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Question for all you experienced CXers(24 posts)

Question for all you experienced CXersdave_w
Nov 23, 2003 12:08 PM
I've done a few races this year and notice that after 6 to 8 minutes of racing I am going into a lull, low on power and mentally it's tough to stay on it hard. I slip back into the field, but by race end I generally pass back a couple of riders. Is this just a warm-up issue, or is there specific training you guys do to prepare for the AT starts that seem to characterize CX? Also, can you give a brief rundown of your warm up routine?
re: Question for all you experienced CXersmosovich
Nov 23, 2003 3:49 PM
Sounds like to me it's your warm up, OR, your going out too hard, recovering and then getting a second wind.
re: Question for all you experienced CXersHeavyD
Nov 23, 2003 5:01 PM
FWIW: Cyclocross races for me are always about operating at or over redline. Interval training has been helpful in shortening my recovery time. Something that I've started doing this year that I believe is helping is beginning my prehydration the night before. At least it helps to flush some of the alcohol out. I usual ride slow circles in the parking lot for about 15 minutes followed by a pre-ride of the course. If a certain transition has me worried, I will reride it until it feels good or it's time to stage. During the race I will think about "what I'd do with a million dollars" or whatever it takes to keep my mind off the pain.
"Two chicks at the same time" nmlampshade
Nov 24, 2003 12:25 PM
"Two chicks at the same time" nmEric Marshall
Nov 24, 2003 12:56 PM
Excellent movie reference! As an old-time IT guy, I particularly liked the flic.
watch your cornhole, budcbass
Nov 24, 2003 1:18 PM
and give me back my Swingline...bk19
Nov 25, 2003 7:16 AM
or I'm going to burn the building down.
My warm ups...skateparks
Nov 24, 2003 8:07 AM
consist of as much time as I have before my race, sometimes 30-60 minutes just pre-riding, small ring climbs and assessing the temperature to determine the proper clothing. thing that I do is to absolutely max myself at least three times (for only 30 seconds each) within 15 minutes of the start of the race, that way, in my mind anyway, I have gotten that "monkey" off my back before it matters.

Also, my body likes 2-3 power shots (whatever brand gels you like) just before the start and I think that allows me to avoid that dilemna you are experiencing. Since my training is for 2+ hour MTB races, my body has the hardest time adjusting to the lack of stored carbs and the necessity for sugars (again, for my body maybe not yours) and the gels seem to accomplish that and my bosy seems to react well to them.

The final thing to do is to replicate a race at least once mid-week. Get used to that feeling. You can do it running, on a trainer or spinning bike, whatever. The point of CX is to use the conditioning that you accumulated over the season, just in a little different package.

These pointers may not work for you so take them for what they are worth. Hope they help some what.

Race Day RoutineGripped
Nov 24, 2003 10:17 AM
1) Night before -- I eat a lot for dinner. I drink more than usual but not so much that I have to pee more than 2-3 times during the night.

2) Breakfast: I eat something I know I can handle without urps when operating at high intensity. For me it is certain brands of breakfast cereal. I eat this about 3 1/2 hours before race time. Glass of water.

3) Second breakfast: Low urp yogurt (again, I had to try several different kinds to find the one that works for me) about 2 1/2 hours before racing. Another glass of water.

4) Driving to race (all my drives are 1 hour or less), I drink about a liter of Gatorade.

5) Arrive at race 1 hour and 15 minutes early. I pull my bike off and make sure that it still works (did a throurough check the night before) and recheck tire pressure.

6) Register and scout. I will walk/jog the course while the C's race. This comences my warm up.

7) Get on the bike and warm up. I try to keep my HR in the 70% range. I'll ride for 30 minutes. During and after this stage, I drink water.

8) The series I race allows 15 minutes between the C's and B's for course pre rides. I don't do that any more. Instead, I get to the staging are 15 minutes before the race and do some low intensity cicles. About not preriding, I know that hardly anyone will tell you not to preride, but everytime I preride, I get a crappy stage position. This past Sunday, I prerode a portion of the course to check out some parts I thought might be nasty and got to the staging area with plenty of time to go. If you have lots of time to preride, then do it.

9) As soon as riders look like they are about ready to start staging, I do 2-3 race start sprints and then line up. I like to get second row on the side that will be the inside line for the first turn. I'm not in any danger of winning but I want a good start.

10) Race: Go like heck off the line and push as hard as I can as long as I can that first lap. Then settle in and try to hang on peoples wheels as they come around. Eventually, I settle into a groove with a small group. Chances are that I'll pass a couple or more on the last lap.

I don't drink during the race. My body can't handle anything while operating at such a high intensity. Also, I can't consume anything remotely solid or flavored from about 45 minutes before race time on since I'll urp during the race.

Good Stuffdave_w
Nov 24, 2003 12:04 PM
Lots of ideas to think about and experiment with. Thx, Dave W.
re: Question for all you experienced CXersBridgestoner
Nov 24, 2003 3:11 PM
I would bet the million bucks that was mentioned above, that your problem is not improper warm up. You have an endurance problem. Those guys you're picking off in the end are just lacking endurance in a bigger way.

I'm sure you're doing your intervals and all that fun stuff, but have you been and are you riding a ton, I mean a ton, of endurance miles? Are you getting in 5-6 days a week. C'mon, quit that sissy 6 figure office job and get serious.

