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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Tuesday, 11.22.16. “Seriously downhill”

Howdy folks,

Sorry this is going up so late today. Having a bit of a crazy week…

 

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…blecch.

 

Oh well. I can’t ride a bike right now, but that shouldn’t stop anyone else!

Things are wrapping up pretty quickly around here in the PNW. Not too many races left on the calendar for all but the very few folks who are planning to make the trip back east to Nationals. If

you’re one of the people calling it quits soon, you should probably be keeping your remaining workouts short, and focused on speed.

In short, workouts like…

 

Going Downhill Fast – 

s 

So, ok… not like that. Like this…

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?

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.

Going to Nationals, or still have a fair bit of time left in your season?

Nice!

You know what day it is, right? It’s…

Two By Twenty Tuesday! 

As we’ve talked about in previous posts, at it’s most basic 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.

The idea 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.

It’s all about doing two intervals.

Two intervals at as close to the same level of consistent, steady power output as you can manage.

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

For both intervals.

Both.

How steady?

Can you keep it in a 10 watt range?

Probably not.

15 watts?

More likely

20 watts?

Try.

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 both intervals than it is to go too hard and crater part way through the second 20.

That’s the basic version (and if you’re new to all this, it’s probably the version you should do.) Today, though?

Today we’re doing the 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 both 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, and we’ll get there soon enough, I promise.

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.

Tips:

– 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.

Enjoy!

M

 

Thanks for following along.

As you’ve probably noticed, there’s been a “begging for money” bit attached to the beginning of this page for a couple of weeks now.

I’d like to thank everyone who has chipped in this season – and the past couple of seasons – when I’ve asked you to. It’s made a difference.

How much of a difference?

Well, let’s put it this way; the small donations from you folks have kept the lights on on this page.

There’s a certain (small) amount of money that has to come out of my pocket to pay for this page, and there’s a certain (larger) amount of money that, as a self-employed person, I need to write off based on the time spent on writing, posting, and – yes – giving training advice away that other people charge for.

So, once again, thanks to those who have contributed.

As much as I hate to say it, though, the contributions this season are way down compared to the last two years, and I don’t know if I can keep this going unless more people contribute.

Yeah. That sucks. I hate to have to write it, but I just looked at my bank balance, and the bills sitting on my desk, and the paying work that I’m putting off while I sit here writing this, and… well… crap.

So, that’s where we’re at.

I don’t know what the future of the CXWOTD looks like. Maybe there’s a paywall, maybe I try to pursue some corporate sponsorship, maybe I just bag the whole thing, maybe I scale things down and post less often… heck, maybe I just decide that I don’t care what the numbers say, and keep going anyways.

I dunno.

Nothing is going to happen in the short term. At minimum, I’m going to play things out through the end of this season before making any decisions.

Just wanted to let ya’all know what was what.

So, hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, and you’d like to see it continue, please do me a favor – and yes, it’s a favor, and I will be truly thankful for it – and send a buck or two (or five, or whatever…) my way.

How do you do that?

Simply click on the graphic below, and PayPal will be glad to make it happen.

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Thanks for the consideration!

 

 

What’s that you say? You’d kinda’ like to have a cycling coach help figure this stuff out for you? Check out…

se

(and, in case you’re wondering…. nope, S.E. doesn’t pay for the plug. I am one of their coaches, though, so if you’d like to work with me as a coach, click on the logo.)

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~ by crosssports on November 22, 2016.

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