Can Cyclocross Make You a Stronger, Faster Cyclist? – with Stephen Hyde and Grant Holicky

Whether you’re a roadie, a mountain biker or a triathlete, the unique demands of cyclocross mean it can make you better at your preferred discipline. On this week’s show we chat with cyclocross experts Grant Holicky and Stephen Hyde about the many benefits of ‘cross.

WASHINGTON OCTOBER 22 – An elite woman cyclist competes in DC’s cyclocross event, DCCX, on October 22, 2017 in Washington DC

Cyclocross is a discipline that’s raced in the fall and winter in conditions that most athletes shun (think: wet, cold, and muddy). Depending on the category, racers spend 30 minutes to an hour holding intensities they typically only touch in other disciplines—all while jumping barriers, running up stairs, and flying through sand and mud pits.  

Cyclocross races happen every weekend on a safe and closed course. They build skills and push you harder than you could ever go, even in your best interval session. There really is something for all of us to gain from cyclocross, regardless of whether we are primarily road racers, mountain bikers, or triathletes.  

To say that it’s unique among cycling disciplines is an understatement. But a more important point of discussion is whether there are gains we can get from cyclocross that we can’t get any other way—and that’s exactly what we get into in this week’s show. Considering the number of top racers, including Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert, who got their start in cyclocross, there may be something to this question.  

Joining us today to talk about those potential gains we have multi-time U.S. National champion Stephen Hyde and elite cyclocross coach Grant Holicky, who’s the coach of current U.S. National Champion Eric Brunner.  

So, pull out your A-bike—and your B-bike—because it’s muddy out there, and let’s make you fast! 

Episode Transcript

Trevor Connor  00:04

Hello and Welcome to Fast Talk, your source for the science of endurance sport. That’s good enough for this episode. I’m Grant Holicky and I’m here with Trevor and Rob. Our guest this week is Stephen Hyde. Stephen has been recently named the director of USA Cyclocross are the manager of USA Cyclocross, and that’s why I’m hosting. We’re gonna get dirty this week, we’re gonna have to wash your Shami twice, we’re gonna get to that place where we make sure you weren’t wearing white because you’re going to ruin it. We’re going to talk some cross.

Rob Pickels  00:40

From henceforth I think Stephen should just be the man of USA cyclocross.

Trevor Connor  00:45

I got that. I’m down. You good with that Stephen?

Stephen Hyde  00:47

Yeah, I’m fine with that. Typically, I’m just the coach. But oh, yeah, I’ll take whatever I get.

Trevor Connor  00:52

Okay, I just I just wrote ever I just I just just demoted Jesse Anthony. And from Steven high right here on this show.

Rob Pickels  01:02

Well, that’s because Steven is is the man of cyclocross. And it’s okay that it was a terrible intro. Everybody knows that. We’re just going to rerecord an introduction anyway.

Trevor Connor  01:10

I hope so. That’s what I’m looking for.

Stephen Hyde  01:12

It was nice to get a lot of dry now.

Trevor Connor  01:15

It was like it was nice

Rob Pickels  01:17

to try it out and training wheels over here for grant.

Trevor Connor  01:21

Everybody’s got to start on a Strider.

Stephen Hyde  01:23

Yeah, don’t let them get it too fast.

Trevor Connor  01:24

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Trevor Connor  02:02

So we do want to spend some time this week talking with you Stephen about a couple different points but one of which is the benefits of of cyclocross and why you love it so much. Why I love it so much. I know Rob loves it, Trevor, not so much Trevor

Rob Pickels  02:18

doesn’t love it.

Trevor Connor  02:19

I love it. I’m just horrible at right

Trevor Connor  02:21

got it. So

Stephen Hyde  02:23

that make you like it. That’s that’s the goal of this episode.

Trevor Connor  02:27

I did some prep this weekend. You see this band aid on my finger from Ryan cross. I was out on the trails. I hit a this is like the luckiest moment of my life. I literally went and did a cross course down in Longmont where I’ve done the race on that course. Xilinx I can’t remember the name.

Trevor Connor  02:46

No, no, no, it’s the where they have blue sky.

Rob Pickels  02:50

Big dirt mound

Trevor Connor  02:51

but hit a bump that I did not see happen. It was one of those hands completely came off the brakes. I slammed down chest on the handlebars. I don’t know how I crash didn’t crash. But put my hand in the spokes. What? And that’s like, that’s the thing though. Like fingers that’s pro level right there. So I took a chunk out of my finger, but considering what could have happened. That was that was pretty lucky. I did not crash.

Rob Pickels  03:20

Trevor. We went for a gravel ride on Friday. Why weren’t you more prepared for this cyclocross course?

Trevor Connor  03:27

It’s because I suck. And I proved it.

Trevor Connor  03:32

So anyway, luckily then we have Steven Hyde here three time national cyclocross champion doesn’t suck. He’s He’s much better than Trevor at cyclocross. So I have

Stephen Hyde  03:43

crashed a lot harder though.

Trevor Connor  03:46

You are also probably going a lot faster than what I’m embarrassed to speed.

Rob Pickels  03:52

Stephen was at least winning something when he crashed.

Trevor Connor  03:55

Yeah, yeah, that’s probably true. Well, let’s start with you. Steven. I want to start with why do you love cyclocross, what made cyclocross and still does make cyclocross special for you? Why are you so passionate about it?

Stephen Hyde  04:10

You know, I think it’s like, it’s kind of the most like, punk rock of all the, like cycling disciplines in a way, right? Like it’s, it’s kind of dumb, like you shouldn’t do it. It doesn’t make any sense. We’re using bikes that don’t belong on a course that like shouldn’t kind of exist. We’re not even on our bike the whole time. Is pretty dumb. Like it’s kind of a stupid sport. So I think I love it for that fact. It’s just so bizarre and extreme and like anything can happen. You literally never know what is going to happen in a race until it’s happening. It’s the wrong time of year to ride your bike in places that no one no one wants to ride a bike and yeah, you’re on a bike that you’re not supposed to be

Trevor Connor  04:53

rode on. You are really convincing me to do you selling this hard.

Rob Pickels  04:57

It’s a contradiction. Yeah, to go along. As Steven here, I think something that I’m always surprised by is that I didn’t break my bike at the end of a cyclocross race to survive, and be like, Wow, all my pieces are still intact. That alone feels like a win. Even if you’re not on the podium, you won,

Trevor Connor  05:14

you want something? You won your bike for another week.

Trevor Connor  05:17

This is the only cycling discipline I know of where you put a bike in some central area, because chances are the bike you start on, isn’t gonna make it to the end of the race.

Stephen Hyde  05:29

You count on it.

Rob Pickels  05:31

I had somebody asked me one time, like, how are you so fast through that section? And I flat out told them I don’t care about my wheels?

Trevor Connor  05:37

Yeah, that’s a piece of the puzzle, right? When you know, you have that backup? You can it changes what you can do. And then over time, you get really, really good at the finesse and the planning. Yeah. And the planning. You’re right. You’re right. Well,

Trevor Connor  05:53

so even though you have convinced everybody, they now need to do cross,

Stephen Hyde  05:59

or stay away from either one, either.

