Author of a new book on cyclocross, Paul Maunder gets first time CX racers up to speed. Here are his five quick tips you should make before a race.
1: Deflate yourself
Traction is everything so run your tyres soft — the more mud and ice, the lower the psi. It will feel strange, but in the first few corners you’ll feel the benefit.
2: Source the course
Do three or four laps beforehand, looking closely at the course for the first two – find alternative lines and obstacles and check the ground conditions. Work out where to dismount, change gear and where you might get a moment’s recovery.
3: Pocket your bottle
Take the bottle cages off your bike as they’ll get in the way when you need to carry it. Slip a bottle of energy drink into the pocket of your warm-up jersey, and keep sipping until the start.
4: Heat your core
Keeping your body temperature high will improve your performance. Before the race, wear plenty of layers. Liberal use of a good embrocation cream will help, too.
5: Sprint at the start
Stay focused and ready to give it everything for the first half a lap. A good start means getting clear of traffic, crashes and the concertina effect of sharp turns.
Paul’s new book on cyclo-cross, Rainbows in the Mud, is available from Bloombury, £14.99