The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Tuesday, 8.30.16. “your nemesis…”

•August 30, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

It’s Tuesday, and you know what we haven’t done in a while?

Yup. It’s back. It’s…





The Classic 2×20 – 

So, hey… what the heck is this 2×20 thing?

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.

– Spin out your legs

– Take a nap


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

First of all, warm up.

No, seriously. Don’t just hop on the bike and blast one out.

Warming up makes a difference, especially if you’re doing this as a test session.

You don’t need to do anything super hard or super involved, just make sure the legs are up and running before you kick off the workout proper.

Spin for a bit, blast a couple of 30 second to 2 minute efforts off pretty hard, spin a bit more, then go for it.

When you do go for it, really go for it.

But in a controlled sort of way.

The idea here is to go as hard as you can for the duration of bothintervals without being forced to go easier at the end of the second interval.  If you run out of gas before you finish the second interval, you went to hard. If your vision isn’t blurry at the end of the second 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. How constant?

Can you keep it in a 10 watt range?

Probably not.

15 watts?

More likely

20 watts?


Keep it steady.

These take practice to do well, and the better you get, the harder they get (you’re welcome.) This is a workout that’s a natural for the turbo trainer, and that’s how I do ‘em.

This is a good thing, because I always wind up flat on my back on the floor trying not to puke after the 2nd interval.

I’m really not kidding about the blurry vision thing. You should aspire to seeing-spots level of output on these.

 If you can learn to push through your limits, really push, you will get better and you will get better fast.

Remember, you might hate doing these… but it’s a good hate!


Have fun!



Tomorrow night, come on out and work on your CX skills at the…





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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Monday, 8.29.16. “Spinning, of course”

•August 29, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Monday again! Hopefully you had a great weekend and got in some solid work, leaving you ready for today’s…


Recovery Spin – 

– Get on your bike. Roll out into the street – or into your living room if you’re on the turbo watching the vid – and just spin around for an hour. Or more. Or less. Whatever it takes.

– 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 easily and aimlessly. At a certain point, your legs will start to loosen up.

– When that happens, turn around and go home.

–  If you’re doing these on the trainer, same deal. Just spin. No hard efforts, just make the legs go around in circles in a small gear.

– Follow up with as much relaxation as you can. Eat, stretch, and put your legs up. Get a massage if possible.

For a little bit of motivation today, check out this cool vid sent in by CXWOTD follower Bart De Wever.

No surprise to anyone, they’ve got some sweet CX terrain over in his homeland of Belgium!





The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Sunday, 8.28.16. “Wout do you think?”

•August 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Remember yesterday, when I said I thought it was still a wee bit too early to be out racing cyclocross?

Look what reigning cyclocross World Champion Wout Van Aert was doing this weekend…



(Photo c/o cyclingnews. Click on it for the full report)


He was out winning an almost five hour road race.

Sometimes, the best can get away with doing all kinds of silly stuff in their training because they’re just that damn good, and they can get away with it.

Other times, though? Other times they’re doing what they’re doing because it’s smart.

Road racing is damn good for your cross racing.

If you’ve got some available over the next week or two, you might should be taking advantage of it.

If you don’t?

Maybe have a go at something like…


Jacky Day.

This is a good general climbing and endurance workout that will stretch you a fair bit longer than anything you’re ever going to see out on the cross courses.

Heck, this is about as hard and sustained as you’ll ever see in a road race.

In fact, what we’re trying to do is, essentially, simulate a day off the front of a road race.


Select a route that will enable you to hit at least 3 climbs of  5-10 minutes or so each, with flat to rolling terrain in between. If your local climbs aren’t that long, try and do more shorter ones. If hills are longer… well, cool. Just don’t turn this into an all-out climbing day, ok?

Warm up well, at least 20-30 minutes before you hit the first climb.

Climbs should be hard but steady.

Start medium hard (not full gas!) and try and hold it the whole climb.

Drive it over the top, and roll down the descent. Visualize a prime at the bottom of each descent, and a chase pack nipping at your heels. Don’t sit up at the top of the climbs,stay on the gas all the way down and through.

In between climbs, keep it steady.

You want to stay on top of a pretty big gear, at a level that is below threshold, but not that far below.

If you’re a power meter type, with an ftp of 265, you would want to try and average about 200 watts between the climbs and 300 on the climbs.

Not a PM type? Try and go about 90% on the climbs, and just over 50% between the climbs.

Remember, 3 climbs of 10 minutes, or the equivalent. With a warm up of 15-20 minutes, and a cool down of about the same, this would be just about perfect for a 2.5 hour ride.

Got more time? Rest after the 3rd climbing effort, repeat the cycle.