Trevor Connor  06:03

We’ve been talking about this lately, the diversification of cycling that there was a time you could be just a road racer, and you would get your fill of race. And by the time that cross season would come around, you’re like, No, I’m ready to sit on my couch. We don’t really live in that world anymore. So people are now jumping into gravel jumping into mountain biking, and cyclocross is a great way to get a longer season, get some more racing and because there is still a full cyclocross season. So, we’re very interested today and really talking about how to use cross to work on your fitness to extend your season to get a little more to work on those sides of things that you couldn’t get any other way. And so that’s the question I would love to ask the two of you as across experts. What can you get out of cyclocross that you couldn’t get racing on the road? Fun?

Trevor Connor  07:01

I think I think the road could be fun, too. I don’t think we need to go there.

Rob Pickels  07:07

Do you? What did you like sitting in the corner when your mom punished you as a kid? Like, was that fun? Wow. No, that’s what road racing is.

Trevor Connor  07:15

The next seven minute road race. I’m going to turn to trapper and yeah. Is this fun for you, Trevor? Yeah.

Trevor Connor  07:21

I did a road race yesterday with 12,000 feet of climbing. That was fun. The previous day, it was on my cross bike, I took a chunk out of my finger. I’m gonna argue with this one. All right.

Grant Holicky  07:32

I think personally, what I see that I get out across and I think, Stephen, you’re super interesting, because you come from a different angle. You know, I came from Cross came to cross from triathlon, and then road racing, and then cross. So whatever always got out across was, it was so different. The things that you were talking about, Stephen, it’s the challenge is the, you’re off your bike, you’re on your bike, I got to use some of the things I was good at, as an athlete growing up playing soccer or doing some of those other things. That was really cool. For me. And that’s why I fell in love with it. You came at it from a completely different angle. How did you come across?

Stephen Hyde  08:11

Yeah, I mean, I’m from Florida. So there’s not a ton of work culture there. So it actually took me a long time to even like, kind of realize that it was a thing. You know, I used to just, like, sit at the bike shop I worked at and watch YouTube videos of races and thought that looks insane. Sign me up, you know, but there wasn’t even races around. So for me, I just kind of like, I found it because I like to experiment was doing. I loved I loved riding road bikes, off road, for whatever reason, and and loved finding, you know, the journey, yes, kind of worst roads that I could find, right? Like it’s any kind of dirt gravel, and then ride it on, on the road bike, you know, not necessarily anything bigger than what we had for road time. I just always liked that challenge of finding the kind of limit of the bike, and the limit of whatever you had with you. And I think when I when I saw cyclocross, I saw that it was a an exercise in expressing the limits of the equipment in the person. And to me personally, I feel like there’s kind of a life analogy of like, there’s a finish line, but there’s no very direct way to get there. And you just kind of have to make it up as you go along and make good decisions that keep you off the ground.

Grant Holicky  09:33

Right? Yeah.

Stephen Hyde  09:35

For whatever reason that’s appealing.

Trevor Connor  09:37

Yeah, but I think that’s part of what’s appealing to me. And I think, you know, Rob’s mentioned this before, tires are a big thing in his life. But you know, the nuance that comes into cross whether that be tire pressure, tire tread, by choice, line, choice, all those things. It’s a constantly evolving, sport and place I mean, you could be one lap. That’s the line the next lap That is no longer the line, I’ve got to do something completely different. And I think that appeals to me and you’re speaking to that as well.

Rob Pickels  10:07

I know grant, that’s what appeals to me as well, right? If you’re one foot to the right of where you were, that might unlock the better line, the better traction, the better angle into the corner, looking at what all the previous racers did oftentimes is the wrong thing to do that burnt in line is usually one of the worst lines that you can ride on, especially in the States. I love analyzing and I love finding the fastest way around something to ride a corner, go back ride the corner again, right? Okay, you take the wide, I’ll take the inside, let’s see who comes out fastest, to psi higher to psi lower a different tread. All of that can make such a big difference in cyclocross, and mountain bike has technique and mountain bike has line choice as well. But not in this very, it’s almost like a laboratory for cyclocross, for me, because it’s a closed course that’s relatively short, you’re doing a lot of laps on it. You can experiment in my opinion in cyclocross more than you can in any other discipline.

Trevor Connor  11:07

Well, and Steven, I’ll have you speak to this at Worlds last year in Fayetteville, that is what you spent the entire weekend doing was riding the course with the athletes. Yeah,


yeah, absolutely. In fact, like the kind of comparison to mountain bike, the big differences here is that like, the industry pushes the boundaries in terms of what those bikes are capable of doing. So the like cross country races we’re seeing now, like they’re on much different bikes than they used to be on, we’re still basically on the same bike, we’re still basically on the same equipment, some of the materials have changed. And those have changed. But the restrictions on bike technology are still pretty strict with cyclocross, and the courses are just getting harder, and the races are just going faster. So it’s not the bike, necessarily, you know, it’s not disc brakes that are changing the world of cyclocross. There’s not tires on this, because there’s really not new tire design. So it really is just like evolution of people’s ability and ways of thinking. Right. And I think that there are a lot of kind of traditionalists and cyclocross and the ones who tend to think out of the box and have a good foundation of tradition, are the ones that tend to do do really well, right, Grant, like you were talking about, at Worlds, can you take all these athletes that have this very ingrained sense of their own ability, and how they race courses, but like, we also race on in different parts of the world that have different types of dirt, you have three tires to choose from one of the tread designs is more than 30 years old, you can’t just swap out something and all sudden, you’re just going to be better on this new dirt, doesn’t new conditions, new angles, leave speeds, etc, you really do have to be able to get in there and adapt yourself. Again, I think that’s one of the most appealing parts of crosses, pushes the athlete to learn something about themselves.

Trevor Connor  12:54

I’m very interested in that skill side of it, and whether those skills can apply to other disciplines. And I am gonna give an example here because I do have a bias that I think it’s very helpful. So several years ago, I was doing a road race in an area that doesn’t have much of a cyclocross culture. And that road race had a dirt stretch in it with a corner. And every time we went through that corner, a bunch of people that crash, I remember thinking, people need to learn how to ride dirt. And then a couple years later, I’m doing a kind of combo gravel road race up in Steamboat. Where you know, here in Colorado, there’s a huge cyclocross culture. And we hit those those dirt stretches, I was on the back of the group hanging on for dear life go on. Okay, these people know how to ride dirt. And I think as gravel is on the rise, as they’re starting to put dirt stretches into road races, you know, my bias is this can really build skills you can use anywhere, but how do you guys feel?

Stephen Hyde  13:53

Absolutely. The whole thing about cross is like, where’s the hardest part of the course? Cool. That’s the part I’m gonna go the fastest on.

