Form Sprints

2 Days before race:

1-2 Hour Moderate Ride and/or Course Preview or take the day off.

Day before Race:

Can Openers  or Ignition and  Course Preview

Day of Race:

Race. Yer. Ass. Off.

Good luck this week folks, and more postings to come. I’m headed down to Austin on Wednesday, hope to see you there!




The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Sunday, 1.4.14. “Hey Dummy”

•January 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Well, up late again. Sorry about that. Ugh.

Honestly, given that it’s after 11:00 West Coast time, I’m going to assume that most of you have already done your workout for today, and talk briefly about something else.

About being smart.

Hey, it’s less than a week to go before Nationals, and in much of the country the weather is absolutely atrocious. And we’re in the middle of a flu epidemic.

And I keep reading about people doing stupid s**t like going for long rides in freezing rain and – surprise! – winding up sick.

So, hey… dummy?

Don’t do that.


You’re almost there.

You can survive a couple/few days of short workouts on the trainer.

Really, you can.

Maybe queue this up on the computer while you do so…

And hey… if you still haven’t done your workout today?

Try this (on the trainer, of course…)

The MB15 – 

Warm up well. (Seriously. Warm up for this one, it’ll help.)

The basic idea here is to do a series of very short efforts with very little rest between them, for a pretty long period of time.

Sound confusing?

Here’s how it breaks down…

Warm up.

Get set…


15 seconds on

15 seconds off

15 seconds on

15 seconds off

…and so on and so on for the duration of the interval.

How long are you going to do this for?

 – Ten minutes would be great.

Three -four sets, 5 minutes between sets.

How hard do you go during the “on” segments?

– Pretty darn hard.

You’re familiar with the level of effort you put out in your 2×20’s by now, right?

You need to go harder than that.

A fair bit harder would be good.

Ideally, you’ll hit these on periods at right about 150% of your FTP, if that’s a number that means anything to you. If it doesn’t, it’s harder than what you’re dong your 2×20 effort at. A fair bit harder.

Like I said, “ouch.”

How easy do you go during the “off” segments?

– A lot easier, but you aren’t quite soft pedaling.

Right about 50% of your FTP, or half as hard as your 2×20 level.

Again, ouch.

Want to know the real “Ouch”?

Ultimately, you want to be able to do 6 sets of these, or 3 sets twenty minutes each, or however many it takes to equal the duration of your races.

Seriously, Ouch.

Do what you can.

Have fun,



The belated Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Saturday, 1.3.14. “Race-like”

•January 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Well, crap. Internet went down this morning, so this is going up late. Sorry about that.

In the interest of getting something up as quickly as possible, here’s the plan for today:

Do something race-like.

Kind of.

Short, but race like.

If your race day at Nationals is 60 minutes, today you should endeavor to do a race-like effort (on the cross bike, on cross-race like terrain… you know, race-like) of approximately half that duration, at equal to or greater output.

So, half as long as a race, but as hard or harder than what you would do in an actual race.

Go really damn hard for half as long.

Pretty simple, eh?

Go to it.


(of course, if you’ve actually got racing in your area – like you live in Dallas – you should go do that.)


Have fun!


The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Friday, 1.2.15. “Acme Brand”

•January 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

As promised yesterday, today we’re doing a little bit of speed work.

Heck, we’re pretty much doing nothing but speed work this last week as we taper in to nationals.

There will be a couple/few variations on this theme over the last few remaining days of the season, but for right now we’re going to focus on leg speed –  not bike speed – and do some…


Spin Ups –

– Get on your bike and warm up with a leisurely spin, 10-20 minutes minimum.

– After you’re warm, find a nice, long, flat or slightly downhill section of road with little to no traffic.

– Begin interval by rolling into it at a moderate speed, in a gear that’s smaller than you would typically use to sprint.

– Get out of the saddle and sprint.

– Spin the gear up out of the saddle. When your leg speed gets to the point where it’s hard to maintain, sit down and keep going until you are totally spun-out. We’re talking  fast, can’t turn ‘em over any faster…

Think Road-Runner fast…

 The goal here isn’t to make the bike go fast, it’s to make your legs go fast.

There’s a difference, eh?

You should do these in a small enough gear that you want to shift up.


– Repeat 3-5 times, a minute or so recovery between reps.

That’s a set.

Recover for 5 minutes, rolling around at a leisurely pace between sets.

– Go again, same thing.

Recover, then repeat as time and fitness allow.

Shoot for 3-5 sets of  3-5, or keep going until your leg speed drops off.

When you’ve completed all your reps, roll on home at a leisurely, relaxed pace. Ideally, take 1/2 hour or so to do this.

Have fun!


The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for New Year’s Day, 2015 “Insert Cliche Video Here”

•January 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Wow… It’s January first.

To be brutally frank, I’m pretty damn glad to see 2014 in the rear view mirror. Here’s hoping that ’15 is an improvement.

If you’re in the Seattle area, today is the Jerry Baker New Years ride. It leaves from Enatai Beach Park at noon. I’ll be there if my antibiotic-induced GI issues permit.

Yeah… sorry. Oversharing there, eh?

Anyways… a big group ride is a pretty darn goof thing to do today.

Don’t kill it at the front of the group, just get some solid steady miles in, and have some fun.

It’s a holiday.

We’ll be doing some speed work tomorrow, so just enjoy yourself and roll off the hangover today.

Happy New Years!



The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Wednesday, 12.31.14. “Nutmeg”

•December 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Well, it’s New Years Eve Day. People’s desire/capacity to get work done on the bike is all over the place today… some have the day off work, some have a half-day, some are stuck in service industry gigs catering to the drunks… like I said, all over the place.

So, let’s do some running today.

How about we…

Get High…


(Knees, that is) –

Find a set of stairs to do today’s workout on. You’re going to be doing a set of short intervals, so you don’t need stadium stairs or anything like that. Somewhere in the neighborhood of one single flight of standard office building stairs is perfect.

– get on your bike and warm up for 15 minutes or so.

(we’re going to warm up for any running efforts we do, all season, with some time on the bike.)

– Mosey on over to your stairs/knoll/whatever, and get set. Stretch, have a sip of water, turn up the volume on your Ipod.

– Jog up the stairs. Walk down.

– Repeat x3

– Sprint! up stairs, fast, using whatever stride is most comfortable. Walk down.

– Repeat x3

Rest for 1 minute, walking slowly up and down stairs.

– Sprint up stairs, this time using quick, tiny strides, 1 stair step at a time. Jog down.

– Repeat x3

Rest again, same as before.

– Sprint up stairs, this time using long strides, several stair steps at a time. Walk down.

– Repeat x 3

Rest again.

– Sprint up stairs, combining the previous two exercises; long step, followed by 2 short steps. Do 1x.

Walk down.

– Run up stairs, high knees, exaggeratedly so…

Repeat x3

Rest again, 2-5 minutes.

Sprint up stairs, free form, just go as fast as you can. Go until spent.

– Repeat entire damn thing if you’re a freaking animal.

Get back on bike, spin out your legs, go home.

Notes –

– If you can, go really damn hard. If you do this right, it’s a brutal workout.

– If you haven’t been doing much running this season, be careful. Don’t overdo this, and don’t risk screwing everything up for the rest of the season by blowing up a knee or something. Better yet, try this.

Have fun!



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 70 other followers