First off, I kinda sorta apologize for using a hash tag in my title. But, you have to admit, it’s a catchy title. It got you reading….
So #crossreallyiscoming – what are you going to do? With local ‘cross calendars getting updated and everyone planning weekend cyclocross get-aways, it seems like the Internet is abuzz with how to get ready for cyclocross season.
This getting ready for cyclocross season is an interesting concept. IMO, getting ready for cyclocross season means something different for every person.
Serious cyclocross racers have been thinking about and training for cyclocross well before August 1st. Serious road racers and mountain bikers are likely looking at cyclocross as great way to keep their motivation and fitness going for a while.
And then there’s the rest of us. The people who like to ride their bikes and enter in races and other bike events that sound fun. This doesn’t mean you’re not taking cyclocross seriously, but you’re not putting life on hold for cyclocross training and fretting over the exact tire/rim combination for one crazy muddy race or super sandy race (which unless you’re in Belgium likely isn’t on your radar).
This is where I’m at now. I think it’s a great place to be. It means that I have a race or two to look forward to every weekend from September to the end of November. It means that I get to hang out with my friends and do a bit of traveling now and then. It is a great way to bridge the summer riding season through to the winter fat biking (or skiing if that’s your thing) season.
So as I sit here today and think about the cyclocross season and I ask myself – “what should I be doing to get ready for cyclocross season?“, my answer is very simple – I need to ride my bike.
Yes, specific intervals might help. But likely since I haven’t done any formal training or focused cyclocross training all summer, intervals aren’t going to help me much now. I just need to get out and ride my bike.
I need to keep going for long rides, short rides, and in-between rides. I need to go a little bit harder sometimes or sprint up a short hill sometimes. I need to get out on my ‘cross bike in the woods and practice turning, descending, riding in a straight line, and other fun stuff. I need to practice barrier technique and bunny hopping. I need to practice shouldering and running with the bike. I need to do so much.
See what has happened here? By just thinking about the fun weekends ahead when I get to line up, race, tell stories after the race, and hang out with my friends, I’ve created a long list of all the things I need to do to have fun. Hmm, there is something wrong with this picture.
So, while you’re sitting here thinking about the local cyclocross season or about traveling to a race that you heard is pretty fun and has a cool vibe, don’t stress about your training, your cyclocross skills, or your tire/rim setup.
Instead put on your kit, get on your bike, and go for a ride. Suddenly, you’ll feel so much better about your cyclocross season because you’re doing what you need to do – you’re riding your bike.
When you get back from your ride and see on Strava that someone has been out doing 20/30’s or 30/30’s or whatever/whatever’s – don’t stress. Remind yourself that you’ve just been out for a really great bike ride and you’re excited about ‘cross season.
Later when you check out Instagram and you see someone posting about their latest tubeless tires or the hot new tubulars, don’t stress because you’re on clinchers or because you don’t really know anything about tire pressure. Remember why you race cyclocross and think about that awesome ride you have planned for tomorrow.
When you’re wasting time on Facebook at work and see that someone is out running in the sand with a bike on their shoulder, don’t stress because you know you’re not racing at Mol, Belgium or Koksijde, Belgium or any other race that features considerable amounts of sand running. Instead think about the ride you have planned with your friends this weekend and the stories you’ll be able to tell afterwards.
Cause really, #crossiscoming is really just about getting outside in the fall and riding your bike around a course. All the bits in between are just picky little details. Enjoy the bike riding part and don’t stress about the details, it’s the details that tend to take the fun out of the bike riding part (trust me, I’m an expert on this part).
So yeah, #crossiscoming and it really is #somuchfun but don’t #besilly and #takethefunoutofcross with getting all #crazyserious. Ask yourself why you race cyclocross and then do what makes sense for you and your answer.