Rob Pickels  14:01

Yeah, it’s true. It’s true. You don’t make up anytime anywhere else, right? No,

Trevor Connor  14:04

and you’re exactly right. I think Trevor brings up a really interesting point too. How does this stuff translate to the road or to gravel or to the things that the masses due to an accent or even just your ability to ride in the rain? I you know, again, a story from from my past. I just remember riding a crit, a number of years ago here in Colorado and was dumping rain, not something we get that often in Colorado and went through a couple chicanes through a fast corner and I looked around the only two guys with me were the guys that are ACE cross with. Yep. And we kind of looked at each other. Yeah, let’s give it a go. Let’s see what happens. This skill set it gives you just to feel comfortable on your bike by forcing you into uncomfortable places over and over again, I think is pretty extreme.

Rob Pickels  14:51

I think that that’s exactly it. The comfort side of this is very important because if you’re used to the stressors of sigh cyclocross, if you’re used to handling essentially the same bike in those very difficult conditions. That translates to your comfort in less demanding conditions, which allows you to push yourself maybe more physiologically or to think about your tactics a little bit more, you’re not on the edge as much as you would be if you weren’t accustomed to these difficult conditions. And for me, that’s what cyclocross has really done. I think better on my road bike, I plan better, I’m more analytical about what’s coming up about what I’m doing. I’m not a passive rider of my bike, I’m much more active. And that’s something that I learned in cyclocross, along with some individual skills, like I think I carry more speed through a corner than other people do. And I oftentimes get people coming out, because I’ve learned how to corner smoothly without over braking, how to pedal through corners. And maybe while I’m pedaling, I’m tapping my brakes a little bit to control my speed. That’s a very normal cyclocross thing to do, as opposed to coasting and over braking, whatever it may be. So I think that there are translations from cyclocross, not just in the dirt. I mean, that’s very obviously that happens, but even on full pavement racing, as well. So I

Trevor Connor  16:10

get to propose something that I’d love to hear the three of you react to as a cyclocross riders, because I’m talking here as the road racer, when you are a road racer, if your bike starts sliding around, or you lose a little bit of control of it, the only thing going through your head is this is about to really hurt. Yeah, because you don’t expect that you’re gonna stay up after that. For what I’ve seen of the little bit of cyclocross I’ve done, you’re not going hard unless the bike is sliding and drifting around. And you have to get used to just giving up a little bit of control of the bike. And my feeling is probably learning that is going to help you even on the pavement, as you said, Rob, because you probably can slide and drift a little bit even on pavement and be okay, but what do you guys think?

Rob Pickels  16:57

Well, no matter what crashing on pavement Earth, right, that’s like a cheese grater on your skin? I’d much rather crosscore still hear the truth? Yes, and no. What I think is a nuance to understand though, is if you’re drifting or sliding or losing traction on across bike, it’s oftentimes intentional, you know that it’s going to happen. And if it happens, and it takes you by surprise, then it’s not quite as surprising on the road. But I never ever on my road bike intentionally losing traction to go fast. Whereas you might on the cross course, because that’s the right technique or the right speed.

Trevor Connor  17:30

Yeah, but one of the things that I think I’ve really found is that, like I said, I’ll come back to that statement of being comfortable being uncomfortable. I think that really is kind of the key to coronary well, on a road bike descending well, on a road bike, I joke with a lot of the guys I ride with that they don’t have a frontal lobe that’s fully developed yet, because they’re young, so they’ll go downhill stupid fast. And I just won’t do that. Right. But the biggest piece of it to me and Steven, I kind of want you to expand on this is cross riders have to see their bike as an extension of themselves, how they interact with the terrain is so dependent upon where they sit on their bike, how they angle their bike, how they move their bike underneath them. And that becomes such a benefit on the road from the small things like jump in a pothole or, or a speed bump to learning how to really drive your bike in and out of corners. And Steven, I did not grow up on a bike. Like I mean, I grew up playing on a bike in the neighborhood, right, but I didn’t grow up racing on a bike. Steven, you did? Do you feel that? Do you see that same connection with the bike being enhanced and cross?

Stephen Hyde  18:46

Yeah, for sure. I mean, it’s always been one of those. I don’t know one of those kinds of intrinsic things for me where like, I grew up riding BMX, I really didn’t even touch a mountain bike in the nearness until I was in my child’s probably 2021. So I was always on a BMX background Street, read skate parks, building dirt jumps and stuff like that. And you’re right. It’s an it’s an extension of you. It’s a tool also. And I think one thing that cyclocross does really well, like BMX, I think is it gives you the kind of idea to set some hard parameters around the bike and again forces you to both find your limitations and also eventually the bikes limitation work you know, not always one before the other. When it really does kind of like push you to understand the bike is just just a tool that you over time can learn to make fit the job you need to do. It’s always about a little bit more finesse here and there. I mean, everyone like lost their marbles watching Pidcock to send off man to write. It’s not a surprise to me, seeing him out pace everybody down those hills and like, acting like the bike almost doesn’t exist underneath him to get the job done. Because When you’re used to a cyclocross course, then you’re used to pushing those boundaries, just in a warm up, just to get around some of those Worldcup courses, you really do learn that like, okay, cool, I’m attached to this thing. And it’s gonna go until it doesn’t anymore, if I just wait a little bit more out on this foot, or if I just get my center of gravity just a tiny bit more, you know, if I do a little bit less, moving the bike and a little bit more moving my body or something like that, I’m gonna be able to do things that I will probably surprise myself with. And I think it translates really well over the road. I didn’t mind it, you know, when I raced Pro for a couple years or road, and I always found myself in those positions of like, like the rating reasons, you know, going down to Speedweek erasing credits, I love racing credits, you know, it’s, I have a love hate relationship with he laying on the ground. I love my skin. That’s all cool. But I also love going super fast. I love the technical credits. I love the excitement. I also thrive when the weather gets super bad. And I remember going down this week, your recent was, but it’s been a long time. Recently, Chris and I went down and I was like, Oh man, I’m out of my element here. And it just started jumping raining, and it’s a nighttime race. And I remember this, like smile coming on my face. I was like, Oh, this is my comfort zone. And like, literally two laps later, there was six of us. And I was just on the front like, that was awesome Stephens

Rob Pickels  21:24

over there lowering his tire pressure

Stephen Hyde  21:28

over him, like, Hey, man, how’s it going? And all this stuff on his face? And he’s like, why are you talking to me. But it really does teach you that the bike has very little limitations, you know, it really, really does come down to kind of mentality, when it comes down to your ability to address those limitations with finesse. And with a little bit of understanding of there’s a little bit more room than you think, you know, just because you lose a little bit of traction doesn’t mean it’s over. Learn to kind of live with that a little bit learn to kind of correct that learn not to freak out. I think it’s part of being a mindful bike racer is keeping your wits about you and being able to breathe in situations like that, where it’s not the end of the race. So it’s not, it’s not even gonna form the gap. You know, it might even just like, create a gap just by adding a little bit catching it and getting back on because everyone else is gonna freak out.