It’s better to keep the intensity up than to go longer. Remember, we aren’t resting between climbs, we’re dieseling along in a big gear.

Visualize yourself driving an all-day breakaway, and you get the idea…

Have fun, and think to yourself, as you’re rolling along…

“What would Jacky do?”



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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Saturday, 8.27.16. “Sventurday”

•August 27, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Happy Saturday to you!

If you’re in the Seattle area, there’s a decent chance that you’re racing today at the…




Ok. I’ll admit it. I think it’s way to damn early in the season to be racing CX, but If you’re going to do it, this is as good an excuse as you’re going to get.

I won’t be racing, but I’ll be out watching (at some point during the proceedings!) Hope to see you there.

So, if you’re racing today, have fun. Race hard. Ish.


Do yourself a favor and don’t get too wrapped up in the results at an early (pre?) season event.

It’s a practice race.

That doesn’t mean you aren’t trying to do as well as you can. Any race you’re in is a race you should be trying to win, if you have a chance.

It does mean that in your mind, you’re drawing a distinction between the importance of an event one does for the experience of doing it, and an event one does with the hope and expectation of a result.

Might not sound like much, but it’s important.

Something to think about, at least.


What’s that you say?

No racing today?

Okey doke, onward!

As promised, we’re going to begin to shift our weekend focus towards more CX specificity, and today that means we’re doing…


Sventervals – 

Sometimes a picture (or a video) is worth a thousand words.

Just like in the video.

Really darn short – 10 seconds max – full gas hill sprints, ideally on pretty technical terrain.

5 sets of 5 for today (you’ll build up to more) and notice how hard Sven is breathing after these?

That’s the idea.

Hit it hard. Really hard. These are super short, and super intense, but even though you’re giving them everything you’ve got, the idea is to do them on terrain that self-limits what you can do.

Can’t get up the hill anymore?

You’re done.

Have fun,



What’s that you say? You’d kinda’ like to have a cycling coach help figure this stuff out for you? Check out…



The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Friday, 8.26.16. “Figure on Openers”

•August 26, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Holy cow! There’s a cyclocross race in the Seattle area tomorrow!

Yup. You heard me right, tomorrow is the Washington Women of CX event at St. Edward Park.





Yup. There’s a men’s race, too.

I’ll admit it… I won’t be racing tomorrow. Just too damn early in the “season” for me, but I’ll be heading out there to support the event. If you see me out there, say “hi.”

If you’re going to race tomorrow, that means that today you’re doing…


Can Openers – 


Here’s the drill:

– Warm up for 1/2 hour or so, spinning easy with a couple of short bursts thrown in.

– Follow with several short attacking efforts, IE 30 seconds at 80% of your max, or pretty damn hard. 2 – 3 of ’em.

– Back off and spin for 5 minutes.

– Follow with 10-15 minute effort at right about your 2×20 output level, or “I could talk to you if I had to, but I don’t want to” level.

– Spin for several minutes.

– Follow with 5-6 hard 10 second efforts, ideally on CX type variable terrain, level or slightly uphill.

 – Finish  with 5-6 start efforts on a straight section of paved road, level or slightly uphill.  You want to begin these from a dead stop, with one foot unclipped. Do not stop until you get at least        3 perfect starts in a row, and I mean perfect. This is the cross equivalent of practicing free throws. Make ‘em count!

 – spin out the legs, go home, and get ready for the race.

Not racing tomorrow?

Well, if you’re planning on riding pretty hard tomorrow, that same openers workout isn’t a bad idea for you, either.

Like just about everything, it takes practice to get your day-before-racing openers routine dialed in. It’s a good idea to do that dialing before the season starts so that you’re not experimenting when it counts.

Stuff like “how long does it take me to get this routine cranked out” and “where the hell do I do this, and do I have to drive somewhere to get it done, and how long is that going to take” are things you want to have well sorted, well in advance. And that’s kinda’ the least of it.

How much volume/intensity do you need to put in the day before a race to be ready to race?

How much volume/intensity is too damn much, and will result in your leaving your legs out on the road the day before the race?

I dunno.

Do you?

If you don’t, maybe it’s a good time to figure that out.

Hit those Can Openers hard today, then see how you feel in your workout tomorrow.

Next week, do the openers session a wee bit differently.

See how you feel.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Take notes.


Figure this stuff out.

You’ll be glad you did!


Have fun!



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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Thursday, 8.25.16. “Deja Vu All Over Again”

•August 24, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Thanks to everyone who came on out to the first night of the Wednesday Night Cyclocross Workouts out at lovely North SeaTac Park. Much fun was had, and much progress was made. Even better, next week we get to do it all over again! Hope to see you out there!

