The Cyclocross Workout of The Day for Wednesday, 10.16.13. “fundaMentals”

Howdy folks,

Well, it’s Wednesday, and that’s the day that we usually talk about – and work on – our skills.

I think we’re going to do something just a little bit different this time around, though.

I received the following message after this weekend’s racing…

Hello Matt,

I enjoy your blog. This is my second full year racing cross and I just upgraded to CAT 3, which for me was pretty cool. This week I had my first bad race. I have had things come up before, mechanicals, crashes, legs not firing etc. but today things kinda all came together I was falling, making dumb mistakes, compounding said mistakes, hr was absurdly high etc. I pulled the plug after ripping out my shorts on a fall into a stake (ouch) so… What do you do focus on after a bad Sunday at the office?


Thanks Ming!

Some pretty darn good questions raised there, eh?

You know what?

We’re going to dedicate today to thinking about them a bit.

First of all, try to remember – try, I know it’s hard – that everyone has a bad day. Even these guys…

Enough mayhem and mishaps occur in that darn race to make anyone feel better about their luck.

And how about this gem from last season?

Look folks, even the absolute best in the world have a bad day.

When my back went out on me in the middle of a race on Sunday, I could take at least a little bit of solace in knowing that Bart Wellens was last seen rolling off the course in the middle of his race, on the same day, favoring his creaky back.

…and Marianne Vos, The.Best.Cyclist.On.The.Planet. just announced she’s getting back surgery.



So…. yeah.  S**T not only happens, it happens to everyone. 

That’s all well and good, but what the hell do you do with it?

Even our heros are mortal.

Remember that.

It’s step one to getting over a bad day.

Repeat after me: This stuff really does happen to everyone.

It’s. O. K.


Step 2?

Turn your bad day into a learning experience.

What do I mean by that?

Well, right off the bat, identify what went wrong in your race.

Did you have a physical injury or problem?

Back problem? Knee pain? Nagging injury flare up?

Did you have a Physical Conditioning issue?

Couldn’t get going at the start of the race? Ran out of gas partway through?

Did you have a Skills-related issue?

Just couldn’t quite do something as well as you needed to?

Did you have an equipment problem?

Something just not working on/with your bike?

Did you have an equipment failure?

Roll a tire? Break a rim? Burp sealant all over the course?

Etc., etc.

Got it?

Write it down.

I’ve written about it before, but if you aren’t keeping track of your races, taking notes on what went down?

You should be.

Start doing so.


Figure out why what went wrong, went wrong.

For example:

physical injury or problem?

What – “My back hurt so badly I had to stop and walk part of the course”

Why  – “I had a car accident a while back, and this just happens sometimes”

Physical Conditioning issue?

What – “Couldn’t get going at the start of the race”

Why – Poor warm up, ate too close to race time

Skills related issue?

What – tripped and fell over the barriers.

Why – Suck at barriers

Equipment problem?

What – “was sliding all over the place in the mud”

Why – “Wrong damn tires, too much pressure”

Equipment failure?

What – Burped sealant all over the course

Why – believed specious claims that tubeless cyclocross tires were a good idea 😉


So, now you know what went wrong, and you know why it went wrong.

Write it down.



Enough with the heart-felt laments!

Don’t just worry about this stuff, figure out how you’re going to prevent it from happening again!

Back problems?

– Schedule a massage. See a PT, or get some acupuncture.

Poor warm up?

Read this,  then construct a game plan for your next race that includes a good warm up.

Suck at barriers or some other vital skill?

– Bang. Lots of reading to do.  Pick your poison, and work on it today!

Wrong damn tires?

– Glue up some new ones!

Wrong damn tire pressure?

– Go out riding today, and experiment with your tire pressure.

Burped your tubeless tires?

Yes, you’re going to write this stuff down as well, but more than that?

Create a list of things you’re doing this week to fix the problems of last week.

That should keep you pretty busy, eh?

Have fun!


~ by crosssports on October 16, 2013.

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