Preparing for Cyclocross Season

Want to see major gains next season? It's time to get down and dirty with cyclocross!

Cyclocross is a tremendous way for bike riders to stretch their competitive seasons and get a good jump-start on fitness for the following season. The intensity of cyclocross racing provides a workout that’s very difficult to replicate – even with standard interval training.  During the fall and winter, the temperature drop means that most athletes turn primarily to indoor trainers, and for many the self-motivation to push to the limit becomes a constant issue.
If you’ve come to the end of a long racing season - be it road riding, mountain biking or triathlon - it’s wise to take a break of at least a couple of weeks before commencing your cyclocross training/racing. During this time, look to back off the intensity and consider eliminating structured workouts altogether. Just get on your bike and ride at a recovery pace and you’ll feel a lot fresher when the couple of weeks are up.
However, don’t let this recovery period go much beyond two weeks. You don’t want to lose too much of the high-end fitness you’ve developed through the prior bike season.
Here are a few ways to prepare for the cyclocross season.
1. Specific cyclocross practice: Due to being so technique-reliant, it’s absolutely essential that you get on your cross bike for a skills practice or training race once per week. There are many skills to focus on, such as dismounting and mounting quickly without losing too much momentum, and running and jumping obstacles with the bike.
2. Power intervals: It’s important to include race-pace interval workouts in your training program. For example, ride for about 45 seconds to the base of a short, steep hill or staircase then dismount, shoulder the bike, and sprint up the hill or staircase. Remount the bike and accelerate back to race pace in about 10-15 pedal strokes. After each interval, spin easy back to your starting point and start the next interval. Aim to complete 4-8 of these intervals in a continuous set.
3. Get in long miles early:  It’s inevitable that the weather will get worse and your training will become more race specific (with shorter workouts at higher intensities), so for that reason, while the weather is still warm enough, bank some long endurance rides. When it’s colder and darker, you won’t have as many opportunities - and less motivation - to ride for 3+ hours, so get in long miles early in the cyclocross season.
Do some research and find out about your local cyclocross series. If you want to see significant performance gains next season, it’s crucial that you don’t let the improvements you made this year slip away due to inactivity or a lack of focus. Besides, getting dirty in cyclocross is super fun and you’ll definitely meet some cool, like-minded people in the process.

By: Kerry Hale


Race Reviews

Race reports from running races, triathlons, duathlons, adventure races, obstacles runs, bike races and more!


New Balance Debuts First 3D Printed Running Shoes

State-of-the-art material and technology creates the perfect midsole for performance running.

We’ve got compression gear that can help us recover faster; fitness trackers that count our every step, monitor our heart rate and track how well we sleep; and smart apparel tell that us how hard we’re working out. And now, thanks to New Balance, we’ve got a state-of-the-art, totally customized 3D printed running shoe to add to our arsenal of fitness tech.   The New Balance 3D printed running shoe—the first running shoe out of the gate so far to feature 3D printed material technology—features a 3D printed midsole that was designed to achieve an optimal balance of flexibility, strength, weight and durability.   Although the New Balance 3D printed running shoe doesn’t look any more high tech than what’s already out there on the market today, it’s truly what’s on the inside that counts: The shoes feature a midsole made from a material called DuraForm® Flex TPU, an elastomeric powder that is converted one layer at a time into solid cross-sections using a laser. The result is a midsole with the perfect combination of midsole strength and elasticity, ideal for performance running shoes.   According to New Balance, the shape and form of the midsoles are created from underfoot pressure data from heel strikers, with more cushioning elements in areas of higher average pressure. This same “data-to-design” concept was also used to create the company’s popular Fresh Foam running shoe collection, which debuted in 2013.   Even though this is the first time this type of run-enhancing technology will be available on the market for the general public, New Balance has been testing versions of custom 3D printed running shoes with professional track athletes since 2013. If it’s good enough for the pros, I can imagine it would certainly improve the running experience for the everyday runner.    If you’re interested in grabbing a pair of these high-tech, limited edition running shoes for yourself, New Balance plans to launch them in Boston in April 2016, and then in select New Balance retail locations around the world.   For more details about the shoes and the technology used to create them, visit