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  1. #1
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    criterium/cyclocross training plan for new racer

    I'm getting into road racing (at the tendar age of 37) and coming from an endurance (triathlon) background I have no where near the power I need to keep up with crit sprints. I'm used to "going long" for hours. I would like to find an interval/tabata training plan for a time-crunched athlete to make me at least competitive at cat 5 crit and cat 4 CX in the fall. I currently ride an average of 85 miles a week with a mix of interval, hill repeats, and group rides. Also am working on bike handling skills by racing more and also riding my CX bike on single track.

    My hill workouts are typically 2 minute climbs of between 6-7% grade usually 53/17. My sprint workouts are usually 10-30 seconds in duration and are anything from a dead stop sprint to rolling sprints from 25 up to 35 MPH followed by fast spinning to drain the lactic acid. All workouts are big ring. These workouts hurt.

    My "long rides" are usually up to 60 miles in length. I don't usually have more time to go longer, and I don't feel the extra distance is what I need. I need more POWER, the ability to really turn over 53/17 on down to 53/11.

    I'm taking a "cying as weight training" type approach, and trying to incorporate progressive overload each week, doing a little more of the same routine, or pushing a little harder. I'm training without a power meter, but an usuing Strava to gauge fitness via segment time.

    Any tips? Any workouts that would transfer well to CX racing in the fall would be appreciated!
    Last edited by tazunemono; 06-11-2013 at 08:00 AM.

  2. #2
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    I'm also having a cyclocross focus this year. Here's a list of things in the approach I'm taking.

    -Did not do winter base. I've decided that if I want to be strong through December, I have to start base late. So didn't start training till March.
    -Since I started late and did no practice crits in March, I've been getting blown off in all the Masters 1-2-3 crits I've done recently. I finally finished base training last week of May, and did a race two weeks ago and I'm finally starting to hang on. I definitely did better in road races because of reduced repeated surges and such. So this part of how I planned the training year sucks but i knew it was likely to turn out this way. Either way, I feel like I benefited from the racing and can support some of my teammates with some of the things they need.
    -I'm doing the traditional Friel format since I'm not time crunched (8-15 hours per week). Worked from zone 2, to Tempo, to Threshold, and now doing traditional builds with Threshold emphasis and some VO2max. Threshold power is a weakness for me so I want to maximize that ability prior to doing AC and crit/cyclocross simulation stuff.
    -In a few weeks, will start doing our local A-B-C flight weekly crits. Doing the B group will be lots easier than the Masters group and these crits will be my focus for hitting a nice peak (and hopefully some podiums) before going on vacation.
    -I'm taking a week off for mid July vacation and will come back starting with base 3 type format, and continue with some build periods for building into cyclocross. Will need to incorporate some running and cyclocross skill work as well.
    -In august will try to ride the cyclocross bike as much as possible (even commuting) while incorporating some flat singletrack riding. Did lots of that last year. Fortunately I bike handle better than most due to my MTB race/riding experience.
    -I do 10-20 sprint work every week, all year while I'm training. Usually on Fridays, so that helps maintain the sprint power/form, which is important.
    -Also, not using your brakes and taking corners at maximum speed while conserving energy is important as well. Last year I went through a skills course with Lee McCormack (Lee Likes Bikes) and I thought that helped immensely with cornering technique. If you are sprinting to slam your brakes to negotiate every corner, then you're wasting lots of energy.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Poncharelli; 06-14-2013 at 12:15 PM.

  3. #3
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    If you live near a velodrome getting involved in the local track racing scene is great training for crits - not sure if it would help with the 'cross. Where I am the velodrome racing is in the evening through the summer so convenient to get it in after work. There are also early morning sessions. Just throwing that out there - I'm sure others will chime in with good training exercises like ponch did already.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristatos View Post
    If you live near a velodrome getting involved in the local track racing scene is great training for crits - not sure if it would help with the 'cross. Where I am the velodrome racing is in the evening through the summer so convenient to get it in after work. There are also early morning sessions. Just throwing that out there - I'm sure others will chime in with good training exercises like ponch did already.
    Unfortunately the closest 'drome is in Indy, 2 hours from here.

  5. #5
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    For CX, there are some basic techniques you need to learn:

    THe 2 most important are:
    Dismounting
    Remounting

    Then from there:
    barriers and other obstacles: when to dismount, where to hold the bike, whether to shoulder it or not, etc.

    There are some good videos on youtube on CX basics, then you need to practice.
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  6. #6
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    I don't discount that those are important techniques to know, but that isn't what I mean by training ... I'm looking for more "on bike" training tips to increase stamina and power (other than just sating "ride more, more often")

    Are there any specific 3-month training plans out there to get me to September?

  7. #7
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    Cat 5 and CX 4 competitiveness are kind of hard to judge because often there is a wide variation in fitness/experience.

    In my experience the guys winning my cx4 races, were still top 5 once they catted up to the cx3's. So there is a fair amount of overlap. In my area the real jump is cx3 to cx2. Most of the races are P/cx1/cx2 in my area so once you cat up to a cx2, its pretty much sink or swim.

    It is almost the same for road racing. It seems every year there is some guy or kid that starts racing and absolutely crushes everything until they get to a 3 or 2. For cat 5 racing I would not worry about results. As long as you are not getting dropped you should focus on learning to race in a group. How to go through turns 3-5 wide at speed safely. How to get to the front of the group safely and efficiently. Then at the end I'ld pick a tactic and try it, making sure to try something different each race.

    All of your training seems to be a lot of top end work. For me a lot of strength and sustainable power comes from tempo and ftp work. The reason a lot of people say ride more is because that is where a lot of endurance and fitness comes from and that is pretty much the foundation for everything else.

    Here is a good training plan that was in cyclocross magazine:
    ARTICLES

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tazunemono View Post
    Are there any specific 3-month training plans out there to get me to September?
    I have a plan for you. Ride as much as possible, spending a lot of time on the CX bike. Most of that is just riding around but if you feel like hitting a section fast, go fast.

    In addition you want two structured rides per week on the road bike. Make one of those rides your longest ride, this is obviously done at endurance pace. The other ride is either going to be some sort of intervals or a crit. The intervals can be 3 X 20 minutes at FTP or 5 X 5 minutes or four repeats on a loop that includes a 10 minute hill. If there's a race nearby do the race. The intensity will be good for you. Just do the race for fitness and not for results. Ride towards the front and attack a lot.

    It's not really different from what you already have in your opening post.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tazunemono View Post
    I would like to find an interval/tabata training plan for a time-crunched athlete to make me at least competitive at cat 5 crit and cat 4 CX in the
    So you're time crunched you say?

    The Time-Crunched Cyclist, 2nd Ed.: Fit, Fast, Powerful in 6 Hours a Week (The Time-Crunched Athlete): Chris Carmichael, Jim Rutberg: 9781934030837: Amazon.com: Books
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit." -Aristotle on intervals

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