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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Wednesday, 9.13.17. “Dry Hopped whinging”

•September 13, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

It’s Wednesday, and that means it’s skills day around here.

Today we’re flashing back to a post from last year, because – sigh – it’s happened again!

What is it that happened again?

Well, the (arguably) best cyclocross racer on the planet got beaten in part due to a glaring weakness in something that has become an essential skill at the top end of the sport.

What the hell am I talking about?

Well, last year I posted this vid…

 

 

…and wrote:

Hold on to your hat, Wout actually hops the barriers!

Did I mention that Wout hopped the barriers?

Thank god.

Frankly, this is one of the things he really needed to add to his skill set.

 

 

Whoops.

Here’s the action from a year later at this past weekend’s Brico Cross where we see…

 

 

VDP gets a small gap, hops the barriers, suddenly has a large gap… and everyone else is racing for second.

“But hey!” I hear you saying to yourself. “He made that gap happen on the climb, it wasn’t the barriers that made the difference!”

Maybe, maybe not. But if you think the other riders haven’t identified this weakness, take a gander at Michael Vanthourenhout attacking Wout and Sweeck (who also needs to work on his hops!) in a bid for the podium late in the race…

 

Didn’t work out this time, but it has in the past (see below!) and probably will again.

So, today we once again talk Wout, barrier hopping, and coming to terms with what the sport actually is, not what you wish it might be.

 

First, let’s get this out of the way; Wout is f***ing awesome.

 

 

Seriously, he’s amazing. Watching him ride away from the field at CXVegas after his fall last year was even more impressive in person than it was on vid. Some might even say “extraterrestrial.” Take that as you may.

He ain’t perfect, though.

He lost a race last season pretty much entirely because he was forced to run a barrier section that Michael Vanthournout could ride…

 

 

…and it’s one of his major disadvantages in straight-up competition with VdP, the only person who has proven to be consistently capable of beating him over the last couple of seasons.

 

 

 

 

Let’s not beat around the bush. World Cup-level CX has changed. We’re no longer living in the days when Sven was the only one capable of hopping the planks. With where the sport is at now, if you can’t get over a standard double on your bike, you’re at a disadvantage.

If you are a Junior rider, or the parent of a Junior rider, or you coach Junior riders, you damn well should be adding this skill to your repertoire.

If you’re in your 20’s, or early 30’s?

You damn well should be adding this skill to your repertoire.

If you’re older than that?

Well, what’s that they say about old dogs and new tricks?

Yeah.

It’s probably going to be an uphill battle. It’s worth a try, but don’t kill yourself trying this stuff, ok?

Hey! Women aren’t excluded here!

 

superprestige-2014-diegem-women-race-e

 

Pauline Ferrand- Prevot has some damn good hops, and used them to great advantage as far back as her podium performance at Diegem in ’14.

I’d like to make an open appeal to race promoters at the local level here; Please, please, add design features to your courses that encourage riders – especially young riders – to try getting over them on the bike.

Yes grandpa never did any of this damn hopping shit when he was a kid, and all these grimy infants need to get the hell off your lawn, but this is the 21st century. The sport has changed. Take out that idiotic triple (that’s illegal anyways) those double planks set so close to each other that you can’t even put a bike down between them, let alone land and take off again. Give people a chance to hop this stuff. Hell, make the barriers shorter in local racing so that folks will try to get over them on the bike. Most will still run them anyways, and – newsflash – watching those who do try to go airborne will turn that boring barrier section into the focal point of the spectator scene at your races.

Just try it, ok? That’s all I’m asking.

So, ok. Hops-r-good, and all the smart kids should be working on them (more on this later) but…

Is there a larger point here?

I think there is.

You can be the World-freaking-Champion, one of the two best  CX riders on the planet, and still have obvious weak points and deficiencies in your technical game.

When I wrote the first version of this piece last year, the next graph was this…

The fact that we’re suddenly seeing Wout display some hops probably isn’t a coincidence. Dollars to doughnuts he’s working on this weakness, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him rolling over full-height barriers with the rest of the front group next season. If he isn’t, you can bet it isn’t because he didn’t try to work on the skill in the off-season.

Hoo boy.

 

Brand new year, same old problem.

And it’s still biting him in the ass.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Have a technical weakness? Something that your opposition knows damn well they can beat you at/with?

Do something about it!

Once again, if you’re a young rider? Learn to hop the barriers.

Here’s a good starting point…

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s that you say? You’re looking for something to do today that isn’t occurring largely in the vertical plane?

How about…

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 , just ’cause.

– 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.

Remember…

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

– Alternate butt-on-saddle and off

– Alternate hands in drops with hands on hoods.

