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Cyclocross HR -- Should I being working so hard to be this slow?

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Cyclocross HR -- Should I being working so hard to be this slow?

Old 11-19-13, 04:07 PM
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Hatman52
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Cyclocross HR -- Should I being working so hard to be this slow?

Reviewing my Garmin HR chart from my latest cylcocross race, and I'm above 90% of my self-tested max HR the entire race, with an average of 92% and a high of 99%. Should I be aiming to keep my HR below 88%, which is my self-tested LT? I definitely feel better if I can stay in this range when on the practice course, but in a real race, I have to ride this hard just to stay with the tail-enders. This is my first year with CX, but I've been riding for 5 years, do a lot of base miles in spring and summer, switching to HIT in late summer and fall.
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Old 11-19-13, 04:30 PM
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Oh yeah, definitely feels better to ride easier. The answer is that the other riders aren't advertising it, but they're hurting just as bad as you are. At least you are staying with someone! You gotta do whatever you can do. CX is anaerobic. You don't want just base miles leading up to the season. You want a progressive increase in your intervals all the way from spring. Base starts when the season is over. Your anaerobic work will be more effective with a long build that includes all the basic aerobic interval types:
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ut-recipe-book

Some weight work wouldn't be out of place just before and early season. I like to do sets of 30 at the max weight I can use for those reps. That seems to stimulate anaerobic potential. See:
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ssion-Workouts
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post14942751
I cut down to 1 set of 30 early season, then stop.

Thinking about that some more: CX is about 3 months out of phase with high season road biking around here, so starting build in late April should be about right.

Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 11-19-13 at 04:46 PM. Reason: Thinking about that some more
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Old 11-20-13, 10:54 PM
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Hatman,
Welcome to high intensity racing! I like the question you posed in your title. I felt like that just the other day riding into a stiff headwind downhill! Anyway, as to your concern, I would guess that in a beginner level race you are racing well under an hour, so I would expect that if you have the goal of staying with the pack/leaders, you will need to be going harder than functional threshold(lactate threshold.)
Starting in the base period, train the upper level of zone 2. Spend a lot of your base time here. This will help increase your power output that is below threshold. Weight training will also give you the ability to make surges that you need to make in cross races.
Make sure that as you get to your build periods, that you are doing enough work above threshold. This is painful work but it builds your capacity for these efforts and gets you accustomed to the feeling of going that hard. For cross racing I would be looking at more work above threshold than at threshold during build, especially late build.
When you race in short but intense races, expect that your heart rate will be quite high. Its normal. If its not high you should either be winning easily or concerned for your health. Hope this helps some.
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Old 11-21-13, 02:06 PM
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This was my first season racing cross and I have had the same experience. The exception was during a muddy clay cross race where my crappy handling skills resulted in something that resembled more like a group ride.
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Old 11-24-13, 08:59 PM
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Thanks for the feedback, guys. You read a lot about "staying below" redline and the whole "burning matches" thing, so it's good to hear I'm not the only one who seems to just light the whole damn book of matches on fire at the start and then just tries to survive the rest of the race!

Definitely trained with a "CX purpose" this year, so I'm probably just a little frustrated I'm not doing better. This is really my first year (I did a couple races in 2010), so maybe I'm just expecting too much. I do think I'll do more lower body work in the gym once the season is over. I used to think riding was enough for my legs and just focus on my upper body in the gym, but I'd like to see if some leg work could help increase my power.
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Old 11-24-13, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Hatman52 View Post
Thanks for the feedback, guys. You read a lot about "staying below" redline and the whole "burning matches" thing, so it's good to hear I'm not the only one who seems to just light the whole damn book of matches on fire at the start and then just tries to survive the rest of the race!

Definitely trained with a "CX purpose" this year, so I'm probably just a little frustrated I'm not doing better. This is really my first year (I did a couple races in 2010), so maybe I'm just expecting too much. I do think I'll do more lower body work in the gym once the season is over. I used to think riding was enough for my legs and just focus on my upper body in the gym, but I'd like to see if some leg work could help increase my power.
Some core work would probably help, too. You have to do a lot of odd stuff that takes some agility. I use the Core Advantage book.

After you get some strength built up doing leg work, you might try some box jumping: See how high a box you can jump up onto, like 10 reps. 3'+ is common. Then see how high a box you can jump onto one-legged. That builds explosive force without doing the damage that some plyometrics can do.
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Old 11-25-13, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Hatman52 View Post
Thanks for the feedback, guys. You read a lot about "staying below" redline and the whole "burning matches" thing, so it's good to hear I'm not the only one who seems to just light the whole damn book of matches on fire at the start and then just tries to survive the rest of the race!

Definitely trained with a "CX purpose" this year, so I'm probably just a little frustrated I'm not doing better. This is really my first year (I did a couple races in 2010), so maybe I'm just expecting too much. I do think I'll do more lower body work in the gym once the season is over. I used to think riding was enough for my legs and just focus on my upper body in the gym, but I'd like to see if some leg work could help increase my power.
Keep at it and things should turn around eventually. At least I hope it does for me.
I have learned to have fun regardless of where I finish. To be honest that has been a heck of a challenge for me (easier said than done).
My main limiter at the moment is a lack of handling skills and race experience. That and competitive wise I learn at a snale's pace. Bike racing for me has a rather steep learning curve.

Race lots, train, and have fun.
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