Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Click the "Create Account" button now to join.

To disable ads, please log-in.

Shop at TeamEstrogen.com for women's cycling apparel.

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 50

Thread: CX Hurts....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    407

    CX Hurts....

    To disable ads, please log-in.

    I'm an avid Sport level mountain bike racer and I usually do reasonably well. My fitness took a bit of a dip this year because my hours/stress at work went up while my training went down. Even so, If I put in enough training this winter, I'll probably be able to race in the Elite class sometime next year. That being said, I SUCK at CX... I had my second race this weekend and it hurt so bad that I couldn't stand it. The best part of the race is the finish. The pace is so fast that I crack...and have to drop back. I feel that a 2 hour mountain bike race is easier than a 45 minute CX race.

    It seems to me that in CX there is no place or time to recover. If you do, you will be dropped. I'm also finding that having a good start is imperative...which is true of mountain bike racing...but I think is even more important in CX (as yesterdays race taught me). Also, drafting is helpful. It seems that in the Cat 3 races, some teammates are working together.


    For those of you who race, what type of training do you do? Specifically what type of high intensity interval training do you do?

    My goals for CX are 1. Have it hurt less, thus making it more enjoyable. 2. Finish a little higher up in the standings. 3. Settle in more....right now I feel these races are chaos and I'm not super comfortable like I am when mountain bike racing.
    Last edited by madisongrrl; 10-16-2006 at 07:09 PM.
    Just keep pedaling.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080
    If you look at heart rate files for CX and time trials, they're very similar -- 40 minute balls-to-the-wall effort. Power, on-the-other-hand, is very different as cross is anything but a constant effort.

    Do you run at all? If not, that would be one good place to start fine-tuning your training. The runs are typically short and intense, but enough so that they can make your already high HR go even higher. You need to learn to be efficient during the runs and with your mounts, dismounts, and barriers. If you can be efficient, you can keep your HR in check.

    Although you've only done two races, can you see a pattern of where you get dropped? Is it just after the runs? Or at the more technical sections? Or on the flatter power sections? See if you can notice a trend -- this will help you determine how to focus your training.

    Cross hurts. There's no way around it. Even when you look at the pros, it hurts. That's what's so darn fun. XC races are much easier -- 2 hours of aerobic riding. CX is a short, hard, anaerobic effort.

    Given all that, I'm training a bit differently this season than in past years.

    I do one day of 2 x 20s on the bike (ie the TT effort). I run 3 or 4 days a week and include short intervals in all those sessions (30s and 60s). I spend at least two days riding easy and focusing on my skills and technique. And I'm lifting weights twice a week too. My on-bike hours are WAY down from what I typically train, but I know that I need to focus on some different weaknesses right now so I'm doing that. I miss my long rides, though, so I'm going to try to slip one in each week if I can.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    407
    Here are a few pics that a friend took. As you can see, I'm the most happy at the finishline.

    http://rebach.smugmug.com/gallery/2015481

    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post

    Do you run at all? If not, that would be one good place to start fine-tuning your training. The runs are typically short and intense, but enough so that they can make your already high HR go even higher. You need to learn to be efficient during the runs and with your mounts, dismounts, and barriers. If you can be efficient, you can keep your HR in check.
    Unfortunately running is out for me at the current time. There is something wrong with my foot (had X-rays, MRI etc) but we are not exactly sure what. I've seen so many docs, pt's etc in the last two years that I'm sick of appointments. I can run at a cross race, but I can not do any run training (I can run but then I pay for it with 1-2 weeks of foot/pain)...which really sucks. I used to be a multisport athlete before this foot thing and I had to give up running. But on the other hand, it has made me a decent mountain biker.

    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    Although you've only done two races, can you see a pattern of where you get dropped? Is it just after the runs? Or at the more technical sections? Or on the flatter power sections? See if you can notice a trend -- this will help you determine how to focus your training.
    I get dropped on the flats cause I can't push as hard (same as mountain biking). I have a smaller build and am not a powerful person. I'm also a bit scared to turn it up a notch even when I think I should. I'm still trying to find my limits for CX, which will take some time and experience. For example, I the person sitting on my wheel was breathing so hard that I thought she was going to explode. I was hurting (probably more mental than physical), but was breathing just fine. I should have stepped on the gas and dropped her, but I was too afraid to push my limits, thinking that I would blow up.