Trevor Connor  22:23

So what does shift gears a little bit here? So we’ve talked a lot about the benefits of learning skills from cyclocross, what about physiological benefits? Are there games that you can get from racing cross that are either unique to cross or harder to get other ways, and I’m going to point out and I’m interested in the response to this, the highest heart rates I’ve ever seen have been in a cyclocross race. So I know my body responds differently to it than any other type of racing. Yeah,

Trevor Connor  22:52

I think to that point, I did cross Vegas, I think I was 37 or 38. At the time, and I did the elites. I averaged a 192 or 193 heart rate for that hour. And remember getting off the bike afterwards being like, Oh, wow, I didn’t think it was that hard. It it by the nature of the sport pushes you to intensity levels that you just don’t normally see in a road race. I think it by the nature of the sport pushes you to intensity levels that we stop willingly going to as we get older. And as an athlete ages, the top end tends to go down and if we don’t train it, it goes down a lot. So the idea of of having something that’s fun, that is the race that is the sport that’s not quote unquote, traditional training per se, like here’s what I did, I did a workout and Rob knows this workout. Well, it’s 64 Sprint’s descending a sprint intervals, another Neil Henderson classic. But I did it on Saturday, and I remember being there in a place going, I have purposely decided to sprint 64 times today, and I hit over 1000 Watts 30 of those times, but I don’t think most people make that choice to do that to themselves or have any reason to do that to themselves. But you go out to across race, I gave it to an athlete, and he wrote me back because that was across race. Yep, that workout was across race. So you go to a cross race, you’re going to get something that honestly it’s really hard to train isn’t that much fun to train, but cross racing can make it fun and very accessible.

Rob Pickels  24:29

And I think it’s really interesting. If you look at the length of across race, it’s long enough to be hard but short enough that you can go hard, right? If it was any longer than it was you would purposely really be holding back through sections of that. You know, in cross, everybody feels good in the line. They go out hard. Maybe there’s a little bit of a back off in the middle of the race, but not really because there’s always a guy in front of you, or girl. There’s always another corner that you have to accelerate out of. There’s always a steep hill that forces you off your bike and you Got these micro recoveries, but you never ever get a long stretch of recovery not more than 10 seconds on a long descent. Right? And then you just go that much harder when you’re off the descent anyway. So the structure of it definitely keeps you on your A game, hopefully, for the entire duration of the race.

Stephen Hyde  25:17

Yeah, I mean, you know, there might have been a time where, especially on the elite end, where there were some walls in the racing, but that’s as long since passed. I don’t remember what I’ve done with it. But it really is, I mean, you look at like the amount of time spent over your threshold heart rate. It’s pretty absurd. People kind of ask me, a lot of like, I don’t do any threshold training per se, in my career. So cyclocross always been nap style, or co2 and endurance, a little bit of tempo here, there. But then they always ask me like, well, we’re looking they’re doing the threshold. I don’t know. I’ve never done threshold, psychometrics. It’s never really been that applicable to me. I’ve never really seen the value of that. And I talk to athletes all the time. They’re like, Oh, I was doing threshold at this point race. Well, my report is almost always okay, cool. You’re racing it wrong. Threshold and a cyclocross race, you’re not racing correctly, you’re not going to be sure. And unless you’re just like, totally above everyone else, and you’re thresholded writing. That’s one thing, if in your brain, you’re not consistently having to convince yourself that okay, man, just just one more time, it this as hard as you can. And I swear that today, you’re going to be done. And then as soon as you do that, you’re like, Alright, man, I know, I said last time was the last time but let’s let’s, let’s rethink this real quick, just hit this one, I have to continually do that. But it does become part of the racing strategy, you know, it’s like, first shadow, as many people as you can, that can come in several different ways. You know, one is like yours, your fitness level up, generally looking at like the fields, you’re going to have a general level of fitness that sheds 80% of the field right away in the first lap, or two laps. And that is just like the comfort of your ability to get around, of course, at that speed, but also in terms of their technical ability. And it really is like the first 10% of the race, the front 10% of the race ride the majority of the race at 90% of the ability, at least the ones that are going to make it to the end, but the ones that make it the end tend to be the ones who can push to like 95% of their ability 98% of their ability one or two times throughout that race to make those selections. And often it’s writing at the absolute limit of what you’re capable of doing. And then pushing that just a little bit more. And that’s not something that necessarily you get all the time in road racing if there’s no sitting and there’s no kind of relaxing there’s no doing threshold there’s no sitting back in the pack. So in terms of like what you can kind of get out of it it’s a willingness and an understanding that yourself that you have to push a little bit and there’s there’s not really like I may not finish this race you get to that point when you get there you don’t get to kind of decide that until if that makes any sense.

Trevor Connor  28:12

Well I love that point because I do think it encourages risk taking right and road road racing almost discourages risk taking in some places you know, well I’m I’m going to make sure I have enough to get to the end I’m gonna make sure that I can finish this ride or this race or any of those things cross forces you to a completely different spot you’re hoping you can finish this race because you already went so deep

Trevor Connor  28:36

well that’s something I have noticed as a road racer on the cross races I do you have moments in road races where people are attacking and so you’re gonna go in those moves, you’re gonna go with those tags, but there’s certain point where you go, Okay, this is really hurting you drop back into the field and you rest before you get back into the moves again, you make a decision, right? You can’t do that and cross because if you go well I’ve just sprinted out a few corners to stay with the lead guys. I want to take a rest there’s nowhere to take a rest they’re going to drop you Yeah, yeah. But But I am going to point out going back to our conversation about threshold My strategy for cross involves a lot of threshold so here’s here’s what I do. I sprint off the line with everybody else i Four Wheel Yeah. And then I kill myself for 20 minutes to stay with everybody. And then when they all pass me at that point I go there is no strategy left for me then then Trevor might as well go threshold he’s

Rob Pickels  29:30

threshold time trialing to just not get lapped at that point.

Trevor Connor  29:34

It’s fair. One thing that I always noticed that I like as a coach, how you use something like training peaks or a training platform to look at cross racing, right? I’ve come to the point where TSS for across race is wrong. Yeah, there’s no other way to put it right. When you do an hour across race you got felt like you got put in a burlap sack and beaten. But you come out and you look at it and go oh the TSS is 55 and Uh, so I tend to, you know, go back to this idea of sometimes even using the average heart rate and getting the TSS out of it that way. So I think that’s an important piece of this puzzle that when when people are trying kind of the high end intensity workouts that we’re talking about for cross or tire track cross raise, almost, this is one of those rare places where a cycling coach will go look at your heart rate don’t necessarily look at the power or the average power or those things with it. You were working in a way you can’t normally or won’t normally work,

Rob Pickels  30:34

it’d be really interesting to me, because you’re never spending long stretches of time at any particular workload. It would be interesting. I would love if and I don’t think this research has been done if anybody has actually looked at Oxygen Consumption throughout the course of a race with like a portable metabolic unit. Because I bet you’re at relatively close to vo two max for a very significant portion of the times and it’s in its five second efforts. You know, above threshold repeatedly, almost like a maybe a Tabata style workout. Yeah. And so you’re never sitting at that Max a robic power for four or five, eight minutes like you would normally do a vo to workout out. But I bet you you’re at really high oxygen consumption the entire time. Listeners over the past two years, we’ve been building out an incredible knowledge base of training science at fast talk laboratories. Working with the fast talk guests and world class experts, we now offer a 11 deep dive guides into the topics you love, like interval training, polarized training, and data analysis. We offer seven comprehensive guides for coaches. And now you can have it all free for 30 days, Join now at fast talk With discount code 30 days free, that’s 30 the number three zero days free, and you’ll unlock all of our content. Our trial offer expires October 31. So join now before it’s too late.

