Preseason weight loss+strength gain for a MTB/CXer

Hi All, thank you trainerroad for a great product (and podcast). I’m looking to fix a few things that didnt go so well last season. Im a Cat 2 CXer, racing some UCI races, but a little further back than I was hoping for with my training this year. I also race Cat 1 XC MTB (20-40 goup) and want to do a bit better there. I’m 6’ 4", and weighed around 204 lbs for most the season. I do well in fast races, with less accelerations from slow speeds. My FTP usually gets to around 370-380 around the beginning of CX season. This puts me right at the edge of 4 w/kg.

The season before I had dropped down to 192 (4.25 w/kg) in the middle of CX season, and felt like I had a lot more punch. But this year it just never happened naturally, and I pretty much just maintained all year. With all the high intensity work, I sort of would expect to maintain anyways with proper fueling.

I also know I lack upper body strength necessary for MTB. I catch my HR going up, or staying high on descents that I actually dont find that tricky (I grew up racing DH). I also find I get a ton of lower back soreness at the end of longer cross races, and a ton at the end of 90-120min xc races.

So I want to make the beginning of 2018 be all about weight loss and building some strength. My plan was to do a tradition mid volume base, before starting SSB (high volume). Hoping to really focus on the off bike stuff with the mid volume and the extra time I would have. I tend to spend around 11 hours a week on bike generally, with a weekly average of around 750 TSS throughout the year. I previously have not done much, if any core/strength work.

Does this plan sound smart? or should I just hop into SSB to be more ready for my May “B” races? What types of foods should I be eating during this z2 work, paired with strength? My plan is to be tracking calories to get the weight-loss going.

Discounting the above weight loss argument for a second have you ever specifically trained this limiter of “accelerations from slow speed” - workouts focusing on torque, peak power (speed/ strength) and then transition into repeating types of intervals to build your capacity? To me it sounds like you could possibly be neglecting a whole host of gains to be made in that area of your bike riding…

In relation to the S&C work I think advice from a reputable trainer whom you can get face-to-face time with is the best way to go in terms of looking at your movement and weaknesses. Essentially you’d look to start light building form and technique with even a focus on body weight exercises and gradually transition to a fully fledged S&C programme.

Traditional Base is by far the most effective training plan for weight loss. If the races in May are just “B” races, then prioritize where you actually want to see results (future A races) and focus your training toward that.

I can’t comment on your nutrition question, but you can find a whole section of this forum dedicated to that topic here:

For your strength training, check out this article and embedded video for some inspiration:

Best of luck with your season!

Good points, I generally find teh actually issue is repeated accelerations. I’m watching people ride away from me after exiting corners at the same speed. Looking a the data in a lot of these cases im doing 1000 watts to hang on the wheel. And doing it over and over and over. My season has always gone best starting about half way through it. So this year I focused on specificity, which helped average out my year. I was doing a lot of 20/10 tabata. Wednesday night training races help me a ton, but with a rainy year, got to do much less with the mud in the local parks.

This is probably a good point about getting a trainer on the S/C stuff.


Also good point. The gap between these early B races to the A races is significant, almost two months. Thanks for all the help!