Half way though CX season, not where I need to be for a podium, time to change plans for next season?

Still enjoying the racing on alternating weekends, still enjoying the weeknight races, but it’s now clear that I am not where I want to be. Is it doing me any good to continue the CX specialty plans at this point or should I switch to base or general build? I do not race on the road, probably won’t do a single crit in 2019, might do a few XCO or long XC races but those are low priority.

I usually do the low-volume plans, frequently selecting longer-duration workout options, and try to get 3-5 hours per Saturday and Sunday outside.

My goal is year or years away and want to make the best use of my time.

Personally I think you should go all in on one or the other as regular CX races will negatively impact you base training as they’re targeting different aspects of fitness. If you don’t have any big plans for the summer I would stick the the CX plan and aim to get as fit as possible. The higher you get this year the easier it will be to attain a higher fitness next year. That’s definitely what I would do. It’s also a good opportunity to work on race craft.

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Thanks but please clarify, should I continue with CX specialty training plans now and next year? Are you suggesting no base or build plans now or next year? Thanks for clarifying.

I never miss a race, love the mud and banging bars.

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Your original plan as I understood it was too race this CX season throughout the build and speciality plans, then follow the full base, build, speciality phases into next winter (2019/20). Is that right? Because that’s what I meant!

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Sorry for the confusion. I am currently training with a CX specialty plan and racing over weekends. Not sure when to return to base or build, knowing I won’t hit my goals this year.

OK! So when does your next season of important races start?

I would finish the speciality phase, and pick an event to treat as your A race even if you’ve missed your goals.

You can then take a view of whether it’s fitness, skills, equipment etc after that race. If you’re not going to peak for anything before next CX season you’ve got enough time to take a break, re focus and then hit a new BBS cycle at full gas.

One other thing to consider is will your gridding next year be based on the results at the end of this season? If so you want to get the best fitness/results you can to ensure you start next year with good gridding.

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What is your goal? Where are you now? What targets are you missing?

Next season of important racing starts in October, 2019.

My goal is to get to cat-3 in CX by the time I’m 40 and I turn 38 in February, and that means cat-4 podiums. I am closer than I was last year. General fitness is not high enough, don’t have the snap, don’t have the 45-minute NP that I need for CX. This year I’ve be starting dead last, for better or worse, and finishing somewhere between 10-15 out of 60+ racers on the weekend 4/5 races. I started on the front row in the last race but was caught up in a crash at the start, lol. My bike handling and racecraft in general is way above average in cat-4 CX, which helps significantly as the muddier the race the better. Should I be on “general build” most of the year since I need fitness improvement everywhere or do I need to be on something else?

I don’t fit the mold of most people racing bikes with success. I didn’t start cardio exercise until age 33, never able to run a mile until my mid-30s, started this hobby at 217lb and weigh 176lb now; smoked a pack per day from age 20-33. I’m trying to be smart about this and with just over 1-year of structured training and a 40w FTP increase in that time, realize that my goals are years away rather than just 12-months.

You sound like me. Didn’t get into racing/riding bikes till like 2014. I’m 37 now. Cat 3 cx. Getting my ass-handed me to every weekend.

But, starting last row and finishing 10-15 is great. Cat 4 is no joke. You have cat 1-3 roadies in that group who are new and fit as all hell. It’s tough. My best year of cx was last year and I raced XC most of the summer and I felt that had me fit going into cx. I was on the podium every weekend in Cat 4 SS. This year I focused on crits and def do not have the longer aerobic base needed. I went back to SS low volume about a month and a half ago, and I saw some gains. Last race I was top 5 for about two laps before I started to slip - fitness. Boom.

One thing I notice was doing the CX specialty plan during race season was too much. I didn’t feel fresh on the weekends. So I went back to base workouts and felt it helped. And handling is so key. If you can take the hairpin turns faster and rip through off camber turns faster, you are leaving people behind.

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Thanks, you get it too, this takes work. There are not many people posting or racing with a total void in endurance sports earlier in life. Thanks for the advice on SSB this time of year, this is what I’m feeling as well and didn’t realize it. I think base/volume is what I need right now.

What training programs do you like from January through August, because I plan to start my CX related, VO2Max training the last week of August as that worked well for me this year. There is one, extremely hard Wednesday ride here that I have never finished which I believe doing once per week will provide “VO2Max maintenance” throughout the year.

One place where I’m stronger than the roadies this year is after a mud pit, sand pit, staircase, or something like that I can stand-up and hammer where most are blown-up. What I lack more than anything right now is steady-state pace. I approach the courses with corner speed as the top priority at all times, where it’s hard I make it harder, but my start and mid-race steady state power is definitely not high enough to see me through the end at a competitive pace. This tells me that I need to spend some time on FTP, prior to hitting VO2Max intervals in August next year, finish those in November, and then maybe SSB until January.

This year I’m putting all my eggs into Masters Road Nats since they are in Co Springs this year.
I’ll be doing SSB I and II for 10 weeks, then restarting SSB I and SSB II and then going into general build since I like to race crits, xc, and road races. Then the specialty rolling road race to hopefully peak for mid August. I hope to ride that fitness into CX for 2019 and get a few top 10s. Maybe a top 5!

Having said that, with those plans, I’ll be racing on weekends which I’ll be substituting weekend workouts with those. We also have a mid-week training crit that is a lot of fun. I live too far away for any fun and fast group rides, so I use those instead. I’ll also sprinkle in some local XC races too. I feel that helps with my cx handling. Which I severely lacked this year.

So, while we are sort of on the subject, what kind of workouts should CX racers do in the off-season? I’ve broken 9 bones in three crashes so I don’t do road or crit racing anymore, just focusing on CX and some XCO. Should I spend most of the year on sweet spot base, do I add a general build anywhere?