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 ...

The Secret Set Up, Part 2: Wheels and Tires

In part 1 of The Secret Set Up, I introduced the idea of how difficult it used to be to find reliable information about cyclocross, and how the mysterious cult of 'cross was hard to infiltrate. There's a lot of folklore out there, and a lot of old-school knowledge that not everyone wanted to share. If you've got a seat post in your garage that you drilled a hole in for a brake cable to pass through, or if you've ever glued tire tread to the bottom of a pair of road shoes, then you're one of those old-school insiders. For me, part of becoming a coach and wanting to promote and grow the sport meant that I've always wanted to share that information rather than hoard it.Along those lines, ...

The Secret Set Up, Part 1: Cyclocross Bike Fit

Bike racing has the reputation of being a closed sport. Not necessarily because all cyclists are snobs (though they may be), but more because cycling in the US has been a sport that was difficult to find out about and get started with compared to mainstream ball sports. The people who did discover it found a secret world of Italian racing bikes and pink newspapers, or maybe decided to study French instead of Spanish in high school. Road cycling has always been a special subculture that was hard to crack, and so people were protective of the knowledge they gained, rather than eager to share it.If road racing is a subculture, than cyclocross is another faction subdivided from that: the ...

Suitcases and Armpits: How To Correctly Carry A Cyclocross Bike

When I teach a cyclocross technique clinic, I most often start by demonstrating bad examples. Very often riders can relate to that and use it as a starting place. They recognize themselves and can identify with it, often exclaiming “Oh, right, yes! That’s totally what I do!” I’m able to take it from there, show them not only the correct style, but also the path to that style.One of the challenges to teaching good technique is that there are so many top level riders, men and women, with terrible habits, setting bad examples. There are many factors that go into being a top rider, and technique is only one aspect. It’s possible to get into the elite bell curve with good watts or good form; the ...

Warming up for Cyclocross

I’ve written about warming up for races before, and certainly the information in my other article applies to cyclocross. However, there are additional considerations when warming up for 'cross that are unique, or at the very least, more important than they are for other disciplines. Course inspection is the primary additional concern that affects all other factors.From a physiological standpoint, the same rules apply. Any warm up should be as short as possible to achieve the desired effect. That duration and the work you do will change depending on the event, from 15 minutes of easy riding and a couple of sprints, to an hour on the trainer with a specific interval routine. So for ‘cross, ...