We have seen a rise of a multi-discipline approach and objectives within cycling over the past few years. Prominent names such as Van Der Poel, Vos, Pidcock, Ferrand-Prevot and many more leading the way, this is a method more and more cyclists will follow in the footsteps of, at both elite and amateur levels. Here are some tips on how you can best cope with riding and racing in 2 disciplines or more.
1. Off-Season Is Essential
When juggling multiple disciplines it usually means that you will be racing all year round, whether that is CX/MTB, CX/Road or Road/Track or something else. Generally with big season goals coming towards the end of each season it can be tempting to just keep going and carry the fitness you have built up into the next. This is one way to encourage mental burn-out, injury, and a drop off in form and fitness towards the back end of the next season. Make sure you take at least 10 days off the bike at the end of each season to ensure you are rested and motivated to go again.
2. Shorten Your Seasons
If you are focussing on both disciplines equally and don’t have a primary objective it is important you give yourself enough transition time between disciplines. Allow you pedal in all cycling forms, there are a lot of differences in the demands and specifics of each discipline. You need to give yourself time to train and adapt to these demands to ensure you have the best season possible. An easy way to do this is to delay the start or bring forward the end of your season to give yourself time to rest and then train specifically for whatever is coming next.
3. Ride A Variety Of Bikes
Putting bikes into “hibernation” is a common phase I hear at the end of season. However, if you are wanting to race in multiple disciplines across the year it isn’t a bad idea to incorporate riding all of your bikes all year round. This doesn’t mean you have to do specific sessions on each bike. But it is useful to train on all of your race bikes as part of a weekly/fortnightly routine.
4. Think About The Demands Of The Event
Between seasons it is always a good opportunity to reflect on the past season you’ve had and also the upcoming challenges you face. Try and break down the discipline you are going to focus on and determine which elements of that lead to a successful performance. This could be in Physical demands, technical aspects, nutrition, psychologically, recovery etc.. Then try and profile yourself on these aspects and work out where you need to improve as well as what you do well. From this exercise you can then focus down on where your time is best spent to make the biggest improvements to your performance. Also using your personal profile to help you make decisions about how you approach a race and make in race decisions is a great skill to have.
5. Equipment Set-Up
It is almost painful to watch the amount of people that switch disciplines, (especially on-road to off-road), that keep the same bike position for both disciplines. I see a lot of quite restrictive road positions anyway, but when you see people trying to ride CX like this it becomes an even bigger challenge. Not only does it restrict your range of motion when you need to be more agile on the bike. Your ability to manoeuvre the bike over technical obstacles and distribute your weight correctly in corners.is hampered and you are giving away time for no reason. If you have questions about how to adjust your position based on discipline and your specific physiology just send me a message.
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