Wednesday, July 30, 2008

time to start working on skills

bend at the elbows and knees...not the fork.

Monday, July 28, 2008

some ideas, in case you're wondering

Cyclocross Training Schedule
From Simon Burney

September (3 weeks of training)

Mon 20 min steady running, am. 60 min level 2 road ride, pm
Tue 20 min steady running, am. 60 min circuit training, pm
Wed 20 min steady running, am. 60 min level 2 road ride, pm
Thu 20 min steady running, am. 60 min level 2 road ride, pm
Fri 60 min level 1 recovery ride
Sat 30 min cross technique, 60 min cross race simulation.
Sun 2-3 hour recovery ride over rolling terrain.

September (1 week recovery)

Mon, Wed, Fri 60 min level 1 recovery ride
Tue, Thu 20 min steady running, am
Sat, Sun 90 min level 2 road ride.

October (3 weeks of training)

Mon 60 min level 1 road ride
Tue 20 min run, am. 60 min level 2 road ride, pm
Wed 20 min run, am. 30 min warmup, 30 min level 3 road ride,or turbo trainer pm
Thu 20 min run, am. 60 min level 2 road ride, pm
Fri 60 min level 1 recovery ride
Sat 2 hour level 1 recovery ride
Sun Race or race simulation

October (1 week recovery) Same recovery as above

November (3 weeks of training)

Mon 60 min level 1 road ride
Tue 25 min run Level 3+, am. 60 min level 2 road ride, pm
Wed 30 min intervals on Turbotrainer, am. 60 min level 1 road ride, pm
Thu 20 min run Level 2, am. 30 min warmup, 30 min level 3 road ride or turbo trainer, pm
Fri rest or 45-60 min level 1 recovery ride
Sat Race or race simulation
Sun Race or race simulation

November (1 week recovery) Same recovery as above

December (3 weeks of training)
Mon 60 – 90 min level 1 road ride
Tue 30 min running, am. 60 min level 2 road ride, pm
Wed 30 min intervals on turbo trainer, am 60 min cross skills, pm
Thu 25 min running, am. 60 min level 2 road ride with jumps, pm
Fri rest or 45 - 60 min level 1 recovery ride
Sat Race or race simulation
Sun Race or race simulation

December (1 week recovery) Same recovery as above

Preparing for the Cyclo-Cross Season
From Adam Myerson

I know it's the middle of summer, and many of you might be struggling just to get through the rest of the road or mountain bike season. The thought of racing through the fall and winter might be more than you can bear right now. But for some riders, cyclo-cross has become the focus of their racing, or at least as important as the racing they do the rest of the year. And since July tends to be the time that many riders are feeling run down and over trained, it's a good time for a break. A one- to two-week vacation from riding and racing followed by a build up that starts from square one again can leave you racing strong on the road or mountain bike in the late summer and fall, and peaking in October, November and December when the real action is on.

The first thing you have to pin down are your goals for the 'cross season. Do you want to be going well right out of the blocks in October? Is there a regional or national race series in which you want to do well in over all? Is there one big race locally you want to target, or are all your eggs in the basket for Nationals in December? You might even be planning to venture to Europe in January, or perhaps you live in the Southeast or Texas where they're lucky enough to keep racing 'cross until February.

All these concerns factor in to what level you start your 'cross program from. If you've taken the summer off and are really just getting things rolling now, then you'll have to start from a low level and build up slowly, with perhaps as much as three months of aerobic base training taking you into the heart of the season in November. At the other extreme, if you need to be raging in October for the start of your local series or maybe the string of Northeast UCI races, you'll need a different approach. You might only do one four- to six-week cycle of aerobic work, and have to rely on your fitness from the road or mountain bike season to get back into top shape quickly.

