The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Friday, 7.22.16. “Pique”

•July 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Well, It’s Friday already. How the heck did that happen?
I’ll admit it. I’m kind of at a loss as to what to give you for a workout today.

Because I just don’t know what the heck ya’all are going to be doing this weekend.

If you’re racing this weekend, well… you need to either take it easy today – if you’re racing on Sunday – or do some openers  – if you’re racing tomorrow.

If you’re not racing this weekend?

Well, again… depends what you’re doing instead of racing.

If you’re going to take advantage of the summer weather and get some long miles in like we talked about last week, well… you should probably take it pretty easy today, too.

Maybe even take the day off, so that you’re well-rested and ready to go long tomorrow.

Me, personally?

I’m moving, and this weekend is going to be devoted to schlepping a room full of guitar making tools and fixtures across town in a minivan.


Not much space for riding in those plans.

So I’m going to cram in a pretty hard workout today, and then pretend that schlepping boxes out of the house is a good recovery regimen.

Probably not what I’d recommend for someone I was coaching, but life – and training – is rarely perfect, so you do what you can, when you can.

Sometime you just say “the hell with it” and go for a ride…



Whatever you do might not be the ideal workout, but it’s better than sitting inside and dwelling on politics.



So, if nothing else is quite piquing your interest, go for a…

One to Two Hour Moderate Ride –

Get on your bike.

Go ride for an hour or two.

No hard efforts, but do throw in a couple of moderate ones. By moderate, I mean just that. You can sprint for the town line, but you should be laughing while you do it.

You’re not doing a recovery spin, so you need to put a little bit of gas into the pedals… just don’t go out and kill yourself.

Check out the view, smell the flowers, just do it while you’re putting a little bit of effort into the pedals.

1 notch above a recovery ride.

Pretty simple. Just ride and enjoy.

Have fun!



Hey folks! Go Check out…


Coaching, FTW.

The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Thursday, 7.21.16. “How about you repeat some of these”

•July 20, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Hope you enjoyed the running yesterday! It can definitely be a rude awakening to be hoofing it for the first – or first couple – of times after almost a year away from it.

If you’re feeling it in the legs today, maybe just go for an easy spin.

On the other hand, if you’re feeling spry, how about some more super fun stuff for ‘ya.


How about some…

Short Hill Repeats…

You want to do these on a climb that is big – ringable for you, but just at the edge of being a small ring climb.

Each effort should take 5 -10 seconds, which tells you how long the climb needs to be, eh?

Warm up for approx. 1/2 hour, then roll on up to the base of the climb you have selected.

Begin your intervals with an out of the saddle, all – out ATTACK  into the climb.

You’re looking to blast up the climb for 5-10 seconds, on top of the effort the whole way.

It’s perfectly OK to sit down 1/2 -3/4 of way through the effort, but don’t take your foot off the gas.

Try to maintain your intensity for the duration of interval.

You’re going to recover for 30 seconds between each rep, and then 2-5 minutes between sets.

5 reps. per set.

Minimum of 5 sets.

If you can do more than that, great… but make sure you’re maintaining the intensity.

If you have a power meter, you’re done when the wattage you can maintain throughout the set drops off the edge of the table.

That’ll be pretty obvious when it happens, trust me.

Spin out & warm down after.


Warm down.

You saw the Team SKY guys riding the trainer after the ridiculous mountain stages at Le Tour?


If those guys make a point of climbing on a stationary bike after riding up Alpe deHuez twice, you can do it after some little ‘ol hill repeats, right?

No excuses.

Take the hint.

Warming down is worthwhile.

After you’ve warmed down, head on home and enjoy the rest of your day.



The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Wednesday, 7.20.16. “A Wee Bit”

•July 20, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

I hope you “enjoyed” your Tuesday. If it’s been a while since you did a workout like that, you might just want to take it easy today, and go for a nice, relaxing Recovery Ride.

If you’re feeling sprightly, how about…


A wee bit of running

I repeat, a wee bit.

Unless you’ve been running a lot already this season, don’t head out the door today and lay down a blazing fast 5k.

That would be a really bad idea.

I can’t tell you how many times over the years I started out my cyclocross training with a way too fast, way too long run that completely toasted my legs and made me super damn sore… and accomplished precious little else.

Sore legs alone aren’t a sign that you’re training well.

Doing a workout that hurts you and makes it impossible to train effectively for a few days isn’t very useful.

So don’t do that to yourself, OK?

I’ve seen a lot of athletes put themselves on the couch for a whole week – even weeks – by  blowing up various body parts in a misguided attempt to channel a year’s worth of not-running anxiety into one single workout.

Don’t be that guy/gal.

Take. It. Slow.

slow warning sign isolated


Some words about running for cross, generally:

With certain regional exceptions, the way folks are designing cross races these days you might not need to train your running at all to be really, really damn fast, even at the top level of the sport.

For the most part, It’s just not that important anymore.

If you’re in really  good bike form, you can fake your way through the miniscule amount of off-the-bike awkwardness that is required on most of today’s courses.

In fact, for most folks, I don’t recommend doing any run-specific training during the season.

None. Zip. Nada.

99% of what goes on in a Cyclocross race has nothing to do with running at all, so why would you waste precious training time on that remaining 1%?

You shouldn’t, with one important caveat: if you run so damn poorly that you throw  your entire darn race away the second your feet hit the ground, you need to work on that.

Let’s expand on that a bit.

If you roll into the cross season without having done any running at all, there’s a pretty good chance that the first time you need to hoof it in a race, things aren’t going to go so well.

