After a few years of prodding by a client who happens to be a fellow cyclocross racer and cycling enthusiast I finally gave in. I got myself mountain bike shoes, wider tires, a whole new bike, and went on a race registration rampage. I had just trained for over 10 months with my eyes solely focused on the prize, the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. After achieving success in Ironman, I didn’t want to quit working out or racing, but I also did not want to ride my TT bike for 100 miles, swim for an hour or run 16 miles.
Enter cyclocross, affectionately known as “CX”.
Over the years my client had been relentless in her efforts to get me to try cyclocross, even after we’d worked on a number of cycling related injuries together at Rose PT. It turned out to be just the thing I needed after a grueling season of long course triathlon. Once back from Hawaii, I dove in head first to the sport of cyclocross. After a couple practice sessions to learn some basics like mounting and dismounting, I registered for both my first and second cyclocross race. I was excited. I’m not sure it was love at first sight, I was shaking and nervous when I toed the first start line, but I crossed the finish line smiling and eager to try again. The eagerness to compete and race hadn’t been there most of the year, which is unusual for me and I welcomed it back with open arms.
Those first two races were tough, my heart rate was absolutely through the roof and my body wanted badly to race at Ironman effort (comfortably uncomfortable) not all out for 35 minutes as cyclocross requires. My technical skills improved and my body adapted faster than I’d expected and I raced 1-2 races almost every weekend after that through mid-December. I was challenging different physical systems – fast twitch muscle fibers, anaerobic energy production, and technical bike skills to name a few. I was also in a completely new and unknown environment, one of zero expectations internal or external and it helped to reignite my competitive fire.
Trying something new can benefit our future training in our primary sport, help develop new motor movement patterns and skills, develop other aspects of fitness, change our sports psyche and expand our social world. While off-season is an important part of a periodized annual training plan I’d encourage everyone to allow themselves at least four weeks of less structured activity. Allow yourself to try new things, fail, succeed and develop new skills in those four weeks. You might be surprised by the carry over into your primary sport. The coordination, technical bike handling skills, and sprint finishes I experienced at cyclocross are not anything I would have picked up in triathlon but I’m already seeing carry over and progress in my early season triathlon training and looking forward to capping off 2018 with another cyclocross season.
Dive In and Try Something New
- Remember you’re doing this to have fun and have a new experience!
- Ask for help and advice from those with experience.
- Have friends join you and encourage each other.
- Enjoy the feeling of ZERO expectations
As always we’re here at Rose PT to help prepare and keep you going in whatever adventure you choose.