Since your training for 'cross will most likely overlap with some important late-season road or mountain bike races, there are certain 'cross-specific workouts you might have to avoid until as late as September. Running and road racing mix like oil and water, so if you've got a big event late you might decide to put off your uphill running sprints or tempo on the trails until after that point. Even then, you've got to introduce running into your workouts slowly. Ten to fifteen minutes per session to start is enough to let your body begin to adapt to what's to come. If 'cross is your priority, then you can start your running adaptation right from the get-go, leaving you in a good position to be turning the screws on the pure roadies when you hit the run-ups in October.

Your general routine for 'cross shouldn't be that different from what you might do in the road or mountain bike season, with the exception of your workouts on foot:

Monday: Recovery, easy one- to two-hour road ride, or day off.
Tuesday: Recovery if needed, or sprint workout, either running or riding. Ideally you want your running sprints to recreate what you'd do in a race. Find a short, steep hill that takes you about fifteen seconds to sprint over. Give yourself two to five minutes between efforts for recovery. For your riding sprints, simulate the kind of accelerations you'll need to make in 'cross. Hard explosions from low speeds, with an emphasis on both speed and strength. This can be done on the road or one the 'cross bike, depending on what you need to work on.
Wednesday: Normally a 'cross workout, and perhaps the only day of the week you'll ride your 'cross bike unless you need to work specifically on skills. Here is where you can work on your fifteen- to twenty-minute efforts at threshold, again emphasizing both speed and strength to be prepared for all courses. You should be aiming to finish as many minutes at LT (lactate threshold) as the length of the 'cross races in which you'll be competing. Later in the season when your base is complete, you might add a training race or as many three-minute long anaerobic intervals to the workout as you can handle.
Thursday: Recovery day if you're racing on Saturday, or a two- to five-hour road ride depending on your fitness level.
Friday: Recovery day, or a short sprint workout on the road or 'cross bike if you're racing on Saturday.
Saturday: Race, or repeat Tuesday's workout.
Sunday: Race, or combine a road ride with the length of Thursday's ride and the intervals of Wednesday. This is also a good day to go for a longer, fun ride in the woods on your 'cross bike. "Mountain biking" on your 'cross bike is one of the best ways to develop good 'cross instincts in an unstructured way.
If you're serious about cyclo-cross, then these suggestions and time-line will help get you on track for a good start to the season. If you've never raced 'cross before and are thinking about giving it a go, now's the time to start looking for a bike and making sure you're ready when the September training races begin.

Running for Cyclo-Cross
From Adam Myerson

Most of us are bike racers, not runners. And while some of us may have a little more natural talent for it, or even a running or triathlon background, running when you've spent a season racing road or mountain bikes just plain hurts. It takes some specific work to first be able to incorporate adaptive running into your training as the 'cross season approaches, and then actually be able to do some structured training to improve your running fitness. 'Cross is painful enough, but by focusing on running in your training you can turn a weakness into a strength, or further your advantage if that's where you're already strong.

The first step in your running program should be to determine when you think you can begin to include it as part of your workouts. Ideally, you don't want to begin until after your last important road or mountain bike event of the year. A mountain bike racer might be able to handle it a bit sooner, and may even include running as part of their plan already. But for a road rider, nothing will kill your speed worse that running, so wait as long as you can. If 'cross is your specialty and you're using the road or mountain bike events only as training, then you can begin running as soon as you start your base period for the season.

Once they begin, a mistake many riders make is to go for long, extended runs. That's great if you're training for a 10K, but in 'cross you have to be specific. Take a look at the length of time you're typically on foot in a 'cross race. Normally it's for stretches where you're at maximum intensity for about 15 seconds or so, and the longest a run should be in a well-designed 'cross course is 80 meters. Sounds more like a short sprint to me than a 10KS 'Cross races might be lost on the runs, but they're rarely won. It's still mostly about who can pedal their bike the fastest.

Even if you're emphasizing short bursts, you still need to do some adaptive work to be able to handle the training. Start with short, 15-minute jogs at a very low intensity one to two times a week, just to get your body used to the movement. When you can finish 15 minutes of jogging with no soreness the next day, you're ready to go. That might take only a week, or as long as a month. Always wait until the soreness subsides before you undertake another running workout.