"Train slow to go fast."
I don't know what I'm talking aboutiktome
Nov 24, 2003 3:15 PM
anyone who thinks lots of endurance miles are key to succeeding in cross, doesn't race cross.
I don't know what I'm talking aboutatpjunkie
Nov 24, 2003 3:38 PM
last year I had heaps of mileage under my belt, it helped me maintain a solid pace but lacked punch when I needed it. this year I planned on a more cross specific regimen but had a kid instead. I feel a cx specific workout would be superior but I also miss that huge base mileage as well.
I don't know what I'm talking aboutBridgestoner
Nov 24, 2003 6:00 PM
Challenge me on a cross course, iktome. You're not being helpful here. Read Dave's question again. Read it carefully and make an effort to see where his problem may lie. Now read my reply - the part about already doing the "intervals and fun stuff."

Don't misunderstand, I never intended to sugest that EM's were THE KEY to (everyones) success, but that they may be the missing element in Dave's program. The KEY to his success, of course, would be consistant, well rounded, year round work with a cross specific program begining as early as August.

Now maybe he need's to do several 6-8 minute (his admitted time - to- fade) white hot burning intervals above his LT, with an appropriate recovery in between. Maybe he needs to increase the time of each interval during subsequent workouts with the ultimate goal of linking them together by gradually reducing the recovery time. But, you can't do intervals and other higher level sessions everyday. My guess is that Dave doesn't ride every day, and when he does, he chooses the more difficult ride forgoing the longer slower endurance miles.

I was just offering a suggestion based on my past similar experience.
Hmmm....what was your constructive, experienced suggestion for Dave again?
I still don't know what I'm talking aboutiktome
Nov 24, 2003 10:41 PM
I wasn't offering any constructive, experienced suggestion. I was suggesting you didn't know what you were talking about. That alone is helpful, lest Dave think 4 hour rides in November will solve his problems.
I still don't know what I'm talking aboutBridgestoner
Nov 25, 2003 6:25 AM
Well, scroll down Coach. Dave so much as admits he doesn't ride even 4 hours a week. What program do you follow that teaches intervals on top of NO foundation?

Dave, there are many fine books and videos available that will help you for next year. In the mean time, get on your bike. Next cross season starts today.
I still don't know what I'm talking aboutdave_w
Nov 25, 2003 4:35 PM
LOL, well it's not like I have zero base, I raced mtb a bunch this year and trained for and ran a 5k shortly before CX season started, so I thought it might be a fun time to jump in. I've just gotten relaxed(okay, lazy) and not done much for several weeks now except the CX racing. I mostly was really wondering about the lull, and it probably is due at least in part to extended couch-potatoeness. Thanks for your input!
Vervecken's Training...Dwayne Barry
Nov 25, 2003 3:29 AM
seems to include a good bit a volume without much intensity. I exchanged some emails with him last year and this is what he said was a typical week.

Mon: 1 hour Recovery ride
Tues: 2 hour road ride
Wed: AM 30 Minute Run, PM 3 hour road ride with hill sprints
Thurs: 2 hour road ride
Fri: 1 hour Recovery
Sat and Sun: Race

When I asked him about intervals, he said they were too draining and that he rarely includes them. There is definitely a place for longish endurance rides in a cross program simply because these rides contribute to increasing a rider's oxidative capacity without the mental burn-out of high intensity stuff.
re: Question for all you experienced CXersdave_w
Nov 24, 2003 4:10 PM
Ultimately I think that is a problem, yesterday's GA series course was roadie heaven, and I, the lower milage riding mtb'er, suffered more than on the couple of other courses that I've raced. I'm not doing intervals, not riding but one day a week, and mostly racing because my GF is, so I'm there anyway...but when the gun goes off I'm in competitive guy mode, and so it sucks when one problem or another pops up.(lost a place yesterday to a mechanical) Just trying to work out the kinks so I can have the most fun and finish as high as my fitness that day will let me.
This is really my relaxation period, soon I will actually start on your "Train slow to go fast" program. :)
Yo DaveSadlebred
Nov 25, 2003 9:15 AM
Yo this "KT" on my old bike's Dave??
Yo Davedave_w
Nov 26, 2003 3:50 PM
Uhhh, could be, but I'll never admit it because the enemy, I mean competition, will see all the good advice I'm getting! Looks like I'll have to change my screen-name to be a little more anonymous. ;)
Train slow to go LONG...skateparks
Nov 24, 2003 4:34 PM
LSD rides for CX training? Not for this kid...I just spent 6 months raising my endurance and would be better off doing 5k runs every other day to be a better CX racer. Everyone trains differently for different results but I don't agree with LSD rides in November...

CX is all about being able to see with your eyes rolled back in your head from oxygen deprivation. During my "training season", it takes me 2 hours to warm up!!! I don't see how that corrolates to the CX racing I do, but to each his own.

Simon's Bookatpjunkie
Nov 24, 2003 6:40 PM
IMHO has the best training directions. combines running riding and at a variety of HR levels
re: Question for all you experienced CXersdlbcx
Nov 24, 2003 10:19 PM
Clark Natwick has some pointers on training. Check it out here: