CX Nats - There will be running...or hiking

Hey there Fascat Nation! Have you seen this yet? If you are heading to CX Nats in Tacoma this year your should check it out. Who knows how much USA Cycling will change the course, but this is some good footage. Furthermore, a local friend told me, “There is a serious run-up. It’s so gnarly most elites cannot run, they have to walk. The course has substantial running and if it’s muddy there could be even more. The downhill sections are tough and if it is wet and muddy some people may need to run down, too.”

From what I have learned it sounds like there is about 140 feet of elevation gain per lap and most of it comes in the form of one monster run-up. This looks brutally hard because it comes after a tough slog through a grassy section. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this is the crux section of the course. If you can dance up this climb repeatedly, lap after lap, chances are you will do pretty well.

Sounds like adding a run workout during the week. In the last podcast, Frank mentioned adding an easy hour run with hill sprints the evening after a hard ride (Wednesdays?)

It’s hard to find a perfect simulation of a tough long cx run. I think I will just do some hilly trail runs and do steep uphill sprints. Those aeem easier to motivate than the CX Run with bike workouts.

Yes, Frank is right. Incorporate this in to your weekly plan! I just posted this on the Fascat site:

@marka_severy - no running! lol, serious tho - you will just injury yourself or fry your legs for pedaling. I am adamantly opposed to athletes ‘running’ or ‘joggin’ in Nove/Dec. You must run while you carry your bike during your skills practices.

Instead - weave a 45 second run into your wednesday worlds hotlaps: skills + running + intensity.

See Coach Brandon’s post on making your own cx course. Amend that to include a 45 second run each lap!

Excellent! Thanks Brandon and Frank :slight_smile: I’ll do my hill repeats carrying the bike at the end of my hard days :stuck_out_tongue:


It can’t hurt and could certainly pay off!

I’ve been on FasCat CX plans since February of 2019. I’m in the last 4 weeks of prep for Nationals CX. My last FTP Field Test was 6 months ago on May 11. My 20’ power was 3.85 W/Kg and that is what I based my Zones on. Looking at the Power Profile Chart in TP, for the last 180 days, 20’ power was 3.9 W/Kg. However for the last 90 days, the 20’ Power Profile has dropped to 3.3 W/Kg.

I’m wondering as I get ready for Nats, if I should recalculate my Zones using a value somewhere between 3.3 and 3.9 W/Kg? In August, I had trouble maintaining the workouts and had a SI joint setback of almost 3 weeks. I wonder if this was bc my Zones were too high or if the “Advanced 6 weeks to CX plan” was too much training load. I’m 64.

I think a lot of decrease in the 20’ power is due to the 9 days of racing CX in the last 3 months and most of my training being for short efforts of CX. With the 4 day CX training block coming up, I want to benefit from the high training load, but realize the risk is high that close to nationals.

Thank You very much!

Honestly @rwwsdca so much of cx training from now until nationals is either skill based, running or as hard as you can go. That is the zone - I wouldn’t worry about 3-5% +/- for the next 4 weeks. Testing takes away from you #FtFP’ing.

IOW its just not that important for your performance at nationals. Also the advanced plan is not for 64 year olds.

I had a chance to do my workout on the Steilacoom CX Nats course yesterday, including a bunch of run-up practice. It was mostly dry and tacky. The bumpy grass is still REALLY bumpy, especially just before the first run up and right after the sand - hopefully we will get a lot of rain before the next event there so it softens and gets smoothed out a bit. They have been working on the course (and strangely, planting new grass) and the big new run up is a lot different than when we first raced on a month or so ago. It is now a series of regular small dirt steps, and much smoother - really not that bad right now. I suspect some pros or those 18 year old boys might even be able to ride up it. On the other hand, if it rains a lot before the event, that will be a whole different story and will likely get chewed up . The other shorter run up is still a gnarly mess with a big step at the top. The sand is still fluffy and deep, not ridable for me. The downhills are in worse condition than when I was last there - they are muddy with ruts and roots, but still very ridable. My guess is they are going to keep changing. I’ll keep you updated when I get a chance to go there next. Cheers, Geraldine


Great info. Thank you for sharing with us!

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For the run up at Natz, is it better to carry your bike or roll it up? An engineer suggested rolling?

HI @christinaprobert-tur - good question!

When you ‘inspect’ the course during your pre-ride, perform an experiment of one (yourself) and try both methods with particular attention to which one feels the fastest and is the most efficient for you.

Ideally you’ll be able to get on the course to do your openers the day before your race. Check at the venue for when the course is open to pre-ride. Some riders elect to race the B race on Tues/Wed to see how the race course plays out.

Hope this helps!

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@christinaprobert-tur The longer and steeper the run the more likely it will be more efficient to shoulder the bike. Smoothness of the terrain is a factor, too. Pushing a bike on bumpy terrain leads to mishaps like dropped chains. should be able to get in to a more powerful running cadence. However, I am not an engineer. :smile: See the video from Koksidje as example:

@gevolympia Any new intel from the Nats course?

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Yes, any local intel is appreciated! Plus, this is a normal Seattle forecast, right?!

Ha, ha - yes quite normal. That is the forecast we all expect until about July 4, although three days with sun and not much rain in one week is more than we normally hope for! Also, forecasting around here is very local, so you have to take it with a grain of salt, but if you plan for cold rain you should be fine.

I rode the course last Friday and it was frozen solid. We had a cold snap that lasted several days and dried things out considerably. The course was really bumpy and we have had very little rain since to soften things out, thought happily it has at least thawed. The course was mainly the same as reported a month or so ago, with one small addition. They put a big log at the bottom of the second run up (probably regular barrier height), and you come up to it from a blind turn. Picture riding along a narrow lane with a hedge of nasty blackberries on your left, then you turn left to the bottom of the run up and the log is right there. Its a pretty quick approach and if you wait to get off until after you make the turn you will stuff getting off and shouldering your bike before you get to the log, so practicing some left turns while dismounting would be a good option. They are building the flyovers today - there will be two on the lower field, which is the only place there might be any mud unless it starts pouring or they bring out some fire hoses to liven things up down there. I didn’t hear if they have stairs. I don’t expect to get back to the course now until it opens on Monday as I think it is closed for set up. I would advise leaving more time for driving there than you might think if you have to go on 1-5. Traffic can be really slow in that area. LMK if I can help further.

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Thank you for the intel!

Not sure if y’all have seen race # 4 from MFG but here is the Cat 3 35+ race with a 9.5 min first lap, the run up, the ‘sand pit’ and some super fun looking mud and general fun looking course:

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Thanks for the detail!

I wish the course inspection windows were bigger for those of us arriving Thursday!

Hey guys and gals; I raced the course today. The run ups are still brutal, and now all chewed up too. A few people were making it through the sand, but I ran as it was much faster. The log at the bottom of the second run up isn’t there anymore. There are two nice flyovers and no barriers. There is a good patch of thick mud near the pits where they just planted new grass, and just as my race went off, it started to rain and then rained pretty hard all afternoon. The downhills got pretty slick and the whole course started to get muddy with all those bikes on it. It’s supposed to keep raining until Saturday (welcome to winter in Washington), so bring your wellies and macintoshes and your mud tires. Its gonna be great! Hope to meet you all here.