#secrettraining: How to have a Cyclocross Race Season

Perhaps #crossiscoming. Perhaps #crossisnotcoming. Regardless, we are going to have some fun with this one. We've created a 6 week Strava CX challenge to keep you motivated, inspired and ready to race just in case it's necessary. Here's the deal: each week builds off the previous with the goal of making you smoother, more efficient and ultimately faster. Follow the directions below and add this to your training plan or talk with your coach on how to incorporate this into your current plan. Feel free to ask us any questions and let us know how it's going in the FasCat Forum! Good luck and have fun!

Week 1: Set Up Your Practice Cyclocross Course
Warm up in zone 2 by riding over to your local cyclocross practice area (course, park, school, etc.) and lay out a ~ 5 minute cyclocross practice lap. Features to include, if possible, are:
  • A bazillion corners
  • Mixed terrain: grass, dirt, pavement, sand pit, singletrack, ditches, gullys, stairs, logs, retaining walls, etc.

The course you design needs to be one that is easily replicable for the next 4 weeks because you are going to repeat this course each week to gauge your improvement.

Use this day to re-familiarize yourself with getting 'crossy: bike handling, getting on and off the bike, accelerating, tire pressure, etc.

Week 2: 5 Lap Strava Segment CX Set Up
Head back over to the CX course you designed last week to set up your Strava segment.

Make sure you have an adequate warm up.

Ride 5 laps for time at about 90-95% CX race pace. Make it fast, yet fun.

Afterwards upload to Strava.

Create the 5 lap (not 1) strava segment per this training tip, podcast & video.

This ride will establish the ~ 25 minute segment so that you have a time to race against using live segments next week.

Star this segment and sync your Strava account to your bike computer to use the live segment next week.

Week 3: Strava CX Race
3rd week progression: Warm up in zone 2 by riding over to your cx course and this week you are going to race your 5 lap strava segment for your best time. This should be a cyclocross time trial.

Use Strava's live segment feature to verify you are ahead of your 90-95% pace from last week - but this week let it all hang out: GO FULL GAS, as fast as you can at your CX race pace for roughly 25 minutes!

Afterwards upload to Strava and this should be your PR/KOM ! 👑

Week 4: Heart Rate Ceiling of 150bpm
By now you've got your "Svenness" and have every nook and cranny of your course dialed Today you are going to work on riding faster by being smoother. To force you to slow down and ride smoother we are putting a governor on your engine!

That's right: You may not exceed a heart rate of 150 bpm for these 5 laps. It will feel slower and probably be slower on Strava, but the point is to carry more of your momentum and speed out of the corners. This prevents you from riding like a bull in a china shop and bashing your way around the course by brute force.

Carve those turns and carry your speed and we'll go back next Wednesday with the very same 150 bpm criteria to measure your 5 lap Strava segment improvement not in watts, but in smoooooothness.

10 second penalty for each time your heart rate exceeds 150 bpm!

Week 5: Ride at 150bpm MAX - try to beat last week's time
Try to beat last week's Strava segment time, but you must ride at a heart rate of no greater than 150 bpm. Remember: smoother is faster!

The key to riding your segment faster is by cornering smoothly, dismounting and remounting smoothly and handling your bike smoothly.

Week 6: Strava CX Race!
Week 6: Finale - put all your cornering skills and watts together and absolutely annihilate your Strava PR/KOM from week 3. Use Strava's live segment features to check if you are ahead or behind your segment PR as motivation and as a carrot to dig that much deeper. Upload your ride data to the strava segment leaderboard and voila - there's your race result!

Bonus: If at any point along these six weeks you want to share your cyclocross course with your friends, teammates, community: simply share the link to the strava segment and let the leaderboard take care of the heckling, podiums and results 😜

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