8 Tips to Get You Ready for Cyclocross Season

The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are beginning to drop. That can only mean one thing...fall is here. And with the coming of fall, also comes the start of the cyclocross season.

Cyclocross is a discipline of cycling that has very unique demands. It's not enough to simply have the highest lactate threshold or power to weight ratio; it takes finesse and resilience as well. To be successful in cyclocross, cyclists must possess the perfect blend of fitness, skill and mental toughness.

More: Crossing Over: Transitioning to Cyclocross Season

Whether you're a seasoned veteran or new to the sport of cyclocross, here are a few tips that will help you reach your cyclocross goals this season:

Practice Cyclocross-Specific Skills

Dismounting, mounting, running over barriers, bunny hopping, shouldering the bike, cornering smoothly, running up steep hills—there is so much more to the sport of cyclocross than just riding a bike. Being able to confidently and efficiently maneuver yourself and your machine through a technical, challenging course will make you a much faster rider. Set up a course that forces you to work on all of these skills and practice them at least once a week (if not more).

More: Cyclocross Is Ideal for Offseason Cyclists

Perform Workouts That Simulate Race Conditions

Cyclocross races are very intense efforts and require you to be able to go all out for 30 to 60 minutes. You need to be able to ride at your physical limit and still go harder to get through tough sections of the course.

Here is a sample cyclocross specific workout:
  1. Warm up for 10 to 20 minutes.
  2. Pedal for three minutes in zone 5 (VO2 max).
  3. Practice four mounts and dismounts.
  4. Pedal for four minutes of easy spinning.
  5. Ride four minutes in zone 5 (VO2 max).
  6. Practice four mounts and dismounts.
  7. Pedal for four minutes of easy spinning to recover.
  8. Ride hard for three minutes in zone 5 (VO2 max).
  9. Practice four mounts and dismounts.
  10. Pedal for four minutes of easy spinning.
  11. Complete two sets of 45-second start simulations (start with one foot on the ground and go out HARD, sprinting for the entire interval).
  12. Cooldown for at least 10 minutes.

More: Cyclocross Beginner's Guide

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About the Author

Elizabeth Martin

Elizabeth Martin earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Northern Colorado. She joined her school's club cycling team in 2008 and has experience racing road, track, and cyclocross. She is a certified USA Cycling coach and American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer and is currently working as a cycling coach for Zoom Performance in Des Moines, Iowa. She enjoys helping individuals of all abilities reach the next level. Visit her website at Getzoomperformance.com

Elizabeth Martin earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Northern Colorado. She joined her school's club cycling team in 2008 and has experience racing road, track, and cyclocross. She is a certified USA Cycling coach and American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer and is currently working as a cycling coach for Zoom Performance in Des Moines, Iowa. She enjoys helping individuals of all abilities reach the next level. Visit her website at Getzoomperformance.com

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