So how many of you 'crossers, and I'm talking to those who race here, do some kind of training program in the off season?
The subject of fitness has come up in a lot of threads and that fact that improving fitness is about the best thing you can do to improve your race day performance on the cyclocross course.
Do people people follow a program or a regimen, with intervals, time on rollers etc?
Do you race on the road as well so you are training and racing all year anyways?
Bicycle commuting do the job for you?
Are you training for summer centuries or other distance touring rides?
Are you (gasp) a jogger and that's your cross (haha) training?
Just curious. I had my last race on Jan 11th. I'm not really one for organized program following myself, but I'm doing a lot more cycling. I use Strava to track my mileage, I did 301 miles in January. I've started going on group rides when they mesh with my schedule, including a couple long/strenuous ones. I signed up for an 80 mile partially dirt road ride in March. I'm trying to organize a crew to do a century or century plus ride this spring/summer. Still have not got to speed or interval training like I told myself I would.
My regimen is:
Sat: 1-2 hour hard (threshold+) solo ride
Sun: 2 hour group ride
Mon: 1 hour active recovery ride
Wed: 1 hour ride with ~20 min of HIIT
Fri: 1 hour active recovery ride
Tue and Thurs I do weightlifting (barbell squats and deadlifts plus some accessory work) to improve core strength and "explosive" leg strength.
And the frustrating part is that it wasn't enough to even finish in the points in any of the 45+ and Cat4/5 races I did this season! Granted, I'm 47, I've only been cycling for a year and a half, and this was my first full season of CX racing, but I had no idea it would be this hard to get in shape!
Crit racing or short track MTB racing will the most similar to CX racing. Not saying that centuries are bad but you definitely want to do some fast group rides w/ attacks that really push you. I only know 1 fast guy in our series who doesn't also race road or MTB. I think that says a lot.
Get with some fast roadies in your area. Ideally you'd find a midweek and a weekend group ride with a fairly disciplined good-natured group of guys that challenges you, but if they drop you after twenty minutes it doesn't really help much, eh? Typically the weekend ride would be a Saturday morning 3-4 hour 60-miler, and the weeknight one a "Tuesday Worlds" intense, shorter effort.
I'm not saying that it's easy to find these kinds of rides. In fact they seem to be getting rarer and rarer. But IMO it's the most effective way of really figuring out what it takes to get fast.
Except for the getting off, running, and jumping back on again .. without losing momentum,..
pick up one of Simon Burney's cyclocross books .. he coaches UK cross racers.
Good ideas everyone, thanks! Kopsis that sounds like a great regimen, I probably wouldn't be to pull that off every week, but something to aim for. I have a job, family etc.
Richar and Flargle, great points. I've gone on some group rides, including a grueling 63 mile hilly one a couple weeks ago. I was wiped by the end but kept up and did my share of the pulls. I should try to find something regular. Just this week I went out with a 34 miler with neighbor who's quite serious and I think I'll be able to ride with him once a week or so. He's on a LBS team and races on the road as well as cross. There's a neighborhood weeknight crit series that he encouraged me to try, it doesn't start for a few months, but they have a few nights where they do a pre-race clinic right before the beginner's cat race so that seems non-intimidating enough for me to give a try. He said some more serious racers treat it as training so that sounds like about my speed (haha) to start with. Yep Criterium racing seems pretty similar to cross in terms of duration and intensity. (i.e. short and fricken exhausting!) Plus I'm goal and target oriented, so having something to train for and put on the calendar is helpful..
Fietsbob, thanks for the recommendation, I'll look into that book. I need to work on my remount for sure, but mainly I'm going to be on the road working on my power and endurance. I want to be able to crush that last lap come the fall races! As summer and the season approaches I'll start working on cross specific technique.