Trevor Connor  32:06

So you brought up the whole development side. And so this is actually a good segue to our next question, which is, in the past, the traditional way to develop Junior Riders was get them on the track, get a lot of intensity and later on when they get older, you can you can build that base and turn them into a pro. But it seems like in the last five, six years, we’re seeing a lot of top top cyclists actually come out across programs. How do you guys feel about this is this as good if not a better way to develop Junior riders?

Trevor Connor  32:40

Well, I like it a lot, because there’s a couple of aspects of it that are pretty unique, that really serve well to develop in junior skills, or also just the family setting. And that’s one of the pieces of the puzzle, we’re starting to have these big Junior cross programs across the country, Boulder Junior cycling, Midwest Devo, these programs that are really doing special things and bringing groups of kids together. So instead of cycling being an individual sport that you’re going to do it on your own as a 12 year old that you look kind of weird, because you’re in spandex, all this other stuff. You’re surrounded by a bunch of other kids that are like minded. With coaches that are like minded, you have a ton of support, and it feels normal, it feels productive. The other thing that’s great about cross for juniors with that idea is that it’s really family friendly. So it’s one of the real myself now with young kids. And I know Rob can speak to this as well. That’s one of the reasons I don’t do a lot of road racing. It’s an hour to get to wherever I want to get to it’s a two to three hour race when I’m there, it’s an hour to hang out afterwards. And then it’s an hour to get home. I’m away from my family for five to six hours. And if they come and watch, you know, they came in watch kopen Burg couple years ago, and they got to see me five times. And that that was great for a road race. Yep. Right. But if they come to a cross race we hang out before we hang out after they see Dad go around eight times, they get to do the little Junior raise. You know, my wife raises all of these. It’s a family friendly sport. So getting kids into it. It again just amplifies this normal for Kate, normalizing normal vacation. Perfect. Yeah, normalizing across as a real sport as a kid sport.

Rob Pickels  34:23

Yeah, I’ve been fortunate to engage with Crossen in a few different ways. First, as a racer, myself, you know, being a selfish person, that’s always where I start. But then, but then second with the junior program, I helped coach the elite program of Boulder Junior cycling for gosh, six, seven years, if I remember correctly. And I only stopped that when my kids were old enough to go into BJC into boulder near cycling themselves. And I want to step back from the travel that I was doing, and be able to focus and be a dad at that point and not a coach. And so it’s been really interesting for me to see the sport from these different aspects Next, and you know, Grant, Mike, my kids, we were talking about it earlier, my kids are off to cyclocross practice this afternoon after work. But it is a very unique opportunity because it gets it gets kids off the road, it gets them into a safe environment, it gets them into a place where you can learn about success and failure because in cross you are going to crash, something’s gonna go wrong, you’re gonna get a flat, you’re gonna get written into the tape, you’re gonna fall over, I don’t know what it is, but you’re gonna get back on your bike, and you’re gonna keep going. I love that as as just a philosophy for life. And I’ve always instilled that in my cross riders, you know, so cyclocross is something that is just this unique opportunity that’s usually relatively at least for us relatively close to home. I think depending on where you live, there’s a lot of opportunity for that for a great weekend. And like you’re saying, you can show up and mom and dad can race. You know, your team has a tent, everybody’s there together, and it is a group sport. I know boulder Junior cycling is typically about 100 riders or a little bit more each year. That’s an incredible program size. And we’re very unique here. And I get not everybody is like that. But I think all of the things that you named Grant are pretty special and pretty unique to cyclocross. And mountain biking is fun. But mountain biking doesn’t have the ability to see the riders, it doesn’t have the ability for those riders to be on a closed relatively safe course where they’re able to push themselves and try new things and take risks out on some single track in the middle of nowhere, you might not want to send that because if it goes wrong, it goes horribly wrong. And those things for cyclocross, I think, make it really unique. And it’s why we continue to do it as a family.

Trevor Connor  36:42

Well, and I’m gonna push this to you, Steven. But one of the other things I really like about it is that, and Rob, you alluded to this, I had a writer, a coach for a number of years who would practice his writing by creating a rut in his backyard. And so he was doing his skill practice, literally. And it didn’t have a big backyard. He sent me a picture of it one time, and it was like this 10,000 foot, square foot backyard and you have this giant rut running through the middle of it. But Stephen, your background and BMX crosses pretty unique in the ability, the accessibility for so many people to train it and race it. Yeah. And

Stephen Hyde  37:19

I think that like you guys, you all said a lot about accessibility. I think it’s a really important piece of it. But we’re also talking about the accessibility of, of us crossers, right. And I think that traditionally, a lot of like, the European development side, you might actually see more of like, kids only type races where there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of kids that isn’t necessarily like mom or dad coming to race, but like maybe just a lot of kids, but an entire family coming out and doing those in those settings are also talking about, like very small towns with large populations of cyclists. Here, we don’t necessarily have that. So we do have that kind of more inclusive, atmosphere like that created geographically much different, right? So we’re definitely talking about more regional, but it does, you just see a lot more families traveling together to do all this stuff. But I think one big part we’re missing in this competition is the actual development of the athletes when it comes to your ability to continually race. And I think cyclocross is a really good means for this, because it’s almost like every lap is a new race. You know, if you do four laps, you know, yes, the there’s a four lap race going on. But there’s also a race to each one of those things, each one of those laps and, and kind of a second chance, every time you go around to to get it right or do something else. Then with juniors with younger riders, which, you know, a true riders, some of those canceled to like two or three races a day, at these venues. And that’s three times a day that a kid gets to practice racing. And when you do a road race, you know, you do all this training and all this time you go out to do a race, you have one shot. And if you get dropped for the first bit, you get dropped, you know over things, you suffer, or, you know, whatever you go home. Now by grace, you know, if you if you just can’t cut that top half of it or whatever, you know, a lot of people end up just kind of riding solo, the majority of people that I talk to you that do not like racing, to some degree or not end up just riding the entire race by themselves. cycling routes can be a much different environment there. And I think when we look at the racers that are coming out of cyclocross into the pro ranks and are able to not only make it into like the Pro two, but they’re also they’re, they’re changing our worldview when it comes to what an athlete at that level is capable of doing. Like for how long? We’ve never been legs up until the Tour de France were like, doing very specific buildups for those things like at what point did anyone thinks that we were gonna see somebody winning them out by for the Olympics, but also like winning stages of the Giro or the triple bronze, and then also racing cyclocross, like no, no change, there was always a sport you did part of the season that you did that was like kinda for funsies. And like, was good for fitness. And so you wouldn’t like, just absolutely, like, go insane riding base miles away, which is your ultimate, you know, Glory one. And then there’s some, like, go do it. Collective start with, you know, that was always a big day was like, just show up and be like, super famous in this small town and like a day, but now we’re seeing athletes that across the board are better than everyone. I think that cyclocross is a is a really good arena to build good athletes in. There’s another aspect of it that we’re also seeing that the cream kind of rises to the top. Physiologically, I think we’re also seeing, we’re seeing once in a lifetime athletes like three and four in a row here at the same time. And that’s, that’s, that’s pretty bonkers. I mean, obviously, coming out of like the major doping era, it’s, it’s always kind of like a little bit shocking. There’s always kind of rumors going around. But when you cast a giant net, you catch more fish, and some slip through, then some just happen to like, get pulled onto the boat. And the ones that get pulled onto the boat, get kind of separated even more. And so the bigger net UCaaS the more athletes you’re going to get, the more athletes you get with the more development opportunities, which I think cyclocross is a really exceptional area to do that. And multiple races a day, multiple races a weekend, relatively long seasons, accessibility, and a fun factor of getting to actually see people and be involved in an environment and have like a community support. It really is a recipe for great development. I mean, where are the velodromes now? I mean, you guys, y’all don’t even have one of the boys is gone. Yeah. Yeah. What are the velodromes? I’m not within, I’m hardly been the driving distance. It’s a day drive down the tracks accomplishing cyclocross really does have kind of a lot going for it in terms of development of youth athletes.

