#crossiscoming — 2021 CX thread

Lil Sur, I also haven’t raced since 2016.

Only reasonS I’m not on cantilevers anymore are; I broke a rim, didn’t trust the fork, the bike needed more in shop labor and parts than I could justify to keep her running. If I hadn’t crashed it during a race and busted a shifter, I’d still be riding the Tiagra 9spd…

But that bike is back running with a rack and fenders (tubeless tires, though) after collecting parts at a discount and a repaint. Its a great lockup commuter, and will absolutely get stripped down to race again if I bust up the replacement, or decide that any race might require me to bring a pit bike…

Cross is fun as hell, they have only a races in Florida every year. This year I plan on heading up to Georgia for a few. I usually race cat 3 and master 35+, hopefully schedules come out soon.
My biggest problem has always been remounting.
The only trick I use to help timing the hop over my seat is I count to the number 4 then hop my hip over the seat. This year I have been starting some of my intervals with a hop on- then hit the lap key. Going slow to get the motion down, I hope it helps me this year.

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I’ve raced on the road exactly once, got my doors blown off. It wasn’t fun. I’ve raced cross a lot more, and got my doors blown off a lower percentage. It was still fun trying to ride each lap cleaner than the last.


I used Plan Builder and got a lot of VO2Max and Threshold work. Felt like I’ve gone backwards, last ramp test was down by 16 Watts. Anyone else had this effect? Other people at the races don’t seem to do this type of workouts, more sustained power or long rides.

Well, you guys have convinced me. I’m going to sign up for the DCCX race on 9/11. There doesn’t seem to any more races announced in the DC area at this point.

I guess it’s time to get some running shoes and drag my sorry butt out for a run!

This should be a hilarious adventure for an old fat guy trying to race.


Let’s not encourage stupidity now :laughing:

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Doing a ton of VO2 max and high intensity can drive aerobic adaptations and I think it often does, duh. But, it can also really drive anaerobic contribution as well and lead to a decrease in FTP. I’ll let other folks chime in who have a better understanding of what’s going on.

The same has happened to me this season. FTP is down about 10-20w but my raw power and repeatability from 30s up to 5ish minutes is at an all time high.

Tune up your FTP before the season starts

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got a friend who swears by having a couple beers the night before a race & a swig of fireball AT THE START LINE

… if it works, it works I guess


I did short power build LV once as prep for cross season. Didn’t work at all for me, my short power didn’t improve, my FTP dropped about 10%, and I had my worst season so far. I find that without a high FTP, I can’t recover from efforts quickly enough, and I can’t slog it through the mud well enough (which is a lot of what our races are).

Also the short power in shortPB is still way too long, the few times I’ve raced with a PM, I found my only long effort was the start, after that it short spikes of about 3s or so. That off course depends on your courses.

I don’t know what the answer is, for me doing more sustained work and short efforts as part of cross training/racing seems to work better.

Any good series will have an older guy racing and a fatter guy racing. Don’t compare yourself to them. Cause old guys have decades of experience on bad brakes and millions of miles in their legs, and fat guys can descend like Lindsay Vonne.

Seriously, train, race, enjoy it. Find your own carrot, try to stay with them the whole race, maybe pass them late. Or be the rabbit and try to hold off anyone (everyone?) behind you in the last lap.

If there isn’t anyone around you late, just focus on riding good lines and putting down power through as much of each curve or obstacle as you can. Its highly unlikely that anyone will pull you from the course for being lapped in the 4/5, and you may not even know when the leaders come by, but as long as you’re riding predictably no one will get mad at you for still being out there.

Its about having fun and make sure you’re having fun, even if “suffering” or “losing.”


We’ve got Clydesdale and masters but both are pretty fast at the front still.

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I appreciate it @kjdhawkhill - great advice.

@redlude97, absolutely. As a most-of-the-time-Clyde and a not quite “real” masters racer, there are people older than me who can blow my doors off, and people heavier than me who can out climb me. I like to think I can out-mud most people in the lower cats, though. Fastest guy I’ve ever ridden with is 15 years older than me and a training monster. Literally no chance I’ll ever beat him without him make a bike-breaking mistake. I don’t compare myself to him.

Hence the “don’t compare yourself to them” advice.

Grip and rip, people. Race those you’re competitive with, and if you’re alone, race yourself.


Can we chat about strategies for training during the actual season?
I’m pretty experienced but always feel there’s room for improvement.
For the next six weeks I’m doing a sweetspot block to boost my aerobic fitness. Have a regular weekly cx training session where we build and ride a course with a group which is ace fun and great training.

