Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Friday, October 1, 2010

'Cross- the Best Kind of Pain

Cyclocross is something that is near and dear to me. It's one of the things I love most about the fall in New England, and for the past 11 years it's been the shortest and sweetest part of my season. No matter what I've done over the spring and summer I've always made a push to make it out to at least a handful of 'cross races.

The first 'cross race of the year is one of the most painful days of the season. Every time it's a brutal shock to the system and I get the "speed hack" cough to remind me that my lungs haven't been opened that far since the end of the previous season.

I've already got the first one out of the way, so I keep telling myself that the rest are going to get easier. That's half true, because the pain is still as bad but I can go faster. The big change this year is that I've got a season long training plan, and it starts with a 5 hour training ride tomorrow.

Most training plans are focused on intensity, and that's the key to success in cyclocross. The difference is that my plan is based on my aerobic strength rather than just focusing on racing. This is the downside of telling your coach you want to become an elite- he builds a plan that will kick your ass, make you work for it and make you better.

How hard is the plan? I'll need to take some time off work so that I can fit in my mid-week rides. I'll be pushing volume into the fall like I never have before. With any luck, my results will follow, but there's no guarantee.

It starts tomorrow, and on a sunny autumn Saturday in October there's nothing I'd rather be doing.

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