So, before you need to run in a race, you should probably have run at least a little bit in practice.

What this means is that while I’m not all that big on run training in-season, I’m definitely a fan of running in the pre-season.

You don’t need to become an awesome runner, but if you can get just enough running miles in your legs that you don’t suffer a giant shock to the system when you launch off the bike in those early races, you may have purchased yourself a nice little advantage.

I’m always down with things that give us a nice little advantage.

So, we’re going to do some running the next couple/few weeks.

A little bit of running.

How little?

Well, for right now, you need to stop running before your legs get sore.

If you haven’t done any running since last Cross season, that’s going to be an absurdly short amount of time.

Seriously absurd.

We’re talking 10, maybe even five minutes.


A five minute run. A ten minute run. You stop before you hurt yourself, and if you start to feel sore knees/legs/whatever, you’re starting to hurt yourself.

When that happens, you stop running, and you walk home. Ideally you stop before that happens.

That’s it.

Put your running shoes on, walk out the door, and go for a run, stopping before you get sore.

Don’t run hard, don’t run fast, just run.

And stop when it’s smart to do so.

Which is probably going to be way before you think it should be.

Keep it under control. Keep it ridiculously short. We’re going to build up the running time slowly, and while we’ll do some running that feels more like an actual workout soon, for now the sole idea is to get something that’s a little bit like running into your legs without messing yourself up.

Goals for today, in order of importance:

 #1: Don’t hurt yourself.

 #2: Get a little bit of running-like activity into your legs.

Make sense?

Have fun!


Some notes:

– if you don’t have good running shoes, and if you’re going to train your running, go get some. Buy them at a specialty running store that will spend time with you to make sure you get the right ones for your feet and for your (probably terrible) running mechanics. Don’t listen to your CultFit friends who tell you to get some kind of barefoot footglove monstrosity to run in. Go to a good running store, tell them exactly what you’re doing, and take their advice on what to buy. It’ll be worth it.

– Try to run on grass or on trails if you can, while you can. Cross races generally don’t have you running on pavement, and there isn’t much reason to train on a surface that’s just going to increase the pounding on your body if you don’t need to.

– 99.9% of you are going to ignore almost everything you just read, except for the “Go Run” part. Have some Ibuprofen and a hot bath waiting for your return from your ill-advised marathon.

– If you’ve already got some running legs going on, you can absolutely do something a little bit more ambitious today. Perhaps something like this. 




Hey folks! Go Check out…


Coaching, FTW.



The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Tuesday, 7.19.16. “Plagiarism”

•July 19, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Tuesday! It’s Tuesday!

I was going to post up something new, novel, fresh to the CXWOTD today, but in the spirit of last night’s convention…



…I figured, what the hell. Let’s just re-post something that’s been done before.

Solidarity. We’re with you, Melania!

So, with no further ado, you guessed it. 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 both intervals 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.

It’ll be painful, though.

I promise.

Have fun!



The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Monday, 7.18.16. “Like a Panda”

•July 18, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,


If you’ve been playing along with our first week (or so…) of posts, you just finished a long, hard weekend, and you’re probably feeling it in the legs a wee bit today.

I know that I am.

I’m in panda mode today…

It’s one of those days where all I want to do is sit on the couch and eat ice cream.

Well, ok. Maybe not ice cream. I’m allergic to that stuff, never a very good idea.

But I sure as heck don’t want to do too much today.

Just enough, though.

Something like a…


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.



The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Sunday, 7.17.16. “kinda what we were saying yesterday…”

•July 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

So, this is kinda-sorta a replay of yesterday’s post, so take a second to check it out, we’ll wait.

OK, got it?


I’d say that today we’re going to kick things up a notch…


…but that’s more or less impossible if you actually followed yesterday’s workout. The idea was to push yourself hard. And then do it again.

So today we’re doing it again.

Go out there and beat yourself up. Ride hard. Hard enough that you’re going to earn the recovery day that you get tomorrow.


There goes the secret of what we’re doing tomorrow.

Seriously though, you’re going to take a rest day tomorrow, so ride hard enough today that you earn it.


What’s that?

you’re looking for more?

OK. Got it.

With some folks I coach, when we’re looking to do a workout like this, I’ve found that it’s enough to just say “go kill yourself for 4 (5, 6) hours.”

They go out and do just that, mission accomplished.

Sometimes, the thing that works best is for me to be very specific, and give wattage outputs that I want to see folks hit for given periods of time, or at least average for the duration of a ride.

Sometimes, I just give them something like this…

The Jacky Ride…

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?”




Hey! Check out…


The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Saturday, 7.16.16. “Go forth and ride”

•July 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Well, it’s the weekend. If you’re part of the road/mtb racing contingent, odds are you still have some races on the calendar, and your plans for the weekend are already pretty concrete. You’re racing, or you’re getting ready to race, or you’re thinking about racing.

Right on. That’s good for us right now.

You’ll be wanting to take some kind of a break soon(ish), though. Stay tuned, we’ll be taking about that in the next week or so.

Racing is good, though. Racing or riding hard, getting in some serious miles.

If you aren’t racing this weekend? Well, get out there and ride.

Put in some serious miles, if you can.

Go long.

The next month or so is your opportunity to build up the deep base of fitness that you need to carry you through the long winter of cyclocross…


…in which the short, intense race day efforts and subsequent recovery make it difficult to get in any kind of long miles.

So, take advantage of the summer weather, and 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


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 79 other followers