Come cx season, I find it’s really hard to organise training around racing. All my races are on Sundays which makes a long ride on Sat (my usual practice) less ideal.
Thus for the working Joe, you’re left with before and/or after work on Weekdays to train. This as we all know can be tough both physically and mentally, but it is what it is.
How would you structure a week with a race every Sunday?
Would you consider making around half of the races less important and use the Saturday for training?
Do you think a 4hr Z2 ride on the Saturday is all that detrimental? Often I feel OK on the Sunday after one.
What workouts would be least detrimental if done on a Saturday? Sweetspot or a short vo2 session?

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What’s your priority?

If it’s to do well at the races then I wouldn’t ride 4 hours on Saturday, but would drop that to 60-90 mins of endurance. I would not do a VO2max workout on Saturday. If anything it’s 60-90min Z2 or an opener workout.

This season I’d like to be a bit more structured and make my weeks look something like this:

Saturday: Race
Sunday: Off
Monday: Endurance (90 min)
Tuesday: FTP SESSION (2x30, 3x20, depending on where I am with my TiZ)
Wednesday: Endurance (90-min)
Thursday: Off
Friday: Openers (usually something like 45-60 min with 30s bursts every 5-min or so)
Saturday: Race

Come race season the long rides are pretty non-existent unless I purposely skip a race weekend. I also don’t do any VO2 or Anaerobic work during the race season as I find that it doesn’t allow me to be recovered, and I believe that work should be done leading into the season (4-6 weeks prior to your first races), unless you’re using the early races as workouts to build into some goal race. Then I could see doing a mid-week VO2 session and a weekend race.

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Just curious if you had checked out the current iterations of the short power build. I’m starting week 6 and it’s basically a lot of on-off stuff, Tues generally on-off 45-60sec @ vo2 type power and equal off completely, and Thurs over under 88-110%, plus a thresholdy workout Sat (at least on HV that I’m doing). with AT I’m happy with the progression level and I’m finding I get good recovery between days and I’m not burned out yet.

Ha. I’m in CO too and a cat 3. 2019 was year I separated shoulder so cx was ugly after recovering from surgery and no riding outside for 10 weeks.

Last race is SBT as well and then will be working on on/off vo2 and anerobic capacity work 2 days a week with the rest in zone 2 for long hours until the weather turns. Thursday I always run stairs a s do cx practice. Hopping logs, turns, dismount remount, off camber, hop barriers, etc but in an easy ride.

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I agree that I think concentrating on threshold type work is smart. As you say, the races give bucket loads of vo2 and anaerobic efforts.
The season is five months long so it’s nice to try progress things rather than just maintain. Nat Champs in January are really local this year and the course quite suits me so probably should be my A goal.
90 min Z2 rides don’t really progress me. I do tons of them already as I love riding my bikes outdoors, often at dawn and dusk just to celebrate the beauty of it. I’m going to need to push the envelope more to progress.

Ok, since your season is quite a bit longer than mine a longer progression sounds totally fine. I live in Minnesota and our season starts the first weekend in September and our last race is around thanksgiving. So it’s short, and it gets wet, snowy and cold fast–which makes things tricky.

It might be nice to use the first month of racing as a VO2 block, and then keep your long rides planned, with less worry about being 100% fresh for the race. Then as your season continues focus more on recovery. Again though, it all depends on what your priorities and goals are. If racing is just something fun to do then I think you can be more liberal with your time and ride structure, but if you’re looking to win and be as fresh as possible you’ll have to make sacrifices.

It’s hard to prioritise isn’t it?
One thing that falls naturally to me is that my favourite month for cx is October. Sept can be hot, November can get really bleak. December it’s hard to focus on training as there’s lots of life commitments then Jan can be a really good month with Nat Champs then about four more races and a team champs.
How about this:

Six weeks super hard ftp raising block using mainly sweetspot to get ready for the mid September fast, grassy crits.

Once season starts just race hard, do one other big session on a Tues or Wed then maximise recovery the rest of the time with some nice easy spins and gentle runs etc.

Schedule a sweetspot week once every three weeks? Either skip a race or race tired. Do you think that’s about the right frequency?

Have a mini break at some point in November when it all starts getting a bit much then do a solid ftp block during December to prepare for January. I’ve done this before to great effect.

So my big question has been reduced to how best to structure my weeks from the 12th September to around Mid November. That’s 3 months so still a decent length of time.