The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Tuesday, 11.19.13. “ball&chain”

Howdy folks,

I hope you enjoyed your rest day!

Time to get right back on the stick, and I’m guessing you might just know what I mean by that, given it’s Tuesday and all.

Right quick, though… as mentioned in a couple of earlier posts, I’m hearing back from some of ya’all that you’re starting to fade later in the races.

It’s that time of the season, for sure.

Come November, the most common symptoms of training problems that I see/hear about are fading late in the races, and dead/heavy legs.



We’ll talk about the latter issue on Thursday, but today?

If you’re fading late in the races, there’s probably one of two things going on.

– you’re overtrained.

We’ve talked about this quite a bit lately, so I won’t beat the dead horse too much. If you’re falling to pieces ’cause you’re overtrained, take a damn break, ok?

– You haven’t been doing any endurance work.

If the longest workout you’ve been getting in over the last couple of months is on race day, and if you’ve been doing nothing but short stuff during the week, there’s a good chance you’re running out of the long-ride gas.

If you were a Euro-pro, you’d e heading to a slightly warmer clime to get in a solid block of endurance miles pretty soon… but you aren’t.

And you’re probably racing this weekend.

So, what do you do?

Well, it’s not quite the same thing, but there’s an old favorite that might help.


It’s the good ‘ole…

Two by Twenty!

(Get-up style today…)


Here’s how this goes…

– Warm up.

– Go as hard as you can for 20 minutes.

– Recover for 2 minutes.

– Go again for another 20 minutes.

That’s the basic version. This is the get-up version, though, so…

Start the first interval out of the saddle, and stand for the first 30 seconds.

After those 30 seconds are up, sit down. Keep the effort going, and consistent. Don’t surge, don’t go harder when you get out of the saddle.

Stay seated for the next 1:30, then stand for 30 seconds.

Repeat to the end of the interval, and follow this format for the successive interval.

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 too 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. We’re talking 10 watt variance at the most. Keep it steady.

These take practice to do well, and the better you get, the harder they get. This is another workout that works great on the trainer, and that’s how I do ‘em, which 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 seeing spots thing. If you can learn to push through your limits when you do these, you will get better and well… you will get better.


– I do these on the trainer, with a stopwatch on the bars and an Ipod blaring in my ears. Start the stopwatch at the beginning of the interval, and the format is really easy to follow; you stand up for :30 at the 2:oo, 4:00, 6:00, etc. mark(s). Get it? It’s easy!

– A power meter will help you to keep the level of intensity constant. You want the power output to be as steady as possible with these. If you don’t have a PM, do these on the trainer,  choose a gear ratio and a cadence, and stick to that for the duration of the exercise – instant home made ergometer.

– No reason you can’t do these normal-style. Some folks find them easier than today’s variation, some harder.  Try ’em both out & decide for yourself. They key here – and don’t forget it – is to keep the output level steady, no matter which variant you do.

Why do we do today’s variant of the workout?

Some folks have been struggling to get through the longer efforts this season. It can really help, mentally, to have that out of the saddle effort thrown in to the longer/larger workout. It makes it feel just a bit like you’re doing a series of 2 minute intervals rather than 20 minute ones.

You’re not, though.

Try to avoid the temptation to up the output level when you get out of the saddle, OK? That’s an entirely different workout.

We also do these specifically because it’s difficult to keep your output level consistent when you get out of the saddle.

In cyclocross, we’re constantly in and out of the saddle, all race long… but we don’t always get out of the saddle because we need to accelerate, quite often we’re shifting position to maintain traction, or to muscle the bike around terrain, etc.

It’s actually pretty common for people to get out of the saddle, reflexively stomp on the gas, and lose traction because they put out too much power. This won’t usually cause you to crash, but it will blow you right out of your line, and can often be the difference between cleaning a section and being forced to dismount.

You need to have a good handle on how much power you’re putting through the rear wheel to handle the bike well in cyclocross. 

Believe it or not, this workout helps with that.

~ by crosssports on November 19, 2013.

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