Be ready when the gun goes off in CX

CX is here and it is a different sport from what we have been doing so far this year -:)

I know it is pedaling a bike like on the road or on a Mtn bike and the guy or girl who goes the fastest wins , but what makes CX so different from the other cycling disciplines is the preparation before the gun goes off.

I will here write up a basic routine that I have used and followed for years and of course fine tuned and perfected over time . Many of you have already listened to me preaching this to you and adapted it to your own CX regiment.

When you pack up your car going to the race ; bring EVERYTHING you own cycling and cyclocross related !

If it is a double race weekend and you have to stay overnight or even just a one day race BRING;

-2 bikes (if you have 2) sometimes I would prefer 3 -;)
-Extra wheels with different type of tires ; mud , dry grass ( most important) and file thread ( not that important , but certain races a benefit ) if you have extra sets of wheels besides the ones on the bike(s) ; bring them! Tubes if you race on clinchers.
-Tools + extra break pads, pedals , a floor pump, tire gauge ( yes if you do not know how to go by feel , the pump gauge is not accurate ) chain lube and a bucket with brushes and simple green to clean your bike other than just hosing it off.
– Toe spikes and if you have 2 pairs of shoes, some screws and even cleats
– A bag of all different type of gloves , booties and hats
– Skinsuits ( L/S , S/S ) a clean one for each day , so you do not have to do laundry !
– Warm up kits ; shorts, jerseys , jackets ,arm, knee and leg warmers, rain jacket, rain pants, a lots of socks , base layers etc.
– Embrocation ( warm up oils like SportsBalm ) a little first aid kit and baby wipes and towles.
– Food , regular and sports food what you will need for 2 days , bottles and drink mix , gels and recovery stuff. Anything you are used to eating and what works for you !

If your race starts @ 12.00 for example :

– Get there around 9.15-9.20 !!! Yes 2.5- 2.45 before your start. That way you will have 2 chances to get on the course before your race which is very critical to be able to do well.
– Kit up as soon as get there and get your bike ready , start with a little higher tire pressure you think you will use in the race .
– The 9.00 am race will be over about 9.40 , so that is when you can get on the course for your first time .
– Try to get 2 laps in , ride slow , Check out the start ( lines and what side is better to be on ) check out lines on the course, get a feel of tire pressure , take some air out if it feels like a rough ride . Determine where to push hard and where to recover on the course .
– Go back to the car , pick up your number , eat something , get your other bike ready ,if you need to switch or try out another tire type get all this ready to go . Pin your number if you have time ( this is not important yet)
– The 10.00 am race will be over about 10.40 , so this will be the 2nd and final time you can get on the course . 2 laps again , little faster pace and go over the same things on the course as you did an hour ago , decide on tire and pressure choice for the race !
– Go back to the car , eat something , bathroom, get you skinsuit on with numbers pinned embrocation if needed , warm up jacket , leg warmers , decide on everything you will wear at the race, check your bike(s) , bring your spare bike or wheels to the pit.
– Now you should have about 45 min to warm up and get to the start.
– Warm up ; I prefer to warm up on a road if there is one available and the weather is not too nasty . Other wise on the trainer ( maybe under a tent)
-Tempo efforts 3-10 minin length works well for me . A gradual opening up and not all out which tends to accumulate too much lactate acid before the race and hard to get ride of before the start, but this is individual prefrence and as a coach we can talk and see what works the best for you .
– Get to the start 15 min in advance , take your warm up clothing off and be there for your call up ! if is cold and rainy keep a jacket over your shoulders as long as possible and then toss it to the side when it is time.
– Turn the pedal ( the one you will be clipping into) on your bike when you are on the start line , so when it comes up to about 11 o’clock it is flat and ready for you to step right in when the gun goes off and a minimal chance of missing clipping in .

You have now done all the home work on the day of your race and there will be no doubt in your mind about anything , you did not rush anything and you paid attention to every detail this morning to be 100% ready when the gun goes off.