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I am hoping to race this season, and have began to train for it. I got a bike a couple months ago and have been working on adding up some mileage, but I know I need to do more to train for the upcoming season. I began doing some intervals on my regular ride loop, hopefully that will pay off well.

Here is what I have been up to so far:

starting weight 205, now down to 187

I ride a local bike trail 3 to 4 times a week, 15 to 34 miles depending on time and how I am feeling. My avg pace has crept up from 12.5-13 to 14.5-15 now. not sure about cadence as I just got a computer with it and have only had one ride so far. that ride was 20 miles, avg speed 14.6 and avg cad of 78.

I have began to add in intervals of 30 seconds on and 2 minutes rest, 6 sets. hey, Jens Voight suggested it, what can I say...

any suggestions to add to this, to change, am I missing something major?

thanks for any input.

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Not to disagree with Jensie, but for CX, I'd probably do either longer intervals or shorter.  So maybe 2 minutes on, 30 seconds or a minute off, repeat, or much shorter efforts for on and off.  So 1x1s or similar.  CX typically doesn't provide alot of long periods to coast and recover, so getting your body used to longer hard efforts with minimal recovery time will help, in my opinion. 

Dropping 20 lbs is a major move, good for you.  Keep up the good work. 

congrats on the weight loss and for giving 'cross a go!  just stay the course and keep building a solid aerobic base.  maybe add a 5th/6th day of riding if possible and incorporate some longer (5-15min) "tempo" intervals once or twice a week that start to approach your anaerobic threshold (when you find it difficult to talk in complete sentences while riding).  given that you've only been at it for a couple of months and have never raced before, short (less than 60sec) intervals aren't going to do much for your engine yet. 

more miles, tempo riding and longer intervals - that's your bread and butter and will help you adapt and set the stage for working at a higher intensity for longer periods.  you'll be racing from 30-45mins - keep that in mind as you train.  continued weight loss will certainly help.  and if there are any beginner club rides, 'cross clinics, MTB races (if you MTB), etc., definitely try to participate.  good luck! 


great info guys, just what I was hoping for.

the only reason I went with Jensie's idea was because it was the first one i read, lol. I had nothing else to base off of, so went with that. the 2 minutes off def seems like a long time, and I get antsy waiting for the next go. I am switching to 30 sec on and 1 min off for now, and will work up to more on time. I will also work on adding in the tempo work, that was something I had no idea about.

with my work schedule, it is tough to hit the local club rides, but I should be able to do at least some sunday rides the next few weeks. and no more mtb for me, I sold it after getting my CX bike.

2x20 man, get familiar.

Two efforts, 20 mins each. Each effort is steady but hard. Start way slower than you think you should. Only the last 10 mins or so (given the same pace) should feel really hard. It's  the best use of your time as far as specific workouts go.

awesome, I will go for that one on my next ride tomorrow morning.

Find a road with little to no traffic and about two miles in length (the longer the better), warm up a bit and then just start riding as hard as you can for as long as you can.  You'll develop intervals when you slow down (but not too slow about 80% or so) because you're about to puke.  When the puke feeling passes grab the drops, stomp down and have another go.  That way you'll not only increase your VO2 max, aerobic threshold and build strength, but you'll also learn to isolate, and stay just under, your ever elusive puke threshold (similar to your aerobic threshold but way nastier).  Now, as you make passes on the road have some friends ring cow bells and douse you with buckets of crud consisting of mud/sand, warm cheap beer and bits of bacon and you've got yourself a CX race!  And for even greater verisimilitude you can pack bags of frozen peas around your hands and feet.  

