Cycling to races - incorporate training specificity to include commuting to races?

Hi all!

A long one - so I really appreciate any of you that pitch in.

I have just finished my first ever race season of XC after starting MTB in January 2022. These races include 2 XCO style races just under 2 hours in February and two weekly league races on Tuesday night and Thursday night which ran for two months between May and June! The league races run on ‘natural’ trails built by the respective clubs, so they are quite Technical, Rocky, Rooty, Slippy.

For this year - my focus was to stay upright, building skills and experience whilst not focusing much on my position or actually ‘racing’. Overall, I think I have made the best out of what I could for the fact I have only been riding MTB for 6 months. On the tuesday night race I am around 2 minutes behind the winning times (38mins vs 40mins)

Now that the season is ‘over’ I am looking to how I can build specific fitness for my races next year - One consideration is that I cycle to and from the races. For example the Tuesday race is about 23km away with 400M of climbing in between (cat 3 climb) - so sometimes I will need to ride tempo in order to make it on time. The ride time by the end of the race will be somewhere over 2hrs 45 mins - the race being 40 mins or so.

Is the fact that I need to cycle to races something I should consider in my training for next year? The typical approach would be to do Short Power Build and XCO - but would being able to consistently do 2-3 hour rides mid week and getting use to recovering from that sort of volume whilst maintaining a full time job and other obligations?

This year I peaked around 4.5wkg but have found it difficult to stay consistent due to stress/injuries/sickness and traveling. Even so - it has been my most consistent year cycling to date!

My goal right now is to do a bunch of z2, learn to consistency log hours, get better at MTB and jump to build and specialty phase 2 months before the race season starts again next May - hopefully build up to 70CTL before build and drop down to around 60 during build as this is the CTL i will need to maintain during my race season. I will do this by incorporating Z2 before and/or after my Trainerroad workouts to extend the workouts (Low Volume) to replicate what I would be doing during the races.

What say you?


If the cycle to the start is reasonable to be a proxy for your warm up IMO I don’t think you need to anything special. If its a bit longer and takes something out of you you may need to think about its impact on your TSS and the race; I’m not sure what you would do though. For events I’ve had to cycle to I’ve just given myself plenty of time so there is no impact to my knowledge at least.

Think if you work on longer endurance rides, you’ll have plenty of fitness to ride to the races without impacting them too much. If you only do TR short power build and XCO, especially as LV, you’ll likely not get enough endurance work, so I’d make use of the rest of the summer for some longer 3h+ rides outside.

I found early I need at least 20 min and hopefully touching high HR for 5 min solid to be ready for an MTB race. Riding to and from make it happen so I think this is good.

All i’d say is when you set your future plans and put in your races - look back at commute + race and use that estimated duration and TSS…TR and AT will take care of the rest…

So if your A race is 1 hour at 250 TSS, and you have a 30 min commute on either end that’s 50 TSS…then i’d set my A race to 2 hours at 350 TSS.

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