Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Cyclo-cross Training.

Cyclo-cross, probably the most painful thing you can do on a bike - IMHO as the young folk say. Solo 24hr mtb racers may have a valid reason to debate this, but for sheer leg and lung burning oxygen starved anerobic pain then I can't recommend cyclo-cross training heartily enough.
I did the 3 Peaks race last year and to train for that I did lots of good old honest hours in the saddle, lots of hill climbing - on and off the bike, and some roadie speed work, all kinda focused on what I had researched about the route. I raced, I achieved the time I wanted, and most importantly, I loved it, but unfortunately I can't do it this year, I will do it again, but this is just a bad year.
So me and cyclo-cross have some unfinished business. I haven't done a 'normal' cyclo-cross race yet. The races are all quite a long way from my home in the Highlands and I'm not that fit this year, but that's just an excuse, I need to do at least one proper race just to find out what it's all about - I've raced road and mtb so this aspect of my racing cv is an empty entry at the moment.
So a few weeks ago I started running again, a bit of distance, a bit of hill work and some speed drills, then a few jaunts out and about on the 'cross bike just to get used to it again. All good, even did some hard little hill intervals on the bike in a grassy field - not that easy to find in these parts! Again all ok. Hahahaha, how little did I know that THIS WAS JUST NOT HARD ENOUGH.
This week whilst working on Mull I hooked up with two local 'cross racers, Davie Graham and Steve Macinnes for their regular evening training sesh', "it's only 45 minutes" said Davie, grand I thought, be over in a jiffy and be a nice way to hook up with the locals.
Oh dearie me.
45 minutes.
Pain.
I have not been training at this intensity.
I was lapped.
I was in my own little pain filled world.
Stop.
"Aye, well, enjoy that ?" I couldn't answer because I couldn't breath very well. Although I did practically demonstrate how totally knackered I now was by wrecking Davies wheel when I took his bike for a wee test lap later...... sorry.
This was a big wake up call. Back home I've now found my own 4 minute circuit of pain, with the crucial  steep nasty run-up hill, flat out pedally bit and hard seated climb, but more importantly I now know to what intensity I need to train at - 100% for 45 minutes.
45 minutes eh?
How hard can it be.


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