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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.

 

Thanks.

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Thanks to you all for your suggestions. Feeling stronger in the races but still have a long way to go.
Hills, steep ones, and lots of them. Fartlek or Speed-play. Set up a practice course at your local park, make it twisty and tough then go out and alternate fast laps with slow laps for an hour. Don't overthink it. If you don't have power, go build some by doing the things that require power. If you can't corner fast, go rip around your local park or ride the mountain bike. If you can't turn yourself inside out for the amount of time required then double up (race two races on race day, like your category and your age group or single speed). Actually, doubling up is the single fastest way to get faster, I went from a 4 to a 2 in one season doubling up.

First race of the season I always get killed too. It's an opportunity to be humbled and remember that most of the guys who're carrying serious fitness from their road or mountain bike seasons are going to fade by November, right when you're getting your form.
Well, that's encouraging! I should be getting into form by the end of November!

As a Field Service monkey, I don't get to ride very much, so I have been following this thread with intent. When I do get to ride, I hit the nearby steep hills and ride four or five in about an hour. But intervals sounds like what I need to do.

Also, didn't think I could carry much by doubling up but I will definitely give it a go. Definitely need to do something to move up from mid-pack. THanks.

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