    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    Cross hurts. There's no way around it. Even when you look at the pros, it hurts. That's what's so darn fun. XC races are much easier -- 2 hours of aerobic riding. CX is a short, hard, anaerobic effort.
    Very true....which is what I'm finding out race by race.

    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    Given all that, I'm training a bit differently this season than in past years.

    I do one day of 2 x 20s on the bike (ie the TT effort). I run 3 or 4 days a week and include short intervals in all those sessions (30s and 60s). I spend at least two days riding easy and focusing on my skills and technique. And I'm lifting weights twice a week too. My on-bike hours are WAY down from what I typically train, but I know that I need to focus on some different weaknesses right now so I'm doing that. I miss my long rides, though, so I'm going to try to slip one in each week if I can.
    I wish I could do some running, but unfortunately that is on the back burner right now. So you only really do one day of bike intervals/ week? I'm guessing you probably put in a decent amount of work in this summer. I might have to spend some time on my intervals to help the whole cracking/getting dropped issue. I've been doing very little interval work since July (my job has turned into a big headache) and I could probably stand to pick the interval work back up again. I've been meaning to start up the weights also. So much to do so little time....
    Last edited by madisongrrl; 10-16-2006 at 08:31 PM.
    Just keep pedaling.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080
    So, it sounds to me that your mental limiter is more powerful than any physical limiters right now. What are you afraid might happen if you really push it, Renee? I always suggest my athletes go beyond that line at least once. Usually they surprise themselves -- the world doesn't end.

    Think of it this way. If you push more to hang with the leaders, what are the possible outcomes? One, you could blow and not finish with the leaders or maybe DFL. Two, you could be in a world of hurt but still hang with the leaders. Three, you could hang and still have a little something left in the tank for the sprint finish.

    You don't know what your limitations are until you really push to find them.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Training. Since I'm doing run intervals (short), I don't need to do short intervals on the bike right now. My bike intervals are longer (20 min). If I weren't running, I'd probably add one day of short bike intervals. But, everyone is different. I raced non-stop from October 2005 to August 2006. I don't recommend that for most folks, but I had some special circumstances going on. I needed a break from the bike and wanted to run and lift, so that's how I developed my training for this fall. My goal races for cross are in December so I'll pick back up on the bike in November. It's strange not to train 15-20 hours a week, but it actually works well with my work schedule right now because my workouts are shorter and my total training time is only about 8-10 hours a week. And I can see huge improvements in my strength and running already.

    If you need to improve your power on the flats, I recommend resistance training along with TT-type intervals (2 x 20s). You could do these on the road or even better, on the dirt on your cross bike. One of the hardest challenges in cross is still powering when you're bouncing all over the place. You'll notice the best racers keep their speed/momentum up on the bouncy flats while the more novice races coast a lot. You need to learn how to ride it out.

    The other thing that really helps in cross is to optimize your accelerations out of transitions. So short intervals are good too (15 sec, 30 sec, 60 sec). For example, you scrub some speed to make a technical section but then you need to get back up to speed really quickly.

    If you can't run, could you get a non-bike high-level cardio workout on an elliptical? That might help with the intensity.

    Then again, I think the real answer is your fear to push yourself to the edge. You should try it sometime. Pick a throw-away race and just see what happens. You might really surprise yourself.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080
    ps -- you said you looked happy at the finish. Every photo I've seen of yesterday's race, we all look dead at the finish. Here's a photo of Lauren, me, and Erin (E2theD). You can't see Lauren's face -- she had a big crash, too. But just look at me & Erin. I can barely hold myself up (I'm sitting on my toptube) and we both look like we're ready to lose lunch.

    To add insult to injury, I roll back to the start line after I've finished to retrieve the half water bottle I'd left at the start. My bottle was there but someone drank the water. I could've cried.

