Surviving the Trainer

For most of us, the enjoyment in cycling isn't just the essence of training. It's about being outside, seeing different roads and landscapes, and the actual racing. For those who prefer playing sports to "working out," riding the trainer in the winter can be the pinnacle of drudgery. It may be more fun to ride outside in 33 degrees and rain than strap yourself to a machine indoors.At the same time, if you work long hours or live in a winter climate with cold, short days and dangerous, difficult road conditions, riding the trainer is a necessary part of your early season preparation, and one you'll need to make the best of. It doesn't have to be all pain and misery, though, if you take the ...

The Cycles of Cycling

Athletic training of any kind is a process of stressing a system, letting it recover and adapt to the stress, and then stressing it again at a higher level. This cycle of training exists at every level; from intervals and recovery in a single workout to a hard season of racing followed by a rest in the fall or winter. Even on the largest scale, you often see riders who miss a season due to injury and come back the following year stronger than they were before they stopped. Can you imagine taking a rest season?Seeing your training in this pattern of repetitive components can help you plan from top to bottom and find a rhythm as you execute it. It's no different than those fractal art ...

Power, Stability, and Confidence in the Mud

As cyclocross has grown and developed in the US, we've typically drawn our inspiration from images and stories of European events. And on a continent where there's lots of farmland, lots of rain, and temperatures that rarely go below freezing, that means mud is often a main feature of European races, especially in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, where the sport is most popular.The thing is, you don't need mud for a cyclocross race. Mud is not endemic to the sport, and not necessary for an interesting or enjoyable race. French races are a great example of this, where grassy, fast courses resemble what you might find in New England, and remind us that just like there is no ...

When, Why, and How to Dismount in Cyclocross

Of all the debates about ‘cross equipment choices and proper technique, it continues to amaze and entertain me that every September we renew the dismount debate: to step through, or to step around? And while I might enjoy egging that debate on for laughs, it seems to me that many people could use some straight answers. There will be purists in both camps who will not have their minds changed either way, and many who think that because they get away with a particular technique it must be the “right” way. I argue there is no single “right” way; there are multiple styles and very specific reasons for each, with advantages and disadvantages, all situationally based. I will outline all the ...

The Secret Set Up, Part 3: Shifters, Brakes, and Drivetrain

There are many different ways to set up a cyclocross bike. Most are related to personal preference, but the basic principles that should be adhered to are that the bike should be reliable, light, and simple. The order in which you prioritize these things depends on how fast you are, how serious you are, or how rich you are. For many, reliability is infinitely more important than light weight, because there's nothing slower than a broken bike. For others, there may be a mechanic and two more bikes available in the pits, so while reliability is still crucial, light weight might move up a level.More so than other disciplines, 'cross riders tend to be fanatical about their equipment, hoarding ...