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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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@ David Whitlock, I don't think I have ever read a description of what it feels like to ride CX as colorful and descriptive as yours!


Well done my good man!


great input on this, thank you. as I keep riding, my base is building. I come home from work and peel off a 20 - 30 mile ride without issue, and feel great after. I will continue to build on this on a regular basis, while adding in the tempo and interval  work. I really need to set a schedule and stick to it; getting this set is my goal for this weekend.

I had my bike with me at work last night and went for a spin on my lunch. there is a loop I can do that is right at 1.5 miles. I did 9 laps, and during that an interval session of 30 seconds on, 1 min off, 8 reps. that really felt good. when not on for the interval and just getting saddle time in, it was fairly leisurely. I would go for 1 min on and 1 min off, but right now, I would die, lol. I know I will get there though. riding at 3AM is really nice right now: temps are excellent, good roads, and hardly any cars at all. I think I will use this as a regular interval session for time being. I dont think there is enough time for me to do any tempo work and include a warm up and cool down as well.

how many interval sessions a week might I look at doing like this, 3 or 4 maybe?  of course, this would be in addition to other endurance/mileage/tempo work as well.

setting a schedule is key, and you're on that.  that's really the best place to start - with consistency, you'll start to get a feel for how to properly build/recover/peak so that you see steady progress, avoid long plateaus and are ready on race day.

everybody is different, so it's hard to really recommend workouts.  some folks can get by with less rest than others, some folks need more of this or that to see improvements here or there ... honestly, there's a lot to be said for smart, methodical trial and error so that you land on something that works for *you.*  not just with daily training, but pre-race nutrition, pre-race warm-ups, post race nutrition, race pacing/strategy. . .... hope you're ready to get your geek on, because you're going to nerd out on all this stuff soon enough! 

for suggested weekly schedules, I think there are some training articles on cxmag somewhere.  take them with a grain of salt.  cheers!

thanks again, Patrick.

I did a 37 mile ride today, with the 20 minute tempos worked in. hard to gauge exactly how hard my effort was, but I kept my cadence between 90 and 95 during the effort. I think I kept my gearing the same the entire time, save for maybe a couple quick down shifts on the very short but very steep climbs ( a hundred feet or so in length at the most, but 15% grade maybe). it was in the last 5 or 6 minutes that I was starting to feel a bit beat up, but kept at it. overall, it felt great!! on the way home I threw in a couple random sprints, all out for maybe 30 seconds or so until I had no more go. I figure it might have been applicable as a long race effort with a sprint finish (not to win, but to not be DFL....).

I worked up a tentative weekly plan for now. of course, it will have to have some flexibility in it due to work and other commitments, as well as energy level and injury issues. working nights can really be tough on sleep, but it does free up good early morning time for riding. my shoulder issue is lessening, and within a couple weeks should be gone. as I get more training in, I know I will be able to up a lot of these efforts, to keep from plateauing. another thing I am thinking about is some running and other cross training. it will need to be done, but I just hate to run. I pretty much only run when chased.

so, here is what the schedule is at this point.

Monday, early AM:

Early AM: intervals 30 seconds on, one minute off, 8 sets

Tuesday: Open: off day, easy spin, intervals, tempo, climbs

Wednesday, early AM: intervals 30 seconds on, one minute off, 8 sets

Thursday, early AM: intervals 30 seconds on, one minute off, 8 sets

           afternoon: CX course practice

Friday AM: Tempo ride, 2 x 20 minute efforts, 5 or 10 min between

Saturday: Tempo ride, 2 x 20 minute efforts, 5 or10 min between or longer endurance ride

Sunday: Open - off day, easy spin, intervals, tempo, climbs,group/club ride

two more bits of general advice:

1.  key workouts: identify them and don't skip them.  find the time for them, despite all inconveniences.  a weekly 2x20 piece and a longer ride should be at the top of your list.

2.  quality:  on days that call for intensity, the work needs to be intense. which is why we can't do quality interval workouts everyday - we need recovery from those efforts.  for instance, it might be difficult to pull off back to back *quality* 2x20 interval sessions.  you're working with perceived exertion right now, which can make it tricky to keep efforts where they need to be.  so just focus on keeping your hard days intense, and keeping the intensity out of your easier days - that usually entails harder workouts being bookended by less intense workouts/active recovery/rest. 

1 month countdown is ON! 

As well cant say enough about the goodness of the Time Crunched cyclist plan. It has structured plans for Century rides as well as racing. first time and advanced levels. it breaks down all the reason why info into very easy everyman language, and if you follow the plans you WILL get stronger faster and will be able to put out some effort for the entire 45 minutes of a CX Race.

Also the simon burney CX book has alot of great info on cross in general and some training adding a bit of running to the mix.

the Joel Friel book is good but to be honest compared to the Time crunched cyclist it is quite a bit more complicated to follow the whole system.

BTW the Time crunched plans are sold on training peaks for big bucks and are straight out of the book.

Good Luck

Oh one final thing there are a TON of How to skills videos on You tube and Vimeo regarding CX, from mounts dismounts to all else CX.

Although I think there is a lot of good advice here, maybe I missed it but you gotta put yourself in the pain cave and at the same time be able to do your skills with finesse. Don't just practice your skills at slow speed, you want to practice them when your heartrate is very high as well. What you notice in the races is that when people get tired they will let their technique go which ends up being time lost. Just my 2 cents.

Great question,

I have incorporated the Chris Carmichael Time Crunch Training Program. You can pick the book up at most book stores (could not find on Nook). Cliff Notes version is that you can make drastic improvements in your fitness with 6-8 hours of training per week. I am on week 5 and will have my first race of the season this Saturday. My fitness has improved dramatically and should continue to improve for the next 4-6 weeks before I need to go into recovery mode. I will tell you that the 6-8 hours you will be training are super hard with a lot of time spent at lactate threshold and VO2 max. 

You also need to find some time to work on your cross specific skills (dismount, mount etc). I would suggest finding a local cross clinic. Our LBS (local bike shop) sponsors a free clinic each year that includes skills training as well as hot laps and mock races on Tuesday and Thursday night.

Is there a CX training ride in your area? It's a great way for newcomers to learn technique, meet other cross addicts and get advice. Check with your LBS or local race promoters. Here in Buffalo NY, we have regular training events on Tues and Thurs nights - featuring skills development and a practice race. I've gotten a lot out of these.

train  consistenly, don't burn out.

lurk on , training


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