After a little time off the bike, Jenny came back fast and fierce. How did she prep to come back to a brutal sport like cyclocross? She’ll tell ya!
Recently, I had a few people ask me about how I prepare for cross races and what I think makes someone have a good race. So I decided to make a list about tips and tricks that I find helpful in having fun and successful races!
As my dad has always said “a clean bike is a fast bike”. Make sure to wash your cross bike after every muddy race.
Practice run-ups. If you are able to run up stairs or a steep hill really fast and not be completely out of breath at the top, it can make you have a better race. Run-ups are also a good place to pass people.
Practice your dismounts and remounts. Know how to correctly dismount your bike before barriers and run-ups, and be able to remount without stutter-stepping. These basic bike handling skills make for a smoother race.
Get the hole-shot! If you are top 5 after the start, you will have a good race. This also gets you away from all the chaos of being in the middle of the pack.
Make sure you eat a good breakfast or lunch before your race. But don’t eat a whole meal 20 minutes before your start! Although I never follow this rule since I can’t eat due of nerves, my dad constantly tells me how important it is. A good snack, that is probably one of the only things I can eat before I race, is a banana. And according to Amanda, bananas actually contain something that calms your nerves!
Learn how to pin your number correctly. Crumple it up, use 8 pins poking it through your jersey and number and back through the number, and line your number up with the seam of your jersey. Also, make sure it is nice and flat against your back, but not too tight that you rip it off the pins.
Lastly, keep your hair out of your face and away from your number! I’ve gotten disqualified from a race before because my hair was partially covering my number. Braids are always a good idea, or a bun as well. You can even tuck it into your jersey! I try to keep my hair to the left so when I carry my bike it doesn’t get in the way.