Rob Pickels  42:16

Yeah. And I think that there’s kind of an elephant in the room that we need to address here. In my opinion, it’s that cyclocross could be the best means of development of youth riders. However, it will never be that in our country, specifically, because it’s not an Olympic sport, then you don’t have the funding, you don’t have the support from NGBs. USA Cycling, sorry, calling you out on this one, that things like track has in Trevor, as you pointed out, track is a more more traditional development route. And as Steven is pointing out, there are no track opportunities, it’s actually a terrible way for us to develop these youth for us. Yeah, but it gets significantly more, it gets significantly more emphasis because it is an Olympic sport, and we are after getting medals.

Trevor Connor  43:01

So we have to understand a little bit of the nature of our country with this too. We don’t send talented kids to a place to develop. So you can’t handpick 20 Kids send to a track and let them develop their that’s just not the way the state’s works in terms of their system. So some of the things that Stevens pointed out are really reasons that cross could be good. But it speaks to the conversation we’re having a little bit cross as an addendum cross as an addition to what you’re already doing can really be special develops, the high end develops the skill set in a way that you just can’t get and it develops a social aspect of our sport that normalizes it, and makes it comfortable and makes it really exciting for kids. So I that’s where I want to see us understanding this. And I think Steven pointed this out, we’re seeing these riders that are continuing to do both, they’re continuing to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that, that’s something that I think is really important with the junior programs is to Hey, yeah, let’s do some cross, let’s develop your skill set, make you one with a bike, let’s go to a little road to go to a little track to let’s go to a little mountain bike to and then you have these kids and these young athletes or even masters, athletes, Masters athletes out there, if you do a little bit of everything, you’re gonna start to see where you’re really excel, and it fits you individually and you can then kind of lean into that vein of your cycling.

Trevor Connor  44:24

So let’s shift there. You have a master’s writer who has done cross they’ve been road bike and mountain biking. What’s the reason for them to say okay, I’m 30 something or I’m 40 something or like me 50 Something and should just be putting the home what is the benefit for for us to say let’s, let’s try cross. Let’s see what this is about.

Trevor Connor  44:48

Well, I’m gonna jump in on this because I’m a unique situation. I mean, I started racing bikes at 3132 I mean, I did some triathlon, but I think my first Cross races when I was 30. And I didn’t come back to it. I didn’t start racing the elite left side of cross. And I was never any good. Nobody think that I’m ever comparing myself to Steven. But I raised the elite for four years. But the first year I raced elite I was 36 years old, 37 years old. And I remember there’s a race around here called the Copan. Berg, and it’s got this short hill in it, and often it’s rotted out. And often it’s hard to ride. And I remember the first year I wrote it, I had a teammate go, yeah, there’s no way I was going into that section behind you, because there was an 80% chance you were going to screw it up. That was where my bike handling and power was, when I started racing bikes. Cross has moved me to put somebody at 3637, who started racing cross to now in my mid 40s, or late 40s, where if I go to kopen Burg, I’ve got people lining up going, that’s the wheel I want to follow because he’ll pick the right line, and he’s going to have the most power going up that section. That’s what crossed it to be as a Masters rider

Trevor Connor  46:00

and Nicole grant out here, he did win the final edition of that Copeland Burg

Trevor Connor  46:04

Yeah, the last one. So I do think that that is something that I can speak to for riders coming across as a lady at a late age. It’s also fun in my mind, maybe I’m unique in this, but I like going to do something that, hey, I have no pressure to be any good at it. And it’s all a learning, it’s a blank slate, it’s all an opportunity to get better, I’d go out and be terrible. And no, I probably got better that day. But if we’re going to doing the same thing that we’ve been doing for 20 years, it’s hard to see our improvement.

Rob Pickels  46:34

Well. And I think that this goes the other way to to not just to the road side, which is what we’ve been talking about a lot, not just to the gravel side, but also to the mountain bike side, too. You’ve been mountain biking for years and years, I think that your skills can get relatively stagnant. And the only way to improve those skills is to do things that are more technical or to go faster, but ultimately, to put yourself in a situation that has higher consequences if anything goes wrong. And I think that cross is very sneaky. And it’s skill development, because you’re in an otherwise safe environment that enables people to push themselves but on a bike that isn’t really made for that. And so your skills are going up and you’re not even realizing it. And I oftentimes find when I get back on my mountain bike, I have so much confidence, I can read the terrain faster, because I’m used to doing it on a bike that really can’t keep up and shouldn’t be doing that, that when I’m on my mountain bike, and my mountain bike is so capable, suddenly, I am so much faster, because I’m used to doing it on this rickety machine that I’m trying not to pinch flat or break a wheel. And so we have to understand that cyclocross, it goes both ways in its development,

Trevor Connor  47:43

you actually bring up a good point. And this is just a little aside. But some of the best skills development work I’ve done as I go up to this mountain bike trail called the Tasso. And I go up there on my cross bike. And one of the things I love to do is try to keep up with the mountain bikers on a cross bike, because they’ve got all this great suspension, they hit all these rocks and just fly through it. And they don’t even feel them, I actually have to navigate my way through them. Be careful.

