Why Do You Race?

A few years ago a client came to me with a difficult but common question. She was having some challenges in her life outside of cycling, and it was making it difficult for her to maintain her focus and motivation for another season of racing. At the same time, her racing goals were important to her and she did not want to give them up. The advice she sought had nothing to do with how to train or what intervals to do because her problems were existential, not physiological. So, she asked me, why do I race? What is it that keeps me in the sport year after year? And what could she do to keep that spark? It's not an easy thing to explain. Much like being in love with a person, you know 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, ...

Peaking for Cyclocross Nationals

No matter how you got there, the final two weeks before cyclocross nationals is a unique period. With the continued growth and momentum of 'cross, a couple thousand of us will be finishing their seasons with an event that for some of is the most important race of the year. For others it's just a chance to compete on the same course as the United States' best 'crossers before they shut things down. Whatever your level and goals, it's time to fine tune and make sure you're peaking for the event.The first thing to recognize is that what you've got for fitness right now is pretty much what you've got; there's not enough time in the final two weeks to raise your fitness level through the normal ...

Training in Training Races

As February comes to an end, many of you in North America racers will begin racing in the next few weeks, if you haven't already. Unless you spent the winter somewhere warm where the early season races actually mean something, most of you will start the year with a month or so of smaller training races to get your feet wet (often literally). Training races are a great way to evaluate your early season fitness, sharpen your skills for the real races coming up, and get some higher intensity, variable power training done in a mentally easier environment than solo intervals staring at your handlebars.The catch here is that many riders forget the "training" part of "training race." The ...

The Philly File

Although I've been racing my bike "for a living" half my life, this year was my first as a professional, and thus my first chance to ride the USPRO road championships in Philadelphia. As a rider and a coach, I've been focused all season on trying to figure out what it would take for me personally just to finish this race, and how to train properly to reach that level of fitness.Based on information and data collected with the help of my Senior Associate Coach John Verheul (who doubles as my coach) and good friend Kevin Monahan (who's ridden the race a number of times previously), we tried to come up with some estimates of what the race would require in terms of power at threshold (measured ...