The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Sunday, 12.28.30. “Grrrrrr…”

Howdy folks,

Sunday, where to begin…

Well, yesterday’s post is probably a decent place to start.

The theme for today is essentially the same; if you aren’t racing (and you probably aren’t…) you should be riding as if you were.

That means go pretty damn hard today, in a way that will result in training stimulus as close to what you encounter in a race as practicable.

Yesterday we did something like that by tagging some sprint intervals on to the back end of a 2×20. How about another variation on the theme today?

Ready for some real fun?

Let’s drop another 20 minute interval on top of a 2×20, and do, horror of horrors,

The 3×20 (aka, the “I hate you, coach”)

Pretty simply, the 3×20 looks like this:

– Warm up.

– Go as hard as you can for 20 minutes.

– Recover for 5 minutes.

– Go again for 20 minutes

-Recover for 5 minutes

Go again for another 20 minutes.

The idea here, folks, is to go as hard as you can for the duration of all three intervals without being forced to go easier at the end of the last interval.

This is all about doing three intervals.

Three intervals at as close to the same level of output as you can possibly maintain.

If you’re doing this with a power meter, you want your wattage output to be as steady and unvaried as possible.

For all three intervals.

Oh crap.

How steady?

Can you keep it in a 10 watt range?

Probably not.

15 watts?

More likely

20 watts?


Keep it steady.

If you run out of gas before you finish the second interval, then you went too hard.

If your vision isn’t blurry at the end of the second interval, you went too easy. But guess what?
It’s way better to go too easy and finish the intervals than it is to go too hard and crater part way through the second or third 20.

For most folks, this is a workout that’s easier to do as a get-up version, so…

Start your 20-minute 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 keep your level of output consistent.

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 next 20 minute interval.

Remember, the idea here is to go as hard as you can for the duration of all three intervals without being forced to go easier at the end of the second interval.

If you’re doing this with a power meter, you want your wattage output to be as close to constant as possible, and the out of the saddle time we’re throwing in makes this even more challenging.

Keep it steady.

These take practice to do well, and the better you get, the harder they get, as your output level gets closer and closer to the absolute max you’re capable of doing for an interval of this duration.

Add in the constant standing and sitting component, and you’re going to know you did some work when you’re through.

I know I’m repeating myself, but do try to avoid the temptation to up the output level when you get out of the saddle, OK?

That’s an entirely different workout.

One of the things we’re learning with this workout is how to calibrate our out of the saddle efforts. We’re getting a better handle on what we’re actually doing when we stand up on the bike.

You need to know – really know – when you’re going harder and when you’re not.

What most people find when doing this workout is that every time they get out of the saddle their power output takes a big jump.

Which isn’t a huge surprise, because we largely train our bodies to correlate out of the saddle with “go time.”

The thing is, though?

Cyclocross ain’t road racing.

A lot of the time you’re getting out of the saddle not to accelerate, but due to a bike handling challenge.

Heck, in Cross if you get out of the saddle in a super sketchy tech section and really put the power down, pretty often that’s going to result in rear wheel slip and lack of traction, with the expected bad results.

Here’s a little secret:
One of the keys to good bike handling is having a really good understanding of how much power you’re producing, and the effect that has on your traction.

Step one to developing that understanding is getting a real feel for how your power output can change when you get out of the saddle.

Nothing will give you a better feel for that than this workout.

Make sense?

Especially since we’re trying to work on perception, not just output, this is a workout that works great on the trainer, and that’s how you should do ‘em, if you can stand it. If not, really try to find the most vacant, flat, soulless terrain possible. The fewer the distractions the better.

~ by crosssports on December 28, 2014.

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