Rob Pickels  48:08

Yeah, pushing that boundary is you look at the world, you look at the trail the terrain, you look at it differently on a cross bike,

Stephen Hyde  48:13

if you can come in as an athlete and look at a cyclocross course, as this experiment, you are the athlete, you need to do a complete lap, multiple laps. And by the end of it, you know, hopefully, that last lap is the most efficient lap you can possibly do. And it starts with the prewriting, the warm up, where you’re just understanding the elements and your understanding, like what has been presented to you, then you go through and you do your kind of like warm up laps in that regard, like, Okay, well, this is where I’m at, you’re kind of like, your push lap where you’re like, Okay, well, actually, that was a little bit harder than I thought. And then as you get into the racing, you have this one level that you start at. And I always try to push me athletes or myself to be, you know, 1015 20% better at writing that course by by the midway of of the race. if all things go really well, you’re writing at a level that you did not adjust a bit in the beginning, go into that last lap or two laps. And then you still do you’re kind of experimenting, have a couple of cards up your sleeve where you’re like, Okay, well actually, I can even have like a couple of extra ones here. And I think that from a development perspective, in terms of like a crit, race or race or evil, we get that opportunity very much, you really don’t get that like we play here again. Do it again. Do it again, even in races you’re practicing, you know, and I think that if you’re able to come to the cross season and say cool, it’s bike riding practice season for the next like three months or six months or whatever it may be, you’ll always come out on the other end more confident in it probably with abilities that you didn’t even realize you have or even you don’t until you kind of pull something off that somebody else What’s out? Right.

Trevor Connor  50:06

So as we’re starting to wrap up here, I have one last question for all of you and Steven, what we’ll start with you with this question, which is, let’s say we have a road biker, or a mountain biker who wants to try cross that’s going to significantly lengthen their season. So how does that change training? And I’m assuming part of this is, you’re gonna need a rest period in there at some point?

Stephen Hyde  50:30

Absolutely, you’re definitely gonna need a rest period. I think it’s a, it’s an often overlooked, probably more common than not kind of tactic to go. And just kind of like, oh, well, you know, I took a week off. And I think if you want the most out of cyclocross season, you should set some goals around it. Even if it is the low pressure season, I think setting some goals can have a really significant impact on what you get out of cyclocross season, you can still have fun in have a low pressure environment, if you set some performance goals around it. And if you set some goals, you set the boundary with the boundaries comes, you know, rest with all that high intensity, it’s very important to take a rest. And in order to come out the other end, hungry and ready to race. And to get the most out of it absolutely has to be an important part of it. I also think it’s worth having to reset your brain to be doing something different than you had before. It’s pretty easy to kind of just relax and rest on what is your kind of carrying and the season. You know, if I had the opportunity to say roll trip from the end of my road season, you know, one week later into a cross race or take three weeks off and still do four cross races, I would definitely pick that like, week off in two weeks of just some training. One for like, your mental stability. Like give yourself a break crosses art. We saw it with you know, Blevins when he came out to do Baltimore, after having just an incredible mountain bikes, either Canada, or you’re just like, Alright, I’m gonna pick up some some cross races. And this is we’re gonna, I’m gonna do four or five cross races, and then, you know, maybe I’ll do the World Cup in Fayetteville. It’d be awesome. This guy was incredible fitness is incredible scale, just a hands out better athletes, and then even I and then he got done with that race week. And he’s like, Yeah, you know what, this is just too hard right now. I gotta take a break, just not for me right now. And it’s really important to have, you know, some some clarity in that way. So that you can, you could get something out of it. And it’s not just a drag on your already body. But also for safety’s sake. understanding and learning your bike, your different bike, your different equipment. I see people all the time they get on their cross bike, like the day before cross race, or the first time they get on their cross bike is the cross race in, they feel very, you know, out of it and not confident. And, wow, I just I thought it was better than this. But like it takes there’s a transition period. It’s different. It needs to be different. And you need to treat it as different and have some Have some respect for it. For sure.

Trevor Connor  53:12

Well, I think I think one of the really good points this was watching Vanderbilt come across last year, and yeah, it was unbelievable dominant, but the first couple of weeks, it took a minute to get back into it. We saw it with Pidcock and mountain bike worlds. Pidcock is an unbelievably technically good rider. He was getting gaps in the technical sections of that race to get because he hadn’t been on his mountain bike nearly as much. So I think that’s a really good point. The big thing that I would throw in here is understand how intense a cyclocross race is. If you’re going to do a cyclocross race on the weekend, or two cyclocross races over the course of the weekend, you’ve now taken your two two of your main big workout days and stuffed them into a weekend. What more do you really need over the course of a week? You know, I used to have this conversation with with some of the Dutch coaches when when I would talk to them they go, yeah, you Americans train way too hard. You’re into cross season, you have to hard races on the weekend, go ride in the forest on Wednesday, don’t do anything else. You can’t handle anything else.

Trevor Connor  54:20

If you are a data person, and you decide to try cross, turn off your CTL graph. Yeah, you’re not gonna like now it’s just gonna go down. It’s good. A plummet and you have to accept it.

Rob Pickels  54:33

Yeah, Grant, I’m glad that you bring this up. Because thinking about this from the perspective of an athlete where cross is not their first sport. That’s the topic of this conversation. How do they incorporate it? Are they doing cross specific workouts? Or is the cross race itself enough of a workout for them? Are they having high volume or is their volume relatively low because this is the offseason and then we’re expecting to build after the Crossy Isn’t is over? How do you look at this from an athlete trying to improve their other disciplines?

Trevor Connor  55:05

Well, I think first things first, Steven made such a wonderful point taken a week or two to do some workouts that are specifically geared towards that cross season so that you’re not going into it, and just shocking the system. So that may be some sprinting stuff that might be some mock racing, that might be some of those things to get you a use of the bike, be used to the demands, and then coming into it from there. And I gotta be honest, I don’t know how much with my high level cross racers during the season, we’re doing that many workouts we are maintaining as we go into the season and understanding that the racing will bring us to a higher level. And I’m going to make a guess, here and talk to Steven about this, and have him point out what he would do. But when we go into mid season racing breaks for our cross athletes, everybody’s like, Okay, we’re gonna take three weekends off of racing. Now we’re gonna go train, the young go train, we go ride base, we try to get a base structure back, and maybe we’ll do some longer sessions. But I mean, hey, Steven, you got to go on training camp with Wow, would you do?