    Of course, today I'll say it was one of the best courses I've ever raced, and if I hadn't had that darn asthma attack I would've been much happier.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	surfcity1 181.jpg 
Views:	371 
Size:	108.8 KB 
ID:	1805  

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,822

    Agreed....

    Yup - 'cross definitely hurts. I remember when I used to race MTB, and it never felt like this.

    On the other hand, after a season of full on road racing and TT efforts, it isn't really that bad. I think Velogirl has it right - if you can go out and do a couple of 20 min full on max efforts, that will go a long way to helping you feel better about the 'cross racing. I know that without my TT skills, my anaerobic power/threshold wouldn't be where it is right now.

    I get dropped on the flats cause I can't push as hard (same as mountain biking). I have a smaller build and am not a powerful person. I'm also a bit scared to turn it up a notch even when I think I should. I'm still trying to find my limits for CX, which will take some time and experience. For example, I the person sitting on my wheel was breathing so hard that I thought she was going to explode. I was hurting (probably more mental than physical), but was breathing just fine. I should have stepped on the gas and dropped her, but I was too afraid to push my limits, thinking that I would blow up.
    Again, I have to agree with the great advice Velogirl has given you - pick a race and go out and push yourself as hard as you can - I think you'll be impressed with the results.

    My training is really ramping down at this point in the season because I am tired (been racing since April). However, I am typically out on Tues nights doing a 2 hour MTB ride and either Weds or Thurs night I am out on the 'cross bike doing race course intervals. We have a small area where we can simulate a 'cross race (we bring our own barriers), so doing a number of laps with recovery in between is great training for the weekend races.

    Above all, make sure that you are HAVING FUN! Training and results are all good, but when I stop having fun, I will stop racing....

    SheFly

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    407
    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    So, it sounds to me that your mental limiter is more powerful than any physical limiters right now. What are you afraid might happen if you really push it, Renee? I always suggest my athletes go beyond that line at least once. Usually they surprise themselves -- the world doesn't end.
    The lack of structured training (on and off since July) is a bit of a physical limiter, but I think it shoots the confidence down more than anything. My limits for mountain biking have certainly been lowered. My late season results have not been as great. If I do push myself too hard, I just might get the pleasure of being dead last. Dead last seems like it is a very easy thing to attain in cross. A few screw-ups or a bad start (depending on the course) and you will be the caboose! And no, the world won't end, but it certainly makes for a long week at work. Have you ever seen the movie office space? That is how my job is right now...except on a larger, corporate level. So recently, my outlets (cycling & racing) have had a greater impact on my emotional life.

    This weekend is a double header CX weekend. I wasn't going to race the Saturday race, but maybe I'll just call it my experimental day. I'll just go balls out and blow myself up on Saturday to see what happens. I need to get this sport figured out, before I start to hate it and sell my brand new bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    Think of it this way. If you push more to hang with the leaders, what are the possible outcomes? One, you could blow and not finish with the leaders or maybe DFL. Two, you could be in a world of hurt but still hang with the leaders. Three, you could hang and still have a little something left in the tank for the sprint finish.

    You don't know what your limitations are until you really push to find them.
    Very true. I'll see if I'm up for it this Saturday. Then, I'll take my new found knowlege into Sunday's race.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    Training. Since I'm doing run intervals (short), I don't need to do short intervals on the bike right now. My bike intervals are longer (20 min). If I weren't running, I'd probably add one day of short bike intervals. But, everyone is different. I raced non-stop from October 2005 to August 2006. I don't recommend that for most folks, but I had some special circumstances going on. I needed a break from the bike and wanted to run and lift, so that's how I developed my training for this fall. My goal races for cross are in December so I'll pick back up on the bike in November. It's strange not to train 15-20 hours a week, but it actually works well with my work schedule right now because my workouts are shorter and my total training time is only about 8-10 hours a week. And I can see huge improvements in my strength and running already.
    I usually strive for 8-10 hours a week, but recently it has been less than 5. Luckily in Wisconsin, you stop racing from Dec to March. But, that also means you have to sit on the boring trainer or be prepared to ride in 10 degree weather conditions.