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.

Feeling solid, skills-wise?

Nice.

Get  yourself 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!

– 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!

– Ouch.

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.

Enjoy!

M

 

 

 

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

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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Tuesday, 9.12.17. “Get up, get happy”

•September 12, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

It’s…

Two By Twenty Tuesday!

Today we’re doin’ ’em…

Get Up Style. With a Happy Ending.

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.

But hey… that’s not all.

This is the Happy Ending version.

What does that mean?

After the second interval…

-spin for 1 minute.

sprint for ten seconds, starting at the one minute mark on your watch.

-spin until you hit the 2 minute mark on your watch

sprint for ten seconds

-spin until you hit the 3 minute mark on your watch

sprint for ten seconds

Etc., etc., continuing until you hit the five minute mark, and give the last little bit of your energy in one final 10 second sprint.

Ouch.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Thanks for following my blog!

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.

Heck, allow me to rephrase that; I can’t keep doing this if I lose money on it.

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.

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

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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Monday, 9.11.17. “In which he blathers for a bit, prescribes the expected, plays videos, and begs.”

•September 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Happy Monday! If you raced yesterday, I hope you had fun, and enjoyed some success, in whatever terms you choose to use to measure such a thing.

It bears mention that “success” isn’t something with a simple, limited, “I won the damn race” definition. Define your own terms for success in racing, and you’re far likelier to enjoy the sport over the long haul.

Remember, the object of the game might be to win the the race, but there’s only one person who can succeed in that each time out.

Enough sermonizing, on with the workout!

So, Monday after a race weekend? You can probably guess what we’ve got on tap. Yup. Today it’s a…

 

Recovery Spin – 

 

– Get on your bike. Roll out into the street – or into your living room if you’re on the turbo watching the vid – and just spin around for an hour. Or more. Or less. Whatever it takes.

– Really small gear, no hard efforts – heck, no medium effort.

– Spin. You’re looking to move your legs around in circles, almost like there is no chain on the bike.

– The idea is to get your body moving, flush the systems out, and speed your recovery.

– Just get out on the road and spin easily and aimlessly. At a certain point, your legs will start to loosen up.

– When that happens, turn around and go home.

–  If you’re doing these on the trainer, same deal. Just spin. No hard efforts, just make the legs go around in circles in a small gear.

– Follow up with as much relaxation as you can. Eat, stretch, and put your legs up. Get a massage if possible.

 

Trainer vid(s!) for today is/are the first of the season’s Euro CX action, yay!

 

 

 

Enjoy!

M

 

 

 

Thanks for following my blog!

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.

Heck, allow me to rephrase that; I can’t keep doing this if I lose money on it.

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!

The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Sunday, 9.10.17. “Warming up, redux mark 3. At least. “

•September 10, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

It’s race day.

At least it is up here in Seattle, so I’m going to assume it is for all ya’all, even though that clearly isn’t  the case.

Sorry! Can’t make these perfect for everybody!

Since you’re racing, before the festivities get underway you need to…

Warm It Up.

First of all, don’t overdo it.

I see way, way too many people spending a ridiculous amount of time on their trainers before the race, and frankly, I think a huge number of racers leave their best effort of the day back in the tent on the Gerbil Wheel before the race.

Don’t let this be you.

If you feel like you need to spend more than an hour warming up for your race, frankly you’re doing something wrong.

There’s been a fair bit written about warming up for cycling events, and if you spend any time at all reading through some of the stuff that’s out there, you will no doubt find that the only commonality is that most everyone disagrees.

Until you start reading some of the science, and some of the warm-up protocols suggested by those who have also read the science.

Here’s an interesting study…

with an interesting conclusion…

During endurance events of intermediate duration (4-5 min), performance is enhanced by warm-up irrespective of warm-up intensity

Note, also this little tidbit –

There were no differences in anaerobic power output during the trials, but aerobic power output during the first 1000 m was larger during both EWU (203 W) and HWU (208 W) versus NWU (163 W) trials.

Huh. Go figure.

I pretty much never warm up for road races, unless I Know the first few K are going to be pedal to the metal.

When people ask how I can get away with this (and they do!) I always respond with “that’s what the first lap/loop/5k is for…”

You can’t really get away with this in Cyclocross.

You need to hit that first K, hell that first hundred meters at 100%, with all guns blazing.

Warming up definitely improves your aerobic power output over the first K of a race.

End of story. You need to warm up for Cyclocross.

How much do you need to warm up?

Well, here’s where we get into interesting territory.

The study I linked to above basically showed no difference between the results of warm ups conducted at different levels of intensity and duration. The key was simply to warm up, get the legs turning over.