Stephen Hyde  56:15

Yeah, I got killed. That’s what I got. Yeah, I mean, you know, it really like it comes down to, you know, what you want out of your season, right. And I think when you look at a long season versus a short season, you know, if you want to do three cross races, when I say go train between them, probably not, would I say you’re gonna have some, like, great fitness afterwards. No, it’s gonna be on a downward trend. For sure. In general, one workout a week, if you’re sustaining a season, I don’t know, maybe a third of a season, and then break up to maybe one or two small training blocks, depending on your goal, depending on the like, like the seasons, etc. I think that the rest of the times this year, right, it’s volume. And for me, personally, I always looked at the volume, the base endurance, and looked at how hard I was doing that, as the dictator of how kind of fresh I was gonna come in. So I kind of treat zone two into zones, if you will. So moving into the cross season, as I’m building up a lot of bass riding, I’m riding towards the top end of that endurance zone, I’m creating more fatigue, to get a response, as I want to get sharp, I pulled back a little bit on the hours, but I’m still doing the workload at a lower pace. So I’m doing maybe like less than the lower 50% of that zone. And you’re able to kind of keep some of that workload up. And you’re able to take care of and maintain muscle fibers, your body, your hormones, and you’re getting like 80% of that good workload in. But you’re also building a really sharp system that can handle that kind of abuse. Now, once you get down to, once you get down to kind of brass tacks, look at what those smaller trading blocks are. Like, it kind of depends on how much time you have. I’m a big fan of micro blocks. And it turns out what I had been doing was not dissimilar from what we ended up doing on that camping trip, just the the amount of it they were doing was significantly more and that just that came down to the athlete like he was designed for him. It very rarely will I ever throw out my workouts for somebody else. But this is a special case, right?

Rob Pickels  58:32

When with what I do as well.

Stephen Hyde  58:34

Yeah, but do it on his wheel, because his endurance is about 100 watts. It’s pretty significant. So but what I did also learn from that is, you know, micro blocks, key in on volume, be very specific with the work you’re doing, but also look for like, and this is always kind of a key facet of my training. Like, I don’t know if I coined this term or not, but I really like it of extreme mediocrity in terms of like what training you do, cyclocross is really hard. It’s really hard. It should be it’s supposed to be. And if you want to be good at it, you have to mentally prepare and physically prepare to go to the extreme one can do for the length of, you know, the duration of the race. So that kind of by necessity means you can’t do that in your training. So there’s like extreme mediocrity is like, it’s going to do the work for the sake of doing the work and you’re just kind of plugging the holes and you’re going in there, you’re like, Okay, I’m gonna go do my map on rubles. Am I going to see the highest peak power for the amount that I’m doing? I hope not. Because I want to see that peak power in the races. I want to see those extremes coming out when you’re the sharpest. I want to see a dull kind of clock in clock out type of work, where you’re focusing on those elements that create the good structure around the work you’re doing. And then ultimately, the things that create a good outcome, a positive outcome from the training are things like eating food and drinking water and sleeping and getting like moderate amounts of intensity and moderate amounts of nothing extreme, nothing crazy. You know, I think that’s one thing I learned or solidified in the work that I have done on this training chance. It’s something that I’ve learned over my career, the times that I push the hardest and train with the times I struggled the most of waiting in the most the times where I I checked in do relatively good work that was no frills that that no one would give me a medal for I ended up being able to push so much deeper into those seasons and get so much more out of my races, because my body had more to give. And my brain had more to give in. And furthermore, my heart my psyche had like so much more to get it because that was where I was putting all that was the the basket, I was putting my eggs and that’s where I was pushing and striving for her kind of greatness in that regard.

Trevor Connor  1:01:00

I think that’s a great point. With cross in general, it’s a kind of a nice place to end, the discussion about crosses, crosses about the racing, you got to be special there. And that’s, that’s for a lot of people, they can use that racing as that training. And that’s what we’re gonna kind of go with

Rob Pickels  1:01:17

Steven, I don’t know, you may be listened to us do this. But we’ll start with you. This is your opportunity. If you if you have a quick, you know, 30 seconds of knowledge bomb to drop on people, what do they need to take out of this episode?

Stephen Hyde  1:01:31

For me, the major take home here is that I believe that cyclocross has a very broad, or could have a very broad impact on on the cyclists trajectory, given they use it for what it is, it’s a really good learning experience and a way to push themselves out of there. And I also think that it takes some pretty planning and some attention to it. And I think you can get a lot out.

Trevor Connor  1:01:58

So when we came up with this idea of talking about can cyclocross help your overall fitness, even if it’s not your primary sport, I was given us a lot of thought and why we’re seeing so many top cyclists that start in cross and we touched on some things that I think are really important is episode one is that skills development, which I think translates to everything. The second one is just how high quality the high quality is that you get. But that’s also it’s a couple of months of getting some really good high quality. And then Steven, you brought up a point that actually wanted to go back to and I’m just going to use as my take home, which is, because of the shorter season, you then get a good period of time to do some base work and develop that aerobic engine, which if you go that traditional route of say something like track, you don’t get as much. So it just is really good mix of some really important elements to develop as a cyclist.

Rob Pickels  1:02:53

Send your holiday.

Trevor Connor  1:02:55

I agree with both what Stephen and Trevor said, I think that the unique qualities of handling your bike development of skills and structuring, of not just the season, but as Stevens had your planning of how to like, man, you can’t go do a cross race unless your equipment styled and everything’s ready to go. And so that translates so beautifully to gravel so beautifully to road so beautifully to those things. My big thing is it’s just such a fun atmosphere. It’s such a unique place to compete, you can bring your whole family you can go to the beer garden, you can go do this, you can go do that. I think one of the things that I’d like to see American cross do more, is showcase the carnival that can be a cyclocross race. And to those of you out there listening, if there’s one nearby, go watch it. You go go watch the UCI guys jumped the barriers, go watch what they can do on a bike. It’ll change your perspective when you see it in person of what a bike is capable of doing. And I think that’s super cool.

Rob Pickels  1:03:57

Yeah, Grant, I wanted you to go to before me because you kind of segwayed into what I was going to say. And to piggyback on Steven a little bit earlier, cross is good for your legs. It’s good for your lungs, but it’s also it’s good for your mind, and it’s good for your heart and your soul. It is a unique way of looking at the sport, it encourages creativity. It encourages you to go harder than you’ve ever gone before and do that in a unique way. And I think because of that it makes it it’s certainly my favorite, but I also am biased. And I think that it’s great for development. And so, parents get your kids involved in USAC. Get Junior riders and support them involved, but do what you can for junior and youth programs. We talked a bit about Midwest Devo and Boulder Junior cycling, but there are so many else out there. You know, maybe we can plug those a little bit later, but cyclocross ultimately is just such a great well rounded thing that for me, yeah, there are physiological benefits. But there are so many more benefits than that to as an

Trevor Connor  1:04:53

alternative as somebody who gets passed by the leader and across race four or five times I’m not sure it’s good for my soul, but it definitely leads to good soul searching.

Stephen Hyde  1:05:06

Perfect, good, humbling experience. Exactly.

Rob Pickels  1:05:08

Yeah. It’s training, Trevor’s humility. Perfect. Perfect. Trevor was mad that we did a gravel ride and I could keep up with him because we were on dirt.

Trevor Connor  1:05:18

We’re going up a hill.

Rob Pickels  1:05:19

Well, that’s your specialization. You did good.

Rob Pickels  1:05:24

That was another episode of Fast Talk. Subscribe toFast Talk wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcast. Be sure to leave us a rating and a review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk are those of the individual. As always, we love your feedback. Check us out on Twitter at @fasttalklabs or check out our knowledge base and services at For the illustrious Stephen Hyde, the dirty Grant Holicky, and the step through dismounter Trevor Connor, I’m Rob Pickels. Thanks for listening!