The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Tuesday, 7.18.17. “In which we hearken back to the classics…”

Howdy folks,

Day 2!

I promise you, there are going to be some changes made to the workout roster this season.

Not today, though.

Today, out of abundant respect for tradition, we say  hello to the new season of workouts with an old classic…

2×20 Tuesday!

The 2×20 is kind-of the Swiss Army knife of workouts, and some folks take it so far as to make it the primary building block of their fitness. As such, it’s a great default workout. Short on time? Not sure what to do? You could do a lot worse than to suffer your way through one of these.

The 2×20 isn’t just a staple workout, though. It can also double  as a test session; a regular, oft-repeated gauge of your fitness.

That’s a big part of what we’re after today, as we embark upon our season-long CX journey. We’re setting a baseline for all the workouts you’ll do as the year rolls on.

Keep track of your performance in this, and in all of the 2×20′s you do! 

(honestly, you should keep track of all the workouts you do, but… baby steps. We’ll start here.)

You might just find yourself doing these on a pretty regular basis, and if you keep track of ‘em, you’ll find that you’ve left a really good trail of bread crumbs behind you all season.

It doesn’t really matter how you do this keeping-track-of.  Wattage, heart rate, what gear you’re pushing on the trainer, whatever. Just figure out some way of consistently measuring your performance during the workout, and write it down/download it/etch it in runes on a stone tablet…

Phoenician Alphabet -Stone_tablets

Just try to track this stuff, ok?

Every time.

It’s great if you have a wattage measuring device, but it isn’t critical. If you do these intervals on a trainer, you can record your cadence and gear ratio, and you can track your progress that way.

Say today you ride these on your trainer, with a fixed resistance, in a 53×14 at 80 rpm.

Next time out? 53×14 at 85 rpm.

Time after that? Back to 80 rpm, but this time you were able to roll ’em on a 53×13.

Progress! And you can see it on paper (or your stone tablets)!


It’s all about establishing some kind of metrics to keep track of.

       Got it?


We will be referring to these metrics throughout the season, and your level of output in the 2×20 will form the basis for determining your target output in most of the workouts we do from here on out.

So, hey… what the heck is this 2×20 thing?

Pretty simply, 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.

That’s the basic version. Success on this is,  however,  all in the details.

First of all, warm up.

No, seriously. Don’t just hop on the bike and blast one out.

Warming up makes a difference, especially if you’re doing this as a test session.

You don’t need to do anything super hard or super involved, just make sure the legs are up and running before you kick off the workout proper.

Spin for a bit, blast a couple of 30 second to 2 minute efforts off pretty hard, spin a bit more, then go for it.

When you do go for it, really go for it.

But in a controlled sort of way.

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 to 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. How constant?

Can you keep it in a 10 watt range?

Probably not.

15 watts?

More likely

20 watts?


Keep it steady.

These take practice to do well, and the better you get, the harder they get (you’re welcome.) This is a workout that’s a natural for the turbo trainer, and that’s how I do ‘em.

This 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 blurry vision thing. You should aspire to seeing-spots level of output on these.

If you can learn to push through your limits, really push, you will get better and you will get better fast.

It’ll be painful, though.

I promise.

Have fun!


PS –

In the Seattle area where I live, Tuesday nights are a local circuit race for the roadie set, out at the car racing track.

For a lot of you, doing something like that today would be perfect.

If you’re up for it, think about taking advantage of the remnants of your local road racing season to train up for Cross.  Get in on the race-pace action when you can, while you can. There probably aren’t all that many road/mtb. racing opportunities left before the summer season starts to run down.

At least there aren’t up in my neck of the woods.

But that’s a topic for another day…

~ by crosssports on July 18, 2017.

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