However you do it, warming up helps.

Nice.

Remember this the next time all hell breaks loose and you can barely get in any kind of a workout before your race. Even a little bit of a warm up helps.

OK, it’s just a study. Heck, it’s just one study.

Frankly, for Cyclocross, I think you need to warm up pretty hard, if for no other reason than that you don’t want the shock of that F-ing start effort to hit your body (and mind!) like a ton of bricks.

What you don’t need to do is warm up for a long time.

After a certain point, all a long warmup does is get you tired. And that ain’t good.

OK, so what should your warm up look like?

Something like this…

Get on your bike.

Ride at a super easy level for 5 minutes. No pressure on pedals, recovery day light.

5 minutes more at just one notch higher.

2-3 minutes at right around your 20 minute output level.

then

2-3 minutes at one notch/gear easier

30 second race pace effort.

recover for 2 minutes easy…

30 second race pace effort.

recover for 2 minutes…

2 full-gas start efforts, 2 minutes between them.

Spin for 5 minutes.

Go race.

That’s just the actual warm up, though.

You need to figure in course preview time, getting all your stuff schlepped to where it needs to be, registration… the whole package.

Heck, in a perfect world, you would go ride for an hour in the morning several hours before your race!

The whole shebang is what’s important, and in a perfect world, your race day would look something like this:

Wake up.

Eat breakfast.

Ride for an hour.

Snack, take a nap.

Eat lunch (3 hours before race.)

Course preview

(while mechanic preps bikes, team staff handles everything else.)

Snack, electrolyte drink, change into race clothing.

Warm up (that thing we just talked about)

Win Race.

Post-race cool down.

Yeah, right.

Oh well, we try.

Get as close to that as you can, and remember – the science shows that any warm up is better than none!

I’ve managed to do really well in races where the only warm up I got was a 1 or 2 lap preview of the course, and I know I’m not alone!

If you are forced to choose, always pre-ride rather than warm up.

You get a less than perfect course preview, and a less than perfect warm up, but part of each is better than none of one!

Ok, after all that, are you ready for the reality-based warm up?

Quite frankly, this is what I wind up doing most of the time, and almost always if I wind up stuck on the turbo. It’s the –

R.S.W.O. – The Rock Stupid Warm-up and Opener –

First, get everything you need to do before the race done. Sign up, course preview, etc., etc. More questions you probably didn’t even have on the topic of race day routine answered here –

https://crosssports.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/the-workout-of-the-day-for-monday-9-5-10-laborious/

– Get on trainer. Spin for about 5 minutes.

– 2-3 minutes at your 20 minute output level

– Shift into big ring/largest cog combination.

– Ride 30 seconds in this gear, then shift up one cog.

– Ride 30 seconds in this gear, then shift up one cog.

– Repeat until you hit the hardest gear you’ve got, or can handle.

– Ride 30 seconds in that gear, and then shift all the way back down to the Big/big combo.

– Ride 30 seconds in that gear, then immediately shift to hardest gear you can handle.

– Full gas sprint, out of the saddle, for 30 seconds.

Back to big/big combo.

– Spin for two minutes.

Repeat The entire sequence (Usually minus the 2nd “20 minute level” effort.)

Oddly enough, this really simple warm up winds up looking a whole heck of a lot like…

…This…

team sky warmup

Yup.

That’s the actual Team Sky Time Trial warmup, photo is of a reminder sheet that was posted on the side of the team bus.

Go figure.

’nuff said?

Have fun,

M

* If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about when I say “20 minute level”, check this out…

** The Warm Up routines I describe here are actually pretty hard, and believe it or not, are likely to be too damn hard and too long for non-elite racers. You will need to experiment and figure out what works for you. Don’t be afraid to cut the warm up short, or go easier. You don’t get a prize for winning the warm up!

The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Saturday, 9.9.17. “Kicking things off with a can”

•September 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Well, here it is. Race season begins for real this weekend, at least it does up up here in the Seattle area.

Tomorrow morning it’s game on.

That means today we need to do our race prep, and in addition to all the materiel prep – you do have your bike and kit ready to roll, don’t you? – this means we need to have our body and our mind ready to go.

Today, we’re doing…

 

Can Openers – 

 

can

Here’s the drill:

– Warm up for 1/2 hour or so, spinning easy with a couple of short bursts thrown in.

– Follow with several short attacking efforts, IE 30 seconds at 80% of your max, or pretty damn hard. 2 – 3 of ’em.

– Back off and spin for 5 minutes.

– Follow with 10-15 minute effort at right about your 2×20 output level, or “I could talk to you if I had to, but I don’t want to” level.

