The #Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Satuday, 11.24.18. “Openings”

•November 24, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Well, it’s Saturday. Operating under the assumption that you’re racing tomorrow, it should come as little surprise that today we’re doing…

Can Openers – 

Here’s the drill:

– Hop on your bike, and head out to some non-technical (but ideally not paved) terrain. It’s good to do this on dirt if you can, but you want to be able to focus on the efforts, not on the bike handling. Pavement is better than a course that presents bike handling challenges.

– 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.



The #Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Friday, 11.23.18. “Turkey Blockade”

•November 23, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Ugh, sorry this is going up so late! Holiday time, amirite?

Anyways, it’s Friday. You’ve probably read my sermon on Fridays before, but as a brief refresher, if you’re racing on Sunday try to avoid the temptation to ride too hard today. You need to have legs for the race in two days, and if you go hard today… you won’t have em.

This can be super hard to keep in check when you’ve got the day off (believe me, I know…) but… well… try.

If ya aren’t racing tomorrow, but you are racing on Sunday do just the bare minimum today, or take the day off. “Bare minimum” means just enough to force the turkey blockade through the system, not 3-4 hours on the bike, ok?

Racing tomorrow? Today you’re doing…


Ignition – 








You’re going to do a series of short, hard sprints midway through a 1 – 1 1/2 hour ride. Before you head out the door, give some thought to where you can do that effectively.

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

It would be great if it’s about a :45 minute ride away; that would make things nice and simple.

Hop on your bike and roll out the door.

Ride steady, at a moderate pace for 1/2 hour – 45 minutes, eventually winding up at the aforementioned stretch of road.

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

How hard?

Well, hard to say. You’ll start to get the hang of it pretty quickly, but figure that you’re shooting for an output level that will allow you to crank out all the sprints in the set at about the same level, but not easily.

You aren’t sprinting to failure here, and you aren’t doing a max power test.

Don’t overdo it, you’re trying to open your legs, not destroy them.

Make sense?

10 sprints, 10 seconds each.

1 minute between each sprint.

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

Budget at least 15 – 20 minutes for the spin/ride back home.

when you get home, put your feet up and relax.

For some folks, this isn’t quite enough to get their legs open and ready the day before the race – or at least it doesn’t feel like it’s enough – and the importance of “feeling” ready can’t really be overestimated.

If you’re part of this club (I am) add a 10-minute effort at right about your 2×20 output level before you start the sprint sets.

Warm up, 10 minute effort, 5 minutes spinning, sprint efforts, spin down, go home.






Happy Thanksgiving!

•November 22, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Enjoy the holiday! Ride if that sounds like fun.

Back tomorrow…

The #Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Wednesday, 11.21.18 “Over/under on actually riding today?”

•November 21, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

It’s Wednesday, and as you have probably figured out by now, Wednesday is the day I post up skills workouts.

Not this week, though. Due to the holiday tomorrow, I’m pretty sure that most people won’t actually be able to get their asses outside and on a trail/field to do any kind of a skill workout.

So instead, today we’re doing a trainer-friendly (hah!) interval workout.

We’re doing…


Over/Under Intervals! 



What the heck is an over/under interval?

– “Over-under” means that you are going to be working right around the level of your threshold, both above and below.

– What is your threshold? Well, for our purposes, we are going to reference the Classic 2×20 workout. Whatever wattage, heart rate, or gear ratio you use for that interval will serve as your threshold baseline.

Get a solid idea of the wattage, heart rate, or tempo you ride your 20 minute intervals in, and keep it firmly stuck in your mind. This is important; you are going to bounce above and below this level for the rest of the workout.

Get a stopwatch. Put it on your bars.

Start the stopwatch.

Begin today’s workout by doing a 5 minute effort at your 2×20 level.

After the 20 minute-style baseline effort, spin easy for 2 -5 minutes.

When you are ready, begin the 10 minute Over/under thusly:

– Ride for one minute at your baseline/20 minute intensity level.

– At the end of that minute, ride 10 seconds at 25 watts, 10 beats, or 1 gear higher than the baseline level.

– After the 10 seconds, ride 20 seconds at 25 watts, 10 beats, or 1 gear lower than the baseline.

– After the 20 seconds, you go back to the ten (over,) followed again by the 20 (under,) etc., etc.

Got it? 1 minute baseline, 10 up, 20 down, 10 up, 20 down. Repeat the up/down efforts to the end of the interval.

– Rest 2-5 minutes.

– Do it again for 10 minutes.

– Rest again for 2 minutes.

– Pile sets on until you’re starting to see a precipitous drop in your output level. You’ll know when that happens, even if you aren’t using a power meter. If you’re really a baller, keep rolling sets until you’ve completed enough to be the equivalent of your typical race duration, IE: 60 minutes worth of active, “on” phase if you typically race for 60 minutes.

Yeah. Ouch.

Have fun!



The #Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Tuesday, 11.20.18. “Absolutely free”

•November 20, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Hey, have I mentioned before that most people probably need two days of recovery after a cross race? That almost everybody does if they race both Saturday and Sunday?

I’m pretty sure I have.

Of course, I always say that and then post up some hard-ass workout guaranteed to burn people to a crisp. 🙂

Today, no ambiguity whatsoever.

Workout of the day?

Absolutely nothing.

Day off.




The #Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Monday, 11.19.18. “You might just be tired…”

•November 19, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Monday means…

Recovery Spin…

Just like it sounds…

– Get on your bike. Roll out into the street – or into your living room if you’re going to do this on the turbo – 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.

–  You really should feel it when this happens. Your legs should just sorta start to loosen up a bit. It’s subtle, but it’s there. If that doesn’t happen, you might need to roll a bit longer, or you might just be really damn tired. Not being able to loosen up on the recovery spin might be a sign that you need a full day off tomorrow…

–  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.


Monday videos!




The #Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Sunday, 11.17.18. “Giving s**t away for free”

•November 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

It’s Sunday, which means you’re probably racing today. Which means you need to warm up for that race before it happens.

Or do you?

Yeah, you do.

Read on, as I make the cardinal mistake of giving away for free the kind of stuff I theoretically get paid to tell people.

Oh crap… that’s pretty much the story of this whole g-damn blog, isn’t it?

Sigh… no wonder I’m broke…



Warming 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 before the race even starts.

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 do something to warm up,  to get the legs turning over.

However you do it, warming up helps.

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 the 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.

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.

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

The whole shebang is what’s important, and in that aforementioned 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?

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 –

– 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…



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

If it’s good enough for them..W

Have fun,


* 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!