‘Cross Skills: Effective Training Drills to Do with Your Friends

Grant Holicky breaks down the best cyclocross skill drills to upgrade your 'cross racing with the help of some highly qualified riders.

Grant Holicky breaks down the best drills to do to upgrade your cyclocross skills. And he has the help of some highly qualified riders.

Holicky is head coach at Forever Endurance and manager of the Blue-Stages Cyclocross Team. He’s joined by riders Chris Case, Co-founder of Fast Talk Laboratories, Leslie Etheridge, racer for the Santa Cruz x OrNot Elite Off-Road Team, and Eric Brunner, U23 National Cyclocross Champ. They illustrate some of the best drills you can do to prepare your physiological system for cyclocross racing:

The Chase

Using a small course—this can be created with a set of cones or around several tress—racers start on opposite sides and chase one another. This offers a chance to get some intensity while practicing cornering and pacing skills.

Short-Track Course

In this drill, a course which includes a run-up or barriers takes skills-at-intensity practice to the next level. Start on opposite sides or at the same place on course, and race for several minutes, focusing on technique as you carry momentum through obstacles.

The Tractor Pull

Practice starting from a standstill, while a friend holds your seat post or saddle. This effort mimics the low-cadence, high-torque power required to churn through thick mud or deep sand. Once released, sprint away.

Fartlek Training

From the Swedish term for “speed-play,” Fartlek training involves riding in a slow pace line. At intermittent times, the person at the end of the line will sprint ahead, passing the others and then settling into a slower pace. This mimics the on-off-on-off efforts inherent in cyclocross.

For more instruction on cyclocross, check out episode 81 of Fast Talk, as well as part 1 of our ‘cross skills video series.