During all of this you must be hyper-aware of the exact moment your parasympathetic system rears it's ugly head (and believe me it will) with a mind bending "What The Hell Are You Doing!" screech.  This usually occurs around lap two of a CX race and has something to do with preserving vital organs, keeping you alive to pass on DNA, bla, bla, bla.  You must mark that moment very carefully and learn to suppress it and suppress it well.  Think of all the things wrong with the world - yappy dogs in sweaters, Jersey Shore or the guy with a rear rack on his bike and fendres who just lapped you.  This is your motivation, this is your why.  So during a race when the weather's against you, your mind's against you and you just dropped your chain - dig deeply into your deteriorating soul, find that exact moment that you practices so hard to isolate and HTFU!!!! 


"If no mistake have you made, yet losing you are ... a different game you should play." Yoda 

bwahahaha, this is simultaneously hilarious and informative.

is there a specific move to make when you pass your puke threshold? as in over your arm, under, over the shoulder? I know straight to the front would be bad, as would under the arm on the drive side....

I like the simulation you have here. Im not sure how much mud we will have, as we are a fairly dry climate, and usually not too cold as well. but I will no doubt try the bacon, and will make sure to use cheap beer for practice and good stuff for race day.

Couple of ideas for ya

Chris Carmichael's Time Crunched Cyclist and Joe Friel's book(s). Both will give you an idea of some structrured workouts so that you're not just throwing stuff at a wall and seeing what sticks.

I've used Joe Friel's book to help me have some decent success when racing at the velodrome in Sandy Eggo.

I'll point out that average anything is a useless metric. To continually chase average speed/power/whathaveyou leads to one effort level and that's about it. ...unless you're a triathlete, then that's the speed you want to go!


sounds good, gonna look those up on amazon.

I might be looking for avg things, and sort of throwing stuff at a wall. but as it stands now, I dont even know what direction the wall is. so any sort of goal to even look at is more than I have now.

I did just find out that local series is putting on some clinics soon, so I will hit that up. also, there are some people practicing at an old course not too far from me. I will go check that out this thursday.

with work schedule, travel, and a shoulder issue, I have not been able to put in any serious training the last couple of weeks. the first event is sept 30, two months from now. with some dedication, I should be able to get some good work in and be (mostly) ready for it. hmmmm, maybe I will start a public training diary...

and let me be clear, this is all for pure fun. I have no aspiration to be a J Pow or anything. if I go out, dont break my bike or myself, and dont place DFL, its a good day. if I happen to get a beer hand up, then its a great day!!

Lots of good info here.  This will be my first full season of racing (1 race in 2011) so I'm taking in what I can.

'Training' hurts. Its not nearly as much fun as JRA and tossing in a few town line sprints with yer buddies.

Training means structured sessions/working on specific skills/abilities that you need to improve on. In my case, its still top end speed, mounts, and to a lesser extent all the 'attack the transitions' that happens in cross and THAT means intervals. Intervals are teh suck. ...but there's nothing better for getting faster than doing em.



I don't disagree, but proper training is also cumulative and needs a long term view.  getting fast takes time and there's no real shortcut.  It's taken me about 8 months to shave approximately 150 seconds off a weekly 60min training race.  doesn't sound like much, but I'm pretty stoked about that progress - a lot of time went into those 150 seconds!  i expect that it will take another 12-18months to shave off a similar amount of time with a well executed plan.

high intensity Intervals have their place, no doubt.  but too much intensity without a solid base of fitness is great recipe for injury.  beginners should focus on having fun, building aerobic capacity and then introducing intensity in a methodical way as their fitness improves.  i know a few racers with really strong sprints, but they'll never get a chance to throw down because they don't have the engine to get them through a whole race.  what good is a powerful sprint if you can't use it, or attacking if you can't make it stick because you blew yourself up from a few hard efforts?  I see that a lot - lots of aggression, lack of finesse.  guilty of it myself. 

Chris Mayhew (who I believe is a coach) wrote something above that shouldn't be overlooked with respect to his advice to the OP - "It's the best use of your time as far as specific workouts go."  training is essentially time management - i.e., what is going to have the biggest impact on fitness given a certain amount of time. 

good luck to everyone this year - it's nearly time for all our training to pay off!


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