Preparing for Cyclocross

How to make the best of this run/cycle combo.

Photography by Brian Fitzsimmons

Sprints Galore

This workout, which takes less than an hour, is one of the best ways to prepare for a cyclocross race.

• Warm up by riding easy for 10-15 minutes

• Ride at tempo for two minutes (on a scale of one to ten, your effort should be between five and six)

• Sprint hard for ten to 15 seconds; without resting, get right back to your previous speed • Repeat, aiming for 15-20 sprints

• Cool down by riding easily until you feel your legs again

CX Practice Efforts

Here is another key workout to prepare you for the Texas State Championship, and it’s one of my personal favorites (that is, after I have finished it). I have to give credit to the man Hunter Allen (who coaches a lot of pro athletes) for developing it. He calls this workout CX Practice Efforts.

• Warm up well with at least 10-15 minutes of easy riding and two to three one-minute efforts with a one-minute rest between each, just to wake your legs up.

• Find a nearby park or easy off-road area where you can bike for five minutes. If there are natural obstacles where you can practice dismounting/remounting, great; if not, we’ll play pretend. Your objective is to practice the start of a CX race and push your VO2max.

• Start with one foot on the ground. When ready, take off as hard as you can for 30 seconds and then settle into the hardest pace you can maintain for the next four minutes. You should be breathing like crazy (and getting even crazier looks from anyone who sees you).

• No matter how much your legs are screaming at you, push the final 30 seconds so that you end the four-minute segment going pretty much as hard as you can.

• Take five minutes or more to recover—and forget how hard that was—and do it three to four more times before cooling down.

• Take as long as you want to cool down. Longer is better, so take your time.


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