    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    If you need to improve your power on the flats, I recommend resistance training along with TT-type intervals (2 x 20s). You could do these on the road or even better, on the dirt on your cross bike. One of the hardest challenges in cross is still powering when you're bouncing all over the place. You'll notice the best racers keep their speed/momentum up on the bouncy flats while the more novice races coast a lot. You need to learn how to ride it out.

    I think I'll actually head to the basement right now and bust out a 2x20 on the trainer. I also need to get outside and ride my CX bike. It has only been ridden for 2 CX races, 1 Ben Turner CX clinic and 1 commute to work. I'm still not totally comfortable on it. I had my fit done by my favorite local high end bike shop ( www.cronometro.com ) and it feels great...but I still have to get used to the bike. The fit is similar to my road fit, but there are some subtle differences and my muscles are being worked in a slightly different way...or so it feels.


    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    If you can't run, could you get a non-bike high-level cardio workout on an elliptical? That might help with the intensity.
    I'll have to see. I'm having top of the foot, base of the big toe joint, nerve/tendon/capsule pinching pain. So I'm not sure if the strap on the elliptical will irritate my foot or not. To be determined....but I really miss running.

    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    Then again, I think the real answer is your fear to push yourself to the edge. You should try it sometime. Pick a throw-away race and just see what happens. You might really surprise yourself.
    Saturday is the day. I'll either get a big surprise or I'll pass out and not finish. But either way at least there will be a race on Sunday in which I can redeem myself. Sometimes I sit back and think, "Wow, we actually pay people money so we can race in their events and put ourselves through some of the greatest physical and mental suffering that is personally possible". I guess there are worse addictions in life - like crack or McDonald's. Though a crack habit might cost less than my cycling addiction.
    Just keep pedaling.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080
    Here's a quick tip. From September to January I don't ride my road bike at all. I do lots of road rides, but I throw a set of road wheels on my cross bike. You're right that there are enough subtle differences in geometry and handling (and gearing and braking) that you have to become super-zen with your cross bike. That might be a good suggestion for you too!

    Oh, and until this season, my road bikes were campy and my cross bikes were shimano. What a stupid decision that was. I finally switched the cross bike to campy, too!

    Good luck on Saturday.

    Oh, do you know anything about the courses for Saturday and Sunday? Are they courses that will suit you? You might want to consider that before you commit to "do or die."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    407
    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post


    Oh, do you know anything about the courses for Saturday and Sunday? Are they courses that will suit you? You might want to consider that before you commit to "do or die."
    I don't know anything about the courses. I do know that Saturday's race isn't going to be that great (historically) and Sunday's race is the one to do. It would be a little nicer if they were switched...but I'll use Saturday's as a throw away. Hopefully I won't be too spent for Sunday.
    Just keep pedaling.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    407
    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    Yup - 'cross definitely hurts. I remember when I used to race MTB, and it never felt like this.
    I agree...

    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    On the other hand, after a season of full on road racing and TT efforts, it isn't really that bad. I think Velogirl has it right - if you can go out and do a couple of 20 min full on max efforts, that will go a long way to helping you feel better about the 'cross racing. I know that without my TT skills, my anaerobic power/threshold wouldn't be where it is right now.
    Yeah, TT skills are something that I don't have and would definitely be an asset for CX. I really love mountain bike racing, but the season takes up so much time that I don't have time to race or train for other cycling disciplines. I might try to fit a few crits or road races in next year just to be more well rounded.



    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    Above all, make sure that you are HAVING FUN! Training and results are all good, but when I stop having fun, I will stop racing....

    SheFly
    I love racing and usually think its fun, but I'm really hating CX right now. If I start to have better results (and hurt less), I think I'll like it more....
    Just keep pedaling.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,822
    Quote Originally Posted by madisongrrl View Post
    I love racing and usually think its fun, but I'm really hating CX right now. If I start to have better results (and hurt less), I think I'll like it more....
    So, what do you hate about it? If you really do hate it, I would suggest not doing it.

    For me, the results are secondary. The race is definitely painful - it's a full on effort for the entire time. Last weekend, I raced through an asthma attack, but I kept going because I was having a great time. I finished 16th out of 26 starters - definitely not stellar, but I rode full out, finished, and had fun traipsing through the mud and over obstacles... If I had hated it, I definitely would not have gone back for more on Sunday.

