Thinking Cyclo-Cross

Yes, it is that time of the year. The time of the year when you’re getting your cyclo-cross bikes ready and planning your race season. A fantastic time of the year.

Maybe you’re getting out for some rides on some single track, setting up a barrier and some flags in your local park and doing drills, adding in some running to your training program, or working on nailing that uphill dismount. All good things to be doing right now.

I always found that at this time of the year it helps to get out for even just 20 minutes on the cyclo-cross bike. Even if all you do is practice clipping in and out of your pedals so you can “nail” your pedals on every remount – this will go a long way on race day. Other things you can do include:

– practicing your off-camber riding skills – get comfortable with the bike lean, maintaining constant pedal pressure, and looking forward as you pedal
– dismounts and remounts – practice them any way you can – on corners, uphills, slow, fast, in sand, on a hill, on a slight downhill – the more you’re comfortable with this skill, the easier your racing will be
– cornering – cyclo-cross is not raced in a straight line, get comfortable with how much speed you can take into different corners – think loose terrain, grass, uphill, downhill, blind – get creative
– tire pressure – this is huge – play around with your tire pressure – get used to what your tires do at 15 PSI (yes 15), 18, 22, 25, etc (please if you’re running tubulars do not pump them up so they are rock solid). I typically will race with between 17 – 25 PSI…
– looking ahead – it is easy when out riding a course or on some singletrack to end up looking only one or two feet in front of the front wheel – look up, anticipate – this will help you stay off your brakes and you’ll be impressed with how your brain reacts for you

These are just some of the things you can do with a 20 minute block of time. These might sound trivial or even obvious but by doing small drills like this consistently, you’ll soon build up a really solid base of skills that will come second-nature to you on race day.

Of course number one is to have fun out there.

As always, if you have any questions about racing, training, skills, or about cyclo-cross in general – don’t be shy. Leave a comment. Drop me an email vickith@yahoo.com. Contact me on Twitter (@vickitopcrosser). Or grab me on Facebook.

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