All posts for the month October, 2016

The good the bad and the ugly of where I currently am and, to be completely frank, the season is heavy on the ugly with scattered rays of good.

The Ugly

I’m going to start with the ugly, because it has been a serious area of frustration for me and that is my DNF rate at races this season.  Of nine races, I’ve had mechanical issues in four of them.  In all but one of them, it has been an issue with my tubeless tires.  I am, at this point, blaming it specifically on my Specialized Tracer tires as I didn’t have this problem last year on Schwalbe tires.  In fact, last season I only DNF’d three races and all three were related to crashes.


For better or worse, I bought a set of Specialized mud tires, the Terra Pro, that I am going to mount.  At the very least, they will get me away from the Tracer’s, but it remains to be seen if this will fix my issue.  My hope is that the Terra’s are a crappy tire and that the burping issue isn’t something that all Specialized tires have.

The Bad

Overall, the title of “bad” might be a bit of an overstatement.  This area is probably better suited to stay “needs improvement”.  With that in mind, the biggest issues I have here are:

  1. TTE is too low for my given events (~33 minutes for a 40 minute race)\
    • Most noticeable at Schoolyard CX where I felt a noticeable drop in power on lap 4 and rebounded on lap 5
  2. I don’t have the horsepower to jam up short/steep climbs
    • I ride them at a high power, but it’s well within the bounds of FTP/V02 instead of in the high FRC range


Regarding TTE, I’m already on the right track, but this is one of those metrics that will be hard to move in season.  I’m doing extensive SST work, up to 45min intervals, which should slowly bring TTE in line with my goals.  For my second limiter, raw horsepower, I am going to replace FTP/FRC intervals with Tabata style intervals as they are scientifically show to increase power at and above V02, plus they are extremely cross specific.  This was recommended to me by Frank Overton of FasCat Coaching.

The Good

Believe it or not, there are good things too!  Mentally, I’m doing a great job of keeping up intensity when the race gets hard, although I still find myself braking too much when I get really fatigued.  In fact, I had the highest normalized power of the season at Schoolyard CX by over 20 watts.  I’m finding that concentrating on forced exhales when I am red lining to be really effective.  Additionally, even though skills are still not top notch, they are way better than last season and I can see these as being a strength in the next season!

That’s all for today, I think I’ve unpacked enough of my training baggage for now.  It’s time to put the plans into action and see if I can make a strong course correction for the second half of the season.

Result: DNF (Crash at Start)

Starting Row: 2nd

Call Up: 14th

I was super excited about this race, especially given the amazing call up that I had.  I was called 14th, which landed me in the middle of the second row.  However, I got taken out in the first 10 seconds of the race. I had the tiniest slip of the pedal, I got clipped on the second pedal stroke easily, which allowed another racer to veer into my lane and take me out; his hip checked my handlebars. I might have been able to continue, but the impact exacerbated an issue I already had with my front tire (more below), so I was forced to withdraw.

Overall, the damage is pretty minimal and the onsite mechanic from was amazing. He did a once over on my bike and straightened my rear disc as well as tightened my headset. My sunglasses were also snapped in half.  Beyond the minor damage to my equipment, I’ve got a good size bruise on my hip and some road rash on my right calf, but I think everything is OK. I had my camera, but I messed up the recording, so I don’t have footage of the crash.

The only mitigating factor of this race is that I already had an issue with my front tire that I discovered as I lined up. I was actually losing air due to some debris lodged between the tire bead and rim, so I’m not 100% sure I was going to be able to finish the race anyway. Despite the drawbacks, I think I’m going to try and scrap some cash together for next season and get a set of alloy tubular rims.  I’ve only had a couple of issues running tubeless, but each time it’s a massive headache.  I only get to race so many times a year and even giving up one or two to something silly is more than I want to deal with.

On the up side, a very minor upside, since this course had minimal preview time, I was forced to warm up on the trainer and I tried something new. I had read a while back about team Sky’s warm up protocol they use for basically any kind of race (prologue all the way to road races) and it seemed to be pretty effective. While I obviously didn’t get to test my legs much, I rolled up to the start feeling really good. I’m going to try the same thing tomorrow and see how I feel. As an added bonus, it’s only 20 minutes long!

Oh well, time to go by some new shades and prep my gear for tomorrow’s race. Hopefully I don’t suffer the same fate!


  • Tried the Sky warmup and it had me feeling good


  • Didn’t actually race
  • Minor pedal slip made the other guy’s sketchy move possible

Result: 7/20

Starting Row: 2nd

Call Up: 12th

Yet again, I pull off the best finish of my cyclocross career! While the field was only 20 riders, I did finish within the top 10 for the first time (7th place). To make matters even better, I had a relatively poor start where I wasn’t able to move up at all and even lost a few spots going in to the first turn. Overall, I’m super happy with this result, but I need to keep two things in mind before I celebrate too much:

  1. The USAC quality score meant this result means as much as my 19th at Valmont
  2. I didn’t push through the race to get to sixth.

Now, there’s nothing I can do about point number 1, but I need to keep point number 2 in mind. I could easily have gotten up to sixth position and, given the gaps, possibly made my way up further. I fell short in two ways, the first is that I wanted to maintain what I knew was going to be my best result. The second, was not racing the course correctly. For months, I’ve been pushing myself to race courses in an even and paced manner, but that’s a problem at a venue like Rhyolite because the course is so punchy. When you race here, you are either going full out for ~30 seconds or recovering through a technical or downhill section. I road like I would at Valmont, sustained, but you can’t sustain power here and, next time, I’ll race accordingly.  In fact, I will keep this in mind when I race at Cross of the North this weekend as it rides very similar to Rhyolite.


  • Rode smart after poor start
  • Technically I rode a sound race


  • Needed to push harder for 6th
  • Need to race the course as it is intended (punchy vs. sustained)