For today’s workout, we’re going to continue with our theme of having another go at the same workout we did this day last week. We talked about this a bit on Tuesday when we were doing some hard interval work on the bike. It’s like Deja Vu, all over again…



Today isn’t any easier, but it’s not on the bike. It’s…


Stairing – 


spiral stairs

spiral stairs

– First, figure out where you can do the workout.

We’re going to be running stairs today, so you need some stairs, or a small hill, or a grassy knoll – something you can run up. Stairs are best, but whatever you can come up with will work.

You don’t need NFL stadium stairs or anything crazy like that for this workout. Look for something that’s long enough to give you 10 seconds of running at a full sprint; That’ll be plenty long enough. We’re doing speed work, here. Short, sharp efforts.

On with the workout.

– 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.

Get a sense for the spacing and “feel” of the stairs. You’re going to be flying up these things in a full-on lactic acid bath shortly, so you want to get comfortable with the terrain.

– Repeat x5

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

– Repeat x5

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

– Sprint up stairs, this time using quick, tiny strides, 1 stairstep at a time. Walk down.

– Repeat x5

Rest again, same as before.

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

– Repeat x 5

Rest again.

– Sprint up stairs, combining the previous two exercises – 1st time up, long strides; next time up, short strides, etc. Walk down.

Rest again, 2-5 minutes.

– Repeat entire damn thing until you just can’t do it anymore, or you are going so slowly it’s ridiculous.

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.

Don’t go that hard if you haven’t got the legs for that yet. Keep it under control. You want to build up to the point where you are going up the stairs in a dead sprint, and are completely gassed at the end of each set. That’s going to take a few sessions to build up to, though. Don’t kill yourself the first time out.

If anything starts to hurt, or feel strained, pulled, or otherwise bad – as in “something just ain’t right, bad” – stop. Just stop. Do Not Injure Yourself Running G-damn stairs in the pre-season, OK?

Have fun!




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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Wednesday, 8.24.16. “Feels like the first time”

•August 24, 2016 • 1 Comment

Howdy folks,

Hey It’s Wednesday! If you’re in the Seattle/Tacoma area, that means you should think about heading out to…


Cyclocross Practices at SeaTac start up tonight! Click on the logo for info!

I have to admit, I really dig the start of the practice sessions every year. It always…




I’ll be out coaching/leading the skills clinic, hope to see you there!

If you can’t make it out tonight (maybe you live in Belgium? Hey… hat tip to the Belgian folk who have been frequenting the blog as of late! Nice to see that we’re being read in the motherland of cyclocross🙂 ) Skills work is still on the agenda for you.

Skills work that goes a little bit like this…

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 (We’ve talked about stretching on here in the past, check out the search function if you want/need some more info.)

3 – Dismount/remount  skills for 5-10-15 minutes

– 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? Check out this old post…

Do just the most  basic dismount/remount as per above until you have it down cold, smooth as silk.

When you’re perfect (hah!) throw some barriers into the mix.

4 – Figure eight drill.

Set up 2 cones or 2 rocks or two… somethings. Doesn’t much matter what it is.

Ride in a figure eight pattern around the cones…

– first pedaling the entire time.

No coasting.

Pedal all the way around the figure 8, including the turns.

Practice using the brakes while still pedaling. This is one of those secret techniques that – once you figure it out – makes a huge difference. When you stop pedaling you lose traction, so don’t stop pedaling!

Experiment with this, it’s a game-changer.

Mind blown?


– Same drill, not pedaling through the turns.

– Same drill, alternate styles.

5 – Now move the figure 8 to the side of a slight hill.

One cone up hill, one down, about 5-8 meters apart and staggered, IE: not directly below each other on the slope.

 – Same drill(s) as before. Go.


Next, pilot around those corners – uphill and downhill – with the inside foot out.

Having trouble making the turn at the top of the figure 8? Put your foot down and push off with it to make the turn.

Don’t be afraid to use the foot that’s unclipped to push off or “paddle” around a turn, or to keep yourself driving forward on an off-camber section.

This can be another game changer, so work on it, eh?

 – Alternate both of these styles around the figure-eight.


Try different speeds, different lines, different angles.

See when/how/why each style works, and figure out how they can work for you.

6 – Recover for a few minutes, then Finish the night with two interval efforts on relatively easy terrain, but make sure to include the figure – 8 in it.

– “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, and your exits from turns & technical features.

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.

– 6-8 minutes full gas, rest for 2 minutes, then go again.

Spin down for a few minutes, then head home and finish up your day.

Have fun!



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