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Indoor Bike Trainer Workout 4/4 from Specialized/Feedback Sports CX Team

mechanic sets up bicycle on stationary trainer

The current global focus on socially responsible activity has us all wondering what we can do to support our family, friends, and neighbors who may be unusually susceptible to health risks. For many, this is simply riding or working on bikes solo, but for some in metropolitan areas, this isn’t an option. So if riding outside isn’t an option today, we hope you’ll enjoy a series of indoor bike trainer workouts from Specialized/Feedback Sports Cyclocross Superstar Maghalie Rochette and her coach David Gagnon (PowerWatts Nord).

They know a thing or two about blending hard work and fun, so here’s the first bike trainer workout in a series of four!! Our many thanks to Maghalie, and especially coach David!

———————————–

If you did not know, David, who we often speak of as the mechanic of the Specialized/Feedback Sports Cyclocross Team, is also a coach. This week, David cooked up four workouts for you to try at home. 

The workouts are all approximately one hour, but you can always make them longer by adding a longer warm up and cool-down. The goal is not to overextend yourself, but mostly, they are meant to balance health, happiness, and improved performance. It can be boring to ride the trainer with no purpose, so we hope that these workouts will keep your sessions fun and stimulating!

We hope you have a lot of fun! Don’t hesitate to let us know how it went! Tell us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

***Note: In the workout below, the % is based on your power threshold. If you’ve ever done a 20min test, 100% = Your 20 minute power. These workouts are described in power. If you don’t have a power meter but are using an Omnium, pair your Omnium to Zwift, The Sufferfest, TrainerRoad, Rouvy Virtual Power, vPower, or Kinomap for estimated power readings. For more instruction on how to set this up see here. If you do not have access to one of these apps. You can use heart rate or perceived exertion, with 100% being equal to the maximum effort you can sustain for 20 minutes, zone 3/4 for heart rate or a perceived effort of 7/8 out of 10. If you’re new to training metrics check out this great article from Bicycling Magazine.

Workout 4 – Hour of Power

A very simple workout where you’ll have something to focus on for the full 60 minutes of the hour.

You can write this on a piece of paper (maybe stick it on your top tube?) and have fun. Again, focus on your breathing to make sure you stay composed and in control. If there is no cadence listed pedal at whatever cadence is comfortable to you.

0-10 50%
10-12 @100%
12-15 @ 60%
15-20 @ 80%
20-21 @ 130% @ 100  RPM
21-23 @ 90% @ 70 RPM
23-28 @ 60%
28-30 @ 120%
30-31 @ 100% @ 90 RPM
31-34 @ 60%
34-44 @ 85% @ 80 RPM
44-45 @ 140% @ 110 RPM
45-50 @ 100% @ 70 RPM

50-60 @ 30%

Thank you for following along with David and Maghalie’s workout series. Let us know what you thought in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While you’re here be sure to check out our Mechanic’s Corner series, where you get the inside scoop from race mechanics and tips from pro mechanics around the world.

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Indoor Bike Trainer Workout 3/4 from Specialized/Feedback Sports CX Team

mechanic sets up bicycle on stationary trainer

The current global focus on socially responsible activity has us all wondering what we can do to support our family, friends, and neighbors who may be unusually susceptible to health risks. For many, this is simply riding or working on bikes solo, but for some in metropolitan areas, this isn’t an option. So if riding outside isn’t an option today, we hope you’ll enjoy a series of indoor bike trainer workouts from Specialized/Feedback Sports Cyclocross Superstar Maghalie Rochette and her coach David Gagnon (PowerWatts Nord).

They know a thing or two about blending hard work and fun, so here’s the first bike trainer workout in a series of four!! Our many thanks to Maghalie, and especially coach David!

———————————–

If you did not know, David, who we often speak of as the mechanic of the Specialized/Feedback Sports Cyclocross Team, is also a coach. This week, David cooked up four workouts for you to try at home. 

The workouts are all approximately one hour, but you can always make them longer by adding a longer warm up and cool-down. The goal is not to overextend yourself, but mostly, they are meant to balance health, happiness, and improved performance. It can be boring to ride the trainer with no purpose, so we hope that these workouts will keep your sessions fun and stimulating!

We hope you have a lot of fun! Don’t hesitate to let us know how it went! Tell us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

***Note: In the workout below, the % is based on your power threshold. If you’ve ever done a 20min test, 100% = Your 20 minute power. These workouts are described in power. If you don’t have a power meter but are using an Omnium, pair your Omnium to Zwift, The Sufferfest, TrainerRoad, Rouvy Virtual Power, vPower, or Kinomap for estimated power readings. For more instruction on how to set this up see here. If you do not have access to one of these apps. You can use heart rate or perceived exertion, with 100% being equal to the maximum effort you can sustain for 20 minutes, zone 3/4 for heart rate or a perceived effort of 7/8 out of 10. If you’re new to training metrics check out this great article from Bicycling Magazine.

Workout 3 – Cyclocross

This dynamic workout should go by really quick. It’s one that I like to do during the cyclocross season. Do the prescribed sets of intervals then move directly into the single endurance effort. There are two important things to focus on:

(1) – The short intervals should be done at a higher cadence and with a good acceleration at the beginning of each interval.

(2) – After the shorter efforts, you’ll start the “endurance” blocks with a high heart rate. Focus on breathing well and controlling your respiration to recover and lower your heart rate (as much as possible, I know it’s not easy!) during those blocks.