When you're ready to introduce some real running work, there are a number of different ways to do it. Again, because you should be emphasizing short bursts, much of your running can take the form of a traditional Tuesday sprint workout. Find a steep hill, ideally off-road, that takes you 10-15 seconds to sprint up. Structure the workout just as I've described here previously for the road: 100% effort, from rest, with the sprints being no closer than one every 2 minutes. How many you do will depend on how many quality efforts you're able to complete. You should consider your average 'cross race: how many laps is normal, and how many runs per lap? If you have 2 decent runs in a race that will be about 10 laps, then you should be prepared to build up to 20 solid sprinting efforts in your workout.

You can do this as its own workout without your bike, where you simply jog at a light intensity to your sprinting spot and jog home. You can also do it as part of a 'cross ride where you do your warm up on the bike, and then include a dismount and mount as part of your sprinting effort. If your technique is good and you want to isolate the specific fitness aspect of the sprint, then chose the former approach. If you feel you still need work on your skills and ability to run well with the bike on your shoulder, choose the latter.

There are courses or regions where you'll find yourself dealing with longer, extended runs, and the 15-second efforts aren't enough to prepare you for all your races. This is where you might try to include more running as part of your training on Wednesday. Wednesday should normally be the day for a 'cross-specific workout on a local course or with a small group session. Here you can try to incorporate a longer, up to a minute-long run as part of your course. You might also decide to do a separate running workout, ideally in the morning, where you designate some of your threshold training work to be done on foot. Up to 15 -minute running intervals at LT is a slightly less race-specific approach, but can be a good way to improve on the longer runs.

Another angle on your running training for 'cross is to use it as a substitute workout on those late fall days where you find yourself stuck at work and getting out after dark. While again, long running days shouldn't be your first choice, if the trainer's lost it's charm and your pressed for time and daylight, converting your intervals for the day to a running workout can help you solve two problems at once. Tuesday and Wednesday are definitely the best days for this. Be sure to focus on the intensity rather than the duration. Get the intervals done, but don't worry about hitting the total time you might have done if you were out on the bike.

There are many different ways to approach running for 'cross. Your training might vary from 3-5 days a week with at least a short jog, to the other extreme of only running during a 'cross workout or race. What you decide should be based on the time you have available to add a running workout, if it's a strength or weakness you want to emphasize, or if the courses you race on require that you improve your skills off the bike. You might find that a little more focus on your running is a small investment that returns big dividends, and turns a place you once suffered into a place you can attack.

Adam Hodges Myerson is a cycling coach, race promoter, team manager, and USCF category 1 racer. In addition to being a cycling coach, he is a former Collegiate National Cyclo-Cross champion and promoter of both the New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series and the Amherst International UCI Cyclo-Cross. His company is called Cycle-Smart, and he can be reached at He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts with his wife, Allison, and their two cats Birdie and Marie.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jim 'N Nick's (The Best BBQ in Town!)

The Birmingham News is asking readers to vote for their favorite BBQ place in town - and we all know that's Jim 'N Nick's!

Here’s the link to vote:


Saturday, July 05, 2008


It's Tour DE France time, so all important announcements in the cycling world must be made, right? BAMACROSS being no exception, here it is:

10/5 - BBC (Homewood)
10/12 - Pathworks (Mobile) x 2 points, possible 2 day race
10/26 - Competetive Velo (Prattville)
11/2 - Velocity (T'town)
11/9 - GSMR (B'ham)
11/16 - Wig's wet wipe special (Anniston) possible night race with after party at Mellow Mushroom
11/30 - Cycle Escape (Montgomery)
12/7 - CCC (Cullman)

We will have a "drop" race this year.

We (the organizers) are still ironing out details, but this should be the biggest year yet. 9 races? ouch!