Some Cyclocross Advice—and a Couple Nether Region-Specific Tips for the Season
So, cyclocross is here. (How did that happen so fast?!) … Anyway, the start of the season always brings up a few things that you can do — or shouldn’t do — to make this season great. Some of these are obvious to those of us who’ve been racing for a while, but for some newcomers, this is excellent stuff to keep in mind. (This post is also available at SaddleSoreWomen.com, where my lady-parts-and-biking content lives!)
Don’t Mix Chamois Cream and Embrocation
Enough said. (Also, wear latex gloves when applying embro if you want to avoid getting it in… places.)
Personal favorite chamois cream: Petal Power Joy Ride Women’s Natural Anti-Chafe Chamois Cream
Practice Those Skills
Dismounts and remounts, plus barrier running are the obvious skills that you touch on in practice and at clinics. But consider this: Most courses have 2 spots to dismount/remount, but over 50 corners per lap. If you can make your corners 2 seconds faster (trust me, that doesn’t take much practice), you’ll save over a minute per lap, compared to practicing remounts to save .2 seconds per lap.
Embrace the Crowd
The best part about cyclocross is the family-friendly atmosphere. Don’t go to races alone, drag your whole crew with you and spend the day cheering and hanging out after your race.
Be Smart About Running
We just did a podcast episode on the topic of running for cyclocross, and the basic premise is this: If you’re not a runner, don’t start running big miles just because it’s cyclocross season. Opt for short, fast sprint-style bursts to train for the type of running that you’ll actually be doing. (Listen to the full episode here for all the tips.)
Watch Where You Remount
Seriously, repeat after me: I will not slam my lady parts onto the saddle. When you remount, your upper thigh should be the first point of contact with the saddle, and then you’ll slide over and onto said lady parts. But smashing into the saddle, labia first, is a recipe for disaster.
Get Ready to Go Deep
It’s only 45 minutes, and those 45 minutes are going to freaking hurt. But don’t give up, even if someone passes you, even if you crash, etc. … Just focus on going as hard as you can and getting to the finish line.
Take. Off. Your. Chamois.
I say this a lot but CX is even worse, with mud, chamois cream, rain, sweat, etc… And then, the post-race hanging out and beer tent. Bring a skirt for a fast change, and get out of that wet kit ASAP.