The cyclo-cross season opens in GA in about two weeks with the Grant Park CX Cup on Oct 2nd! After Labor Day weekend I swapped out my road tires for knobbies, and am ready to get racing. I've also had to figure out my CX season goals.
Since my focus is road racing, I think of cross in terms of how it fits within my road racing year. I'd like to hit the ground running for the 2017 race season in March, and training for that will start in late December and January with base building, so everything I do should try to facilitate that, as well as work on areas that I need improvement on the road. I'd like to be rested and eager by the time base begins, because staying motivated to go into the basement and get on the trainer at 5:30am isn't always easy. With that in mind, I came up with these three CX season (Oct to early Dec) goals:
We're coming into the part of the year when it's traditional to gain weight. When it's cold outside I think the body has a natural urge to eat more, because being fatter makes you warmer. Cold weather also means less activity in general (yard work, going on walks, etc). And of course, the big eating and drinking holidays arrive: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
I've also gained a few pounds through the end of the road racing season. That was because of eating in order to avoid getting over trained and to keep my strength up.
So instead of waiting for all the hours of base training in order to melt off fat to get to the weight and body composition needed to race optimally (which is a classic approach), I have the goal of hitting December 4lbs lighter than I am now.
One of my weaknesses on the bike is cornering at high speeds in the peloton. It comes from my fear of both sliding out and of another racer taking a bad line. Though I don't have a tangible goal to reach, I'd like to improve my cornering speed and skill in CX in order to translate those skills and sensations to cornering on the road. I'm doing that by focusing on tight turns in my CX training (here's a sample stretch - basically zigzagging along a park):
Probably my main goal is to have fun with my buddies while keeping fitness up. The crowds at CX races are more laid back, many of the racers compete hard but don't take it too seriously, and the scene is fun: beer, handups, mud. At the larger races it really is a bit like a tailgate party. And hell, sometimes you just gotta get out there and have some fun!