(CX) What am I doing wrong?

This happens to me often: Last weekend I got the last first row call up-position. I was first off the line but by the end of the first lap I was around 8th. I remained 8-10th over the next two laps but wasn’t really gaining or losing time from the racers ahead of me. Finally I felt good right before the last lap bell. I passed several and I was closing on the next guy by the finish. I ended up 4th. I might have caught the guy in 3rd if there was another lap. The winner was about a minute ahead of me.

I also noticed that I make up ground in technical areas, runups, corners, but can’t keep up in long power sections. I.e. 30s flat on pavement or gravel. It’s really frustrating to notice obvious limitations during the race.

Not sure if these warmup issues, training, nutrition or if I should consider a different strategy.

Thanks in advance.

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Hey Thockenb,
Being in front in a CX start is a difficult thing to achieve and keeping this up in a first round, means a max effort of 6 - 10 minutes depending on the parcours.
Maintaining position in the following laps puts you on par with your contenders.
Gaining in technical areas, but losing in the real power areas suggests a lack of high end power.
Specific powertraining could give you the strength to keep up in these parts of the parcours.
You seem to have the endurance to finish strong👍
I myself envie the technical superior guys, as I am that powering guy on the hard and straight surfaces😁

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@thockenb like @kbolks1957 noticed : power sections.

Remind us what interval plan you are on? I am thinking you could start benefitting right away from some zone 6 30 second intervals (which might already be in your plan)

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Perhaps you might try to experiment with the new strategy in an upcoming race. Dig a little deeper on the first couple laps to be at the front or latch onto that front group. Once the separation is made and you’re in that group things should ease up a bit for a lap or two as everyone recovers a bit. Then you get to “race” rather than “chase”. Meaning you get to race tactically, rather than just trying to pass people on the last lap to make the podium.

You can’t succeed unless you’re willing to take a risk and potentially fail.


Following… I’m kind of like you. Struggle to keep pace in the first part of the race, but I don’t fade much in the second half. Diesel engine mode.

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I’m the exact opposite…:grin:. Good first couple laps and then hanging on for dear life :crazy_face:

Which means that I’d better not skip the 4hr ride tomorrow that the 6 week plan has scheduled for me. Yikes.


You are not alone in this experience! I also have a front row callup and end up around 8th by the end of the first lap. Its an insane amount of work to be up there fighting for position, having to take non-ideal lines, being forced to dismount in places you would normally ride, getting run into, taken out, ect… Once I drop back and have space to ride efficiently I eventually start picking off riders. I think you just have to push yourself until that front group starts to splinter a bit… easier said than done. I’m going to just try it again in the next race and see how long I can last! good luck to you also!

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Hi Frank. I’m on the XC interval plan. I’ve been focused on MTB this year and I was building for Austin Rattler, Dusk to Dawn.

I cherry picked a couple workouts from one of the CX plans I purchased - “30x30”. I’ve developed a cold, but I’ve still been able to get in a few of these.

@Brandon Thanks, I’ll give it a try.