It’s August, which means that cyclocross season is just around the corner! For the true diehards, the first local race is August 24th in Springfield. For traditionalists like myself, the season doesn’t really start until mid-September. Either way, August is a good time to start practicing your cyclocross technique. I’ll try to give a few tips in this email, and we’ll run some clinics once school starts. If there’s anything in particular you’d like to improve on, please drop me a line and we’ll tailor the clinics accordingly.
A few people have expressed interest in trying cyclocross this fall, but don’t yet have a bike, so I thought I’d devote this month’s newsletter to equipment. First, though, a quick reminder of the training objectives for July.
TRAINING FOR JULY
According to the schedule I mailed out last time, we’re currently ending Week 1 of the Base 2 phase. Your main focus should still be on aerobic development, with at least three zone 2 rides per week. Your second objective is to start easing yourself into harder efforts. Start with one tempo workout per week, riding at 85-95% of your time trial heart rate for extended periods without interruption. Start with 20 or 30 minutes and add 5 or 10 minutes per week. The third objective for Base 2 is to start to get your legs accustomed to working at different cadences. You may not realize it, but on the road you generally pedal within a very narrow range of your preferred cadence, unless going up or down a steep incline. A cyclocross course, on the other hand, changes terrain quite rapidly, often faster than you can shift, so it’s important to be able to deliver power over a wide range of cadences. Spinning at high cadence requires pedaling efficiency whereas a low cadence requires strength. To develop the former, try to incorporate some spinning intervals into one or two of your aerobic rides. Shift into a low gear that will enable you to spin 10 or 20 RPM above your preferred cadence, and hold it for five minutes. Recover for five minutes at your normal cadence, and repeat. To develop leg strength, your fifth workout of the week should incorporate hill-climbing that requires you to drop your cadence 10 to 20 RPM below your preferred cadence. Some good local climbs include Eastern Ave in Arlington, Prospect Hill in Waltham, or Great Blue Hill in Milton. Start with three 3-minute intervals and build from there. Exercise caution when doing strength workouts as it is possible to overdo it and injure yourself. If you’re in your first or second year of cycling, skip the strength workouts and do a fourth day of aerobic riding instead.
The MIT Cycling Team won the 2008 Division II National Championship at the USA Cycling Collegiate Championships help in Fort Collins, Colo. on May 11. The MIT team seized an early lead in the opening event, the team time trial, and built their advantage throughout the weekend to take a surprise victory.
The MIT women’s team time trial (TTT) team of Martha W. Buckley G, Yuri Matsumoto G, Zuzana Trnovcova ‘09, and Sonya J. Cates G entered the competition solidly positioned as the best team in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference, having won four of five team time trial events during the season, including the ECCC championships.