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Raced my first cross race last weekend and got killed. It was to be expected but I'd like to do better.  I have 2 days a week I can devote to training and am interested in the biggest bang for the buck ideas to help speed me up!


I rode a road bike for most of the summer but spent most of the time on longer, slow rides so I need to up the intensity now.  


Any advice would be appreciated.



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Can you hit a local cross practice?

It's hard to say exactly what to do with limited information. I'd probably suggest some TT type intervals, say 2x20, to raise your functional threshold power, since that is the primary determinant in endurance bicycle racing.

But, maybe you overstart or your handling skills need work in case I'd prescribe something different.
Thanks, Chris.

I'm sure I need help all around! I am going to attend a weekly cross clinic starting on the 23rd so hopefully I can progress there.

I need to build up some power ASAP. How do you do 2x20?
2x20 are usually 2 intervals of 20 minutes, with a 5 minute rest in between. You do these as hard as you can with a steady effort.

I also like Tabata intervals, which one set is 20 seconds sprint/100% with 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times. You are usually doing pretty good once you can do 3 sets with a 5 minute rest period between.

It's also vital that you spend some time running with your bike, practicing mounting and remounting as well. You'll probably lose more time being sloppy than you will by not having explosive power.

Good luck!
Thanks a lot. I'll try the 2x20's tonight and the Tabata's on Thursday.
This is some great advice Chris.. Thank you. Any idea where the term "Tabata" comes from?
Some Tabata background.

I have used Tabata for about 2 years - started using it for weightlifting. I quickly started incorporating it into other excercises like plyo's, & eventually to cycling.

Since 20 second / 10 second rests is hard to time on a bike I found the best way to do this is find a really big parking lot that makes a loop (Church, office complex, etc - something closed at consistent times during the day/week). Use a timer & figure out a loop that takes you about 20 seconds to sprint & then spin for a bit to rest and ride it again. You will start to memorize the landscape markers as your start & stop points.

I cycle it in & out of my normal workout for a few weeks throughout the year - typically before events.
Cool info. How many times a week would you do these?
I think of Tabata just like a leg lifting workout day. Give yourself 48 hours to recover.
During race season if you race Sunday then doing intervals like this on Tues & Fri will give good recovery periods.
One thing that I've thought about for dealing with the difficulty of timing the intervals is recording an mp3 file of me telling myself to START, STOP, COOL DOWN, GET GOING AGAIN. My wife's mp3 player is tiny and records, trouble is we can't find it. But someone else may have better luck. There are even some programs to splice together two mp3s so you could have music on top of you talking to yourself, if that's your thing.

I've been doing Tabata's with lose timing. They seem good, I know I'm a wet, shaking mass after the approx 20 min to do the routine. That's got to count for something. The research numbers are good.
Did a set of 2x20 last night. Really pushed hard through both intervals and can feel it today. Had to convince myself I could finish the second 20 minutes strongly and made it through.

Thanks for the help.
I don't have much time either. So I go spinning!!!
45min high cardio, just like CX. Sounds crazy but it works.
I also recommend intervals - I've started doing intervals too and found some boost from this. I'm doing 1 minute on, 2 minutes off to start with for 30 minutes as part of a longer ride. The one minute one should be as hard as you can go in more or less the biggest gear you can turn. I generally go for the biggest gear I can turn at 70 or so rpm, but I'm only just starting out on this too. Seems to have brough some rapid boosts tho.

Make sure you warm up for 15 minutes before any interval session and warm down again at the end.


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