Here we are in the middle of June and believe it or not there are only about 10 weeks left until the start of the 2018/19 cyclocross season in North America. The season kicks off September 1st this year with UCI racing in Virginia and Toronto.
RideCX invites you to countdown toward to the start of the season with 10 weeks of tips and tricks to get your bike, body, and mind ready for the intensity of cyclocross racing.
10 weeks out is a great time to be thinking about getting your equipment finalized. As the season approaches you’ll be moving from general base training to practicing the more specific skills for ‘cross. You want to do those skills and fitness on the equipment you’ll be racing on.
That seems obvious, but so many riders make last-minute changes right before the season and then lack that familiarity with their equipment. Your bike should feel like an extension of your body, not something new. To get there requires repetition. So with 10 weeks to go, here are some things to dial in:
Pedals: take a moment to inspect your cleats on the bottom of your shoes. The fixing bolts should have clear, sharp edges where the hex tool goes in and the cleat itself should not be worn. If the cleat is worn from hike-a-bike, think about replacing it now. You don’t want to struggle to get the cleat position correct on the first race weekend, or worse, mid-season. This is also a great time to experiment with release tension, if your pedals have that feature. Find a tension that allows you to dismount for obstacles but is still snug enough to sprint without releasing accidentally.
Planning on new shoes? Same deal, get them tested out now!
Wheels and tires: many a rider has blown it by trying to glue tires at the last minute. If you are running tubulars, get the tires and get them glued up ASAP. You want to have the opportunity to try out that new tread at race speed and race PSI to test your glue or tape. Running tubeless? Air them up with sealant to make sure they don’t burp under heavy cornering. Especially in dry climates you’ll want to open those up to replenish sealant before your first race too.
Brakes: don’t wait until the night before the season opener to discover that your brake pads are worn out. Especially on modern disc brake bikes, it isn’t visually obvious when a pad is worn. Make sure to remove them and inspect. If you don’t know how to remove and install brake pads on your particular make/model, this is a good opportunity to investigate and learn that skill when you aren’t under a time constraint.
Bike Fit: mid-season isn’t the time to be changing your saddle height, bar width, etc.
- Clothing: finally, don’t forget about apparel. Select the gloves, shorts, jersey, (or skinsuit) and socks you plan to race in and put them through the ringer checking for chafing or blisters. If you plan to use chamois cream, which is nice on race day, test that out too.
See you next week!