The next type of rider to prepare for the mud and barriers of the fall is the all year roadie. This rider is the classically over trained/over raced bike nut. The road season is pretty demanding and the cross season usually roles without much or any break. Depending on how serious the racer is about cross, I generally schedule a period of time to have some mental/physical recovery before the season. Cross season is not long enough to decide how you want to approach the racing. Here are the main points:
- If you are new to the sport, hit the early races with some fitness to help your call up scenario. As always, best way to get good is to race early and often.
- If you have lots of experience, you can have a bit more flexibility to recover from the road season and start cross a bit later. This will also help you peak later at a National or State Championship.
- Find time to ride off road. Mountain bikes or cross bikes are fine. But starting getting used to handling that bike on terrain. This is the biggest gap the full time roadie will struggle with and it is not easily dismissed. Bike handling is HUGE in cross. Read race reports and the separation rarely occurs due to a guy “dropping everyone” like in a road race, but rather it is often “so and so bobbled in a turn” and it created the opportunity for the winning move.
- Of course, work on mounts/dismounts.
- Running. Same as the mountain bike guys, As always, work into gradually. Focus on intensity and short.
- Accelerate, a bunch, repeatedly. Road cycling has its accelerations, but often it is 23 mph to 30 mph. Very different that 5 mph to 15 mph. These are the bread and butter of the cross racer. Nearly every corner and barrier needs an acceleration afterwards.
- Find a practice cross course/training race. This really goes for all the folks getting into cross. But for the full time roadie this is very important. Shifting gears to this new discipline is not easy and needs focused time.