The last cyclocross racing type is the cross season specialist. It seems like many of the folks raced mountain or road for years and have migrated to cross as they have had other demands on their time. Since cross is a 60 minute maximum race, the training no longer requires 5 hour road rides or driving all day to mountain bike race. Although these folks have it dialed usually, often times I see these riders become too one discipline focused or in a rut. Here are a few tips to really perform at a top level:
- Get a base. This will support a longer season of racing and racing back to back. I know the race is only 45-60 minutes, but an aerobic base is critical in cycling.
- Do some mass start races. Getting a handle on riding in a crowd can be lost and take a few races to get back into it.
- Find ways to improve on your weaknesses. Whether it is running, climbs, or hopping barriers, there are always small components to improve. Don’t settle for knowing the sport, attack these in training.
- Try to be super trim for the season. Because of the acceleration factor, weight becomes even more important in cross. Creating a food plan that keeps you lean, but ready to train can always be a place to improve.
- Work on starts. Even the some of the best racers I know have some pretty bad starts. They just don’t work on it ever.
As an experienced racer, trying to find places to improve may seem difficult. However, many a rider has shown over the years that bike racing in all forms is pretty complicated. If there is anything I have learned over the years, it is that I don’t know it all. (or even most of it) Keep looking for that next thing to push your racing to the next level.