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Training Question from a Noob....

This was my first cyclocross season. And it was a good one. I finished top 5 as a beginner and moved up to finish top 15 in the B's. Whoo whoo! I can't wait to see what I can do next year! I've been reading and researching how to train over the Winter and through Mtn Bike season so I can kill it in 'cross. I'm having a hard time putting together a plan!?! How much off-time is too much? When and how do I work it so I'm getting better and faster by Fall? Thanks for any advice!

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Hi Remy,

I'm sure you'll get a lot of qualified answers soon from coaches. They'll have a lot better info as to an off-season plan. Be sure to see a bunch of related content on our site already...there's a four-part series from Michael Birner that helps outline a plan. In our print mag, you'll see a bunch of qualified coaches specializing in cyclocross coaching advertising their services.

But does the season really have to be over for you? If you're in Portland, I know there are more races, no? USGP rolls into town, and then there is nats not too far.

Anyway, I've been a bike racer for a while and I'd say one of the top priorities is to keep it fun if you plan to do it for a while. I've seen too many people adopt a plan, get fast, and then get burnt out even quicker.

But if getting as fast as possible is the goal, training with a plan makes sense.

I'm of the philosophy since cyclocross is an intense sport, keeping some limited intensity in the off-season will go a long ways. And long slow distance has little value for cyclocross but may still be fun or helpful for your mtb racing. But mix it up too - so that mentally you're fresh and ready for the season to come. You could go out and do training races all winter and spring and be fast by summer but not excited to do don't want that.

Also, for me, making training feel less like work and more fun helps - so that means traning races with buddies and less intervals.

Good luck!
Barton on Sunday
11-20 - OBRA Championships in Salem
11-21 Krugers

Not over, getting close....practice will help to get pushed to the A's to ride w Wendy and Alice
Joe Friel's Cyclist's Training Bible is a decent jumping off point. It requires some filtering but it's packed with great stuff.
Goodness, forgive me for getting ahead of myself! I meant to imply I was seeing the end of the season and thinking about a plan:) It's true after running my bike for 3 laps with a dangling derailleur at Hillsboro my sorry body thought it might be the end. I could barely beat the hill -to-stoplight on my daily commute! What's wrong legs?! But, I'm happy to report I've rediscovered my mojo after a week of rest. Barton Park and beyond! Here I come! Thanks for all the advice - I love it.
+1 bump for the Michael Birner articles.
Maybe I'll see you this weekend at OBRA Champs? (They're offering a womens' SS podium, I HAD to sign up!)
I signed up for one race during USGP-Portland weekend, and after that I am officially done racing until next summer.
I have no coach, no gym membership, no teammates who live here in town and no clue as to how to "train"; but I commute daily by bike and once or twice a week there's some cargo-biking involved. I usually take about 7-10 days totally off the bike in Late Dec-early Jan (weather dictates actual dates here -- in 2008 we had a snowstorm and it was more like 3 weeks). Then I sort of start all over again, commuting and tossing in skills rides when I get close to my short-track season in the summer.
If there's more to it, I don't really have the funds or time to devote to it in a hardcore way.
I figure as long as I can keep riding my bike I must be doing reasonably okay. Plus, well, I get to ride my bike. A lot.
Life is good.

Be sure to come to the Cross Crusade end-of-series party and celebrate your cyclocrossing in good company!


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