skills

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Cyclocross Burnout

 

How has your season Gone? feel free to book a phone consult to tell me about it!) 

Canadian Cx Nationals have happened and the weather has turned towards fall/winter/cyclocross weather in most places. Cyclocross season is here, but where is your motivation? And who stole those fresh September legs!

Regardless of where you live and how you built or failed to build your fitness for cyclocross season, it is a bold goal to take on 1, or 2  (or more!) races for 1, or 2 (or more!) months. Most of us come out of a mountain or road season and neglect to take a mid-season break or rebuild our endurance. We jump into one or two (or more) cross practices (which are races) a week plus the early season races to test our legs, get the intensity and those coveted early points.

The problem is we get tired from the repeated back to back weekends of racing.  We miss our weekend fun rides, our endurance decreases, and the weather starts requiring more work to get motivated and prepared for. 1 or 2 (or more!) bikes need to be prepped before each race and repaired after each race. Then work comes Monday. This is tiring even typing and remembering trying to race cyclocross as an unsupported pro!

So what should you do?

If your goal was to race until a certain race then that may still be possible. Take a week off the cross practices, go to bed early and do only easy workouts all week. You will feel better next weekend. If you can take the full week easy and get some longer endurance rides in on the weekend. This should make next week and next races go much better. If there is no obvious reason to race twice weekly (including weekly races) than stop doing that and focus on the key races remaining on your calendar.

Getting your indoor training environment setup to make workouts quick and get to sleep earlier will help with short days. Keep focused and don’t forget endurance and lower intensity workouts. Skill workouts in the mud and wet, along with practicing your clothing choice will pay dividends in the late season mud races.

For the remainder of the season ride your favorite discipline most of the time for outdoor training and spend time working on your cyclocross skills. Most people need to work more on cornering, dismounts/carry/mounts much more than they think. If you seat is inside your armpit or you are not grabbing your top tube before most barriers then there are 2 pretty easy ways to boost your efficiency.

Are you racing without a goal?

If you did not have a big goal race or end date then I would end the season now. Why race yourself into deep fatigue and low motivation for no reason? Take a week, or two (or more!) off and try to grab a few more road or mountain bike rides while you can. Start looking towards 2018 and planning training gradually towards that goal after the important break. SmartAthlete.ca for thoughts on ‘when to start training for your big goal’ 

 

3 Common Mountain Bike Mistakes That Steal Your Speed

3 Places I see clients loosing ‘free’ speed are found below.

Too often I get to see clients too late. At the race site in the days before the race is a tough time to make change in your trained movements (good or bad).

Our skills are very much connected to our end performance but it is ‘easy’ to over-look how much a daily focus on skills can change our performance, enjoyment and safety on bike.

These are 3 of the most common areas I see clients loosing speed and efficiency on trail.

peter vertical on hardwood rock by ivan rupes

A crazy photo but demonstrating that as the hill gets steeper we need to shift forward to stay upright and powerful

1) Hills are Hard

              -> Does Client understand (and use) shifting to optimize cadence and carry speed?

              -> Standing up balanced and powerfully ? (need to do this in training to do it in races)

              ->  shift forward on the saddle. Often riders will have seat slammed back and sit on back of saddle. As hill gets steeper shift your butt forward to stay upright – train to avoid ‘boobs to the bar’

2) Frequent Flats, Wheels busted, trouble in bumpy-tech sections

              -> Work on front wheel/ rear wheel lift (related videos) – Start today w. a stick on ground and on curbs

              -> Work on pump track / not pedaling in sections that have whoops and berms to practice generating speed without pedaling *in practice … keep pedaling in races!

              -> Ensure maintain centered position on bike (attack position) when ‘pumping’ terrain and on downhills (rarely need to be BEHIND saddle)

              -> How to fix flats and setup Tubeless 

3) Stopping pedaling when terrain flattens

               -> Most people loose time at the top of climbs where we can still pedal but the terrain does not ‘force’ us to. Power drops, speed stays SLOW. We need ‘spin out the gear’ to get back up to speed.

               -> use those ‘spinups’ and high-cadence drills from the trainer and road to motivate your MTB performance. Get back up to speed at top of climbs before taking rest

               -> use downhills to recover and pedal hard when you can pedal. Practice this on road and mtb by keeping steady power on ups, downs and flats

Feel free to reply with Questions or ideas !  Or comment on facebook!

Peter