– Spin for several minutes.

– Follow with 5-6 hard 10 second efforts, ideally on CX type variable terrain, level or slightly uphill.

– Finish  with 5-6 start efforts on a straight section of paved road, level or slightly uphill.  You want to begin these from a dead stop, with one foot unclipped. Do not stop until you get at least        3 perfect starts in a row, and I mean perfect. This is the cross equivalent of practicing free throws. Make ‘em count!

– spin out the legs, go home, and get ready for the race.

Enjoy!

M

(a little  bit more on the mental part of things in tomorrow’s post.)

 

The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Friday, 9.8.17. “Human Nature”

•September 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment

 

Howdy folks,

If you’re racing this Sunday, today should be as relaxed as possible for you. Take the day completely off or go for an easy spin.

Hah! I know some of you – a lot of you – can’t force yourselves to chill out as much as you should.

Human nature, amiright?

 

 

So, if you just can’t make yourself go easy today, do something like…

The L.B. 1 – 

You’re going to be doing a series of short, hard sprints midway through a 1 – 2 hour ride, so give some thought to where you can do these effectively.

A flat, straight, low-traffic section of road or trail is what you’re looking for.

Even better if it’s about a :45 minute ride away; that will make things nice and simple.

Hop on your bike and roll out the door.

Ride steady, at an easy, relaxed pace for  45 minutes – 1 hour, eventually winding up at the aforementioned stretch of road.

You’re now going to do a series of Hard out of the saddle sprints from a standing start.

8 sprints, 7 seconds each.

1 minute between each sprint.

After the last sprint, roll back home spinning easily to recover.

Budget a minimum of 20 minutes for the spin/ride back home.

Put your feet up, relax, you’re done for the day.

Not racing this weekend?

Cool.

We haven’t done any running this week, so how about some…

Stairing – 

– First, figure out where you can do the workout.

We’re going to be running stairs today, so you need some stairs, or a small hill, or a grassy knoll – something you can run up. Stairs are best, but whatever you can come up with will work.

You don’t need NFL stadium stairs or anything crazy like that for this workout. Look for something that’s long enough to give you 10 seconds of running at a full sprint; That’ll be plenty long enough. We’re doing speed work, here. Short, sharp efforts.

On with the workout.

– get on your bike and warm up for 15 minutes or so.

(we’re going to warm up for any running efforts we do, all season, with some time on the bike. )

– Mosey on over to your stairs/knoll/whatever, and get set. Stretch, have a sip of water, turn up the volume on your Ipod.

– Jog up the stairs. Walk down.

Get a sense for the spacing and “feel” of the stairs. You’re going to be flying up these things in a full-on lactic acid bath shortly, so you want to get comfortable with the terrain.

– Repeat x5

– Sprint! up stairs, fast, using whatever stride is most comfortable. Walk down.

– Repeat x5

Rest for 1 minute, walking slowly up and down stairs.

– Sprint up stairs, this time using quick, tiny strides, 1 stairstep at a time. Walk down.

– Repeat x5

Rest again, same as before.

– Sprint up stairs, this time using long strides, several stair steps at a time. Walk down.

– Repeat x 5

Rest again.

– Sprint up stairs, combining the previous two exercises – 1st time up, long strides; next time up, short strides, etc. Walk down.

Rest again, 2-5 minutes.

– Run up stairs sideways. Yup, you read that right. Sideways. Try it, it’ll make sense. More of an agility drill than anything else, but it’ll be good for you.

– Repeat 2-5 times.

Rest again, 2-5 minutes

– Repeat entire damn thing until you just can’t do it anymore, or you are going so slowly it’s ridiculous.

Get back on bike, spin out your legs, go home.

Notes –

If you can, go really damn hard. If you do this right, it’s a brutal workout.

Don’t go that hard if you haven’t got the legs for that yet. Keep it under control. You want to build up to the point where you are going up the stairs in a dead sprint, and are completely gassed at the end of each set. That’s going to take a few sessions to build up to, though. Don’t kill yourself the first time out.

If anything starts to hurt, or feel strained, pulled, or otherwise bad – as in “something just ain’t right, bad” – stop. Just stop. Do Not Injure Yourself Running G-damn stairs in the pre-season, OK?

Have fun!

M

The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Thursday, 9.7.17. “It’s all downhill today”

•September 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

 

Up here in Seattle, the first “real” race of the season is this Sunday.

Yikes.

It’s going to be a fast one, and that being the case getting some speed work in this week ain’t a half bad idea.

That being the case, today we’re…

 

Going Downhill Fast – 

 

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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.

Have fun!

M

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

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