The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Thursday, 10.3.13. “Going Downhill Fast”

Howdy folks,

Thanks to all ya’all who came out to the Marymoor Velodrome to play in the muck with us last night.

I’m still finding mud in unpleasant places, and this just after I finally got all of Sunday’s slime off of me.

Must be cross season. For reals.

It’s been a long time since we had a consistently muddy season up here in the PNW, and so far it looks like this season is going to make up for that lost time, big time.

Should be fun.

If I can keep up with the toll it’s taking on the bike.

Not much fun to be packing up the car to head out to cross practice and suddenly realize that the BB’s on both of your bikes are frozen solid.


On the positive side, I know know exactly how fast I can rebuild a bottom bracket when I have to.


So, after all of that, how about a workout, eh?

We’ve been battling the mud lately, and that tends to lead to a bunch of heavy gear, low cadence slogging.

Your legs get as heavy as your heart.

Today, we’re going to add a little bit of speed work to the mix, and hopefully it’ll lift our cadence and  our spirits…


Everything’s Going Downhill Fast!

street skeleton


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.


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!


~ by crosssports on October 3, 2013.

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