    Think about why you are doing 'cross in the first place. As I said earlier, if you really do hate it, it might not be worth doing, at least for this season.

    SheFly

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080
    I have to agree with SheFly. Why do something you hate? Cross is a sport about so many different levels of achievement. But having goals based on specific results is detrimental to your success -- especially in your first year of racing cross.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    407
    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    So, what do you hate about it?
    It's not mountain bike racing...but it will have to do.


    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post

    Think about why you are doing 'cross in the first place. As I said earlier, if you really do hate it, it might not be worth doing, at least for this season.

    SheFly
    I primarily doing CX to become a better cyclist and more importantly a stronger mountain bike racer. I had my double header this weekend and I enjoyed myself a little more, even though my results were not great. Since the womens race fields here can be smaller, results seem to hinge upon who shows up and who doesn't.
    Just keep pedaling.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080
    I look forward to hearing about your races, Renee. Yes, results will totally depend on who shows up. That's why goals based on personal achievement, rather than results, are always good.

    I'm in an interesting situation in one of our local series. I decided to race masters even though all the women in that category kick my butt (many masters national champions in our races). However, I'm able to compare my times with the other categories and the women's start list as a whole, so I can see progress. In the first race, I finished 41st of 53 total women (A,B,C, and masters). This race I finished 36th of 52. Progress, right? Of course, my real benchmark is where I'd finish wth the Cs since I raced Cs the last three seasons. For the past two races, I'd finish 6th in the Cs which makes me happy.

    My goals, however, have very little to do with placing, and more to do with things I can control -- how I handle different technical areas of the course, barriers, mounts, etc.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    407
    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    I look forward to hearing about your races, Renee. Yes, results will totally depend on who shows up. That's why goals based on personal achievement, rather than results, are always good.
    Definitely....the fields seem to be much smaller than mt. biking. I was a little bent out of shape after the first two races about my results...but now I'm over it. I have to look at this differently than mountain bike racing.

    On saturday the Cat 1/2 and 3 women raced together. I think there were only 12 of us and not too many slow women showed up. While I didn't finish dead last, it was pretty close. I was lapped by 4 women. Getting lapped sucks, but these particular individuals were very, very fast. So I don't feel too terrible about it. The conditions were awful, the absolute worst possible situation. The mud was thick, slow, deep, grinding, awful. The course was not very technical and they mowed the grass the day before. I unhooked my front and back breaks (as did just about everyone) just to be able to pedal my bike. It was cold, rainy...so it was just about survival. It didn't kill me, so hopefully it made me tougher....cause everything after that experience should be easy. My legs hurt so bad that night that I had to pop a few ibprofin.

    Sunday's race was much more technical, but very muddy because it snowed the night before then melted. While the mud was really bad, it wasn't deep like Saturday's race. I decided to just go out as hard as I could and I did. I actually led the race for the 1st 1/2 lap or so. I seriously thought I took a wrong turn off the course and had to look behind me because I wasn't sure why there weren't any women passing me. As my teammate came up behind me she told me to quit looking backward and to start pushing (LOL)! My legs gave out on me 1.5 laps in and my quad started to cramp so I pulled out of the race. Too much standing and grinding from the day before. I just wanted to see what was possible. It is now Monday and my legs are so sore....they are burning and weak. So it will be a little bit of rest and back to the trainer tomorrow.

    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    I'm in an interesting situation in one of our local series. I decided to race masters even though all the women in that category kick my butt (many masters national champions in our races). However, I'm able to compare my times with the other categories and the women's start list as a whole, so I can see progress. In the first race, I finished 41st of 53 total women (A,B,C, and masters). This race I finished 36th of 52. Progress, right? Of course, my real benchmark is where I'd finish wth the Cs since I raced Cs the last three seasons. For the past two races, I'd finish 6th in the Cs which makes me happy.
    .
    You live in California, correct? I'll bet you get some pretty tough competition at CX races...since California seems to be such a hotbed for cycling.
    Last edited by madisongrrl; 10-23-2006 at 03:55 PM.
    Just keep pedaling.

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •