Cyclocross: The Season

The Cyclo-Cross Season

How you schedule your season depends upon whether you're targeting the National Cyclo-Cross Championships or simply interested in a winter fitness program that will make you a stronger road racer or mountain biker.

If fitness is your goal, you might parallel the European season, which runs from September to the World Championships at the end of January. If you're after a stars-and-stripes jersey, you might follow the U.S. season, which generally runs from October to the National Championships in December. Whichever you decide, be certain to take time off the bike between the end of your "regular" season and the start of cyclo-cross training - you will be training and racing with intensity well into winter while other cyclists are taking a break or spinning easy miles.

A few parts of the country hold cyclo-cross races before October and after December - the New England states, the Northwest and Northern California. These areas have strong cyclo-cross seasons filled with point-series races, and as a result produce some of the best cyclo-cross racers in the United States.

If you plan to go to the National Championships, try to start racing cyclo-cross in September. As with training, start out racing easily, gradually building intensity; by the time the National Championships arrive, you will have the skills necessary to be successful.

If you want to make the USCF National cyclo-cross Team, you will need to plan your season in two phases. You'll need to peak twice - once for the National Cyclo-Cross Championships, often used as the selection race for the National Team, and again for the World Cyclo-Cross Championships at the end of January. This can be very difficult to do in the United States, because there are very few races after Nationals. The best way for you to complete your training for Worlds is to race in Europe. Few riders are advanced enough to follow this regimen.

This Article Published July 22, 2004 For more information contact: