The #Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Wednesday, 10.18.17. “Starting Again, Redux”

Howdy folks,

Last Wednesday I said I was going to talk more about off camber riding today.

That looks to have been a bit over ambitious. I’m time limited today, and it doesn’t look like I will be able to get the post on that subject finished today. Stay tuned, I will get it up as soon as I can.

So, with that put on hold for another week, we’re going to work (as requested by a reader!) on our starts today…


Let’s Get Started (again!) – 

1 – warm up for 10 minutes.

2 – Stretch out after you’re warm.

Pay special attention to all the muscles used in those movements you make hopping on and off the bike that are different from what you usually do.

3 – Dismount/remount  skills for 5 minutes. Because, well… of course we’re going to work on these…

– Start at literally a walking pace, and slowly increase speed until you can mount and dismount the bike smoothly and perfectly at full speed. Do not jump on and off the bike, you are looking to smoothly slide yourself on and off.

 Need a refresher on the basics? Click here.

4 – Starts.

Just like the beginning of a race. One foot on the ground, dead standstill, get-up-and-go.

Begin with a few medium effort starts, working on all the things we talked about above.


– Start with your pedals at 3&9 o’clock, not 12 and six.

– Alternate butt-on-saddle and off. When you start with your butt on the saddle, your ass stays on the saddle until you are actually clipped in! This definitely takes some discipline and practice to get the hang of, but I’m more and more convinced it’s the way to go for starts. If you’re currently starting with your butt out of the saddle and you aren’t happy with your starts, definitely experiment with butt on. If you are happy with your starts? Maybe don’t. More on this below.

– Alternate hands in drops with hands on hoods, if you ever start with your hands in the drops. If you don’t, don’t bother.

When you start to get the feel for things, hit it hard a couple of times, then back off.

2 sets of all the variations above at a medium to slow pace, more sets if you’re doing less variation.

Honestly, there’s a lot to be said for no variation. If you’ve got a style of starting that you’re good at, and confident in, practice only that, and do only that. The idea with trying different variations is to figure out what actually works for you. Once you’ve got it figured out, that’s what you do.

There are definitely different ways to skin this cat, as we can see here…

Front row is pretty evenly split between starting ass on the saddle, and starting ass in the air.

Figure out which one works for you, and then whatever method you’ve chosen is the method you use. Once you’ve decided on a method, stick with it.

The key to getting good at this is repetition, and lots of it. So don’t change stuff around once you’ve decided on how you’re going to start, just practice enough to get really good at the style you’ve chosen. Once the decision is made, that’s what you do.

This is like shooting free throws, or kicking extra points. If you start to mess with the fundamentals, you’re likely in for a world of trouble. It’s a giant wormhole of frustration.

So, all of this verbiage above? If you’re already starting well, don’t mess with what’s working. Just refine what you’re doing now.

If your starts aren’t very good? Different story.

Make sense?


Get  ready to go hard.

– Bang! Six full-gas starts.

– short effort, just go long enough that you are up to full speed, then back down, turn around, go again.

Spin easy for a couple of minutes, then…

– Bang! ~pause~ Bang!

– Again, six full-gas starts, but each start effort will look like this…

Full effort start from a dead-stop, foot on ground.

As soon as you get up to full speed, sit back in saddle, take one deep breath, go again, HARD!


5 – Recover for a few minutes, then Finish the night with two short efforts on relatively easy terrain.

– “Easy” as in a loop on grass with some tight-ish turns on it, or some pretty buffed double-track.

– Go hard, and work on accelerations out of the turns.

– Every time you slow down entering a turn, get on the gas on the way out of it, ass out of the saddle, working hard.

– 5 minutes full gas, rest for 2 minutes, then go again for another 5.

– Start each effort with, well… with a start. Like you were working on a couple of minutes ago…

Warm down, go home, relax.






Hi there…

Thanks for following my blog!

This thing started off as a lark, and over the years that I’ve been doing it, has become a little bit of a monster.

It takes a fair bit of time – and a wee bit of money – to keep this thing rolling, and it’s the time of the season where I’ve got to pay the bills to keep this thing going.

I’m not trying to get rich off this thing… or really even make any money from it at all.

It’d just make my life a fair bit easier if I didn’t lose money doing this!

So, hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, 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.


Thanks for the consideration!

~ by crosssports on October 18, 2017.

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