Cyclocross is fun, exciting, and physically tough. Preparing for an event takes a certain amount of discipline and a commitment to fitness. If you are a serious cyclist chances are your fitness level is pretty high year-round. In the run-up to an event it can be an idea to step it up a notch, then schedule in some rest and recovery time for afterward.
Getting Your Bike Ready
Before the season begins you should give your bike a full overhaul. Take it to bits, grease what needs greasing, clean what needs cleaning, tighten what needs tightening – in short, just do everything you need to do to ensure your bike is in peak condition. If any parts need replacing after heavy wear last season it’s best to get them early and ride them in a while before you hit competitions. Pre-season it can be an idea to put together a box with all the equipment and accessories you may need in it. This way, on race days you can just stick the whole thing in the back of the car and be assured that you have everything you need with you. Don’t forget to include spare wheels and maintenance tools.
Pre-season it can be an idea to mark off any events on your calendar that you wish to participate in and pre-register for them wherever possible. On an event, day checks the website before you set off for any possible updates such as cancellation or road closures. Make sure you have enough money with you to cover entry fees and any drinks or snacks you might want to buy. Co-ordinate with friends if you can so you aren’t all lugging masses of the same equipment with you – things such as tools are pretty universal, but at the same time you don’t want to be without.
Getting Your Body Ready
Keeping fit year-round is essential for any serious cyclist, but as the cyclocross season begins it is time to really step on it. Devise a training program for yourself before the season begins. Include events week training and non-events week training schedules and make sure you factor in plenty of downtimes too. Include a diet plan and make sure you eat plenty of protein and energy-rich carbohydrates if you plan on exercising more than usual. Practice the necessary skills but also vary your activity to keep it fun. Hit the gym, go for a run or play sports as well as cycle training.