Warm Up

15 minute build up to 100% – 90-100 RPM

Main Set

5 Sets of the following: 15 Seconds @ 150% -15 Second Recovery

5 Minutes @ 80%

2 Minutes Easy

4 Sets of the Following: 30 Seconds @ 130% – 30 Seconds Recovery

4 Minutes @ 85%

2 Minutes Easy

3 Sets of the Following: 45 Seconds @ 120% – 0:45 Recovery

3 Minutes @ 90%

2 Minutes Easy

2 Sets of the Following: 45 Seconds @ 125% – 45 Seconds Recovery

2 Minutes @ 95%

2 Minutes Easy

1 Set of the Following: 30 Seconds @ 140% – 30 Seconds Recovery

1 Minute @ 100%

2 Minutes Easy

5 Sets of the Following: 15 Seconds @ 160% – 15 Seconds Recovery

1 Minute @ 100%

Cool Down

5-10 Minutes Easy (or longer if you have time.)

And you’re done, you did it! As mentioned if you’d like to extend this work out a bit, add on some easy spinning before or after the main set. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this workout, we’ve got one last workout coming from David and Maghalie.

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Indoor Bike Trainer Workout 2/4 from Specialized/Feedback Sports CX Team

bicycles on stationary trainer

The current global focus on socially responsible activity has us all wondering what we can do to support our family, friends, and neighbors who may be unusually susceptible to health risks. For many, this is simply riding or working on bikes solo, but for some in metropolitan areas, this isn’t an option. So if riding outside isn’t an option today, we hope you’ll enjoy a series of indoor bike trainer workouts from Specialized/Feedback Sports Cyclocross Superstar Maghalie Rochette and her coach David Gagnon (PowerWatts Nord).

They know a thing or two about blending hard work and fun, so here’s the first bike trainer workout in a series of four!! Our many thanks to Maghalie, and especially coach David!

———————————–

If you did not know, David, who we often speak of as the mechanic of the Specialized/Feedback Sports Cyclocross Team, is also a coach. This week, David cooked up four workouts for you to try at home. 

The workouts are all approximately one hour, but you can always make them longer by adding a longer warm up and cool-down. The goal is not to overextend yourself, but mostly, they are meant to balance health, happiness, and improved performance. It can be boring to ride the trainer with no purpose, so we hope that these workouts will keep your sessions fun and stimulating!

We hope you have a lot of fun! Don’t hesitate to let us know how it went! Tell us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

***Note: In all the workouts below, the % is based on your power threshold. If you’ve ever done a 20min test, 100% = Your 20 minute power. These workouts are described in power. If you don’t have a power meter but are using an Omnium, pair your Omnium to Zwift, The Sufferfest, TrainerRoad, Rouvy Virtual Power, vPower, or Kinomap for estimated power readings. For more instruction on how to set this up see here. If you do not have access to one of these apps. You can use heart rate or perceived exertion, with 100% being equal to the maximum effort you can sustain for 20 minutes, zone 3/4 for heart rate or a perceived effort of 7/8 out of 10. If you’re new to training metrics check out this great article from Bicycling Magazine.

Workout 2 – Easier endurance workout

This workout is less intense than the first one and more in endurance. The session should not
be that hard, but the goal is to focus on quality of execution. For sure you’ll be able to go harder,
but that is not the goal today, just focus on being efficient and working on your cadence.

Warm Up

10 Minute Easy Spin

4 Minutes @ 70%

1 Minute Easy

3 Minutes @ 80%

1 Minute Easy

2 Minutes @ 90%

1 Minute Easy

1 Minute @ 100%

2-3 Minutes Easy

Main Set
This will be 3 blocks of 8 minutes with 2 minutes of recovery in between.

Block One

Maintain 80% only changing cadence for a total of 8 minutes, alternate between the following:

1 minute @ 70 RPM and 1 minute @ 100 RPM

2 Minutes recovery

Block Two

Alternate sitting and standing for a total of 8 minutes of the following:

1:30 minute @ 75% seated / 30 seconds @ 100% standing

2 Minutes recovery

Block Three

Working on cadence again, settle into a gear to match the required power then spin up your cadence at the top of every minute for 5 seconds then slowly back off back to 90 RPM. Total of 8 Minutes

80-85% @ 90 RPM.

At the beginning of each minute, stay on the same gear and increase cadence around 110-115RPM for 5sec. Then, back to 80-85% @ 90 RPM.

5-10 Minutes of Easy Spinning to Cool Down

And you’re done, you did it! As mentioned if you’d like to extend this work out a bit, add on some easy spinning before or after the intervals. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this workout, we’ve got two more coming!

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Indoor Bike Trainer Workout 1/4 from Specialized/Feedback Sports CX Team

cyclist riding stationary trainer

The current global focus on socially responsible activity has us all wondering what we can do to support our family, friends, and neighbors who may be unusually susceptible to health risks. For many, this is simply riding or working on bikes solo, but for some in metropolitan areas, this isn’t an option. So if riding outside isn’t an option today, we hope you’ll enjoy a series of indoor bike trainer workouts from Specialized/Feedback Sports Cyclocross Superstar Maghalie Rochette and her coach David Gagnon (PowerWatts Nord).

They know a thing or two about blending hard work and fun, so here’s the first bike trainer workout in a series of four!! Our many thanks to Maghalie, and especially coach David!

———————————–

If you did not know, David, who we often speak of as the mechanic of the Specialized/Feedback Sports Cyclocross Team, is also a coach. This week, David cooked up four workouts for you to try at home. 

The workouts are all approximately one hour, but you can always make them longer by adding a longer warm up and cool-down. The goal is not to overextend yourself, but mostly, they are meant to balance health, happiness, and improved performance. It can be boring to ride the trainer with no purpose, so we hope that these workouts will keep your sessions fun and stimulating!

We hope you have a lot of fun! Don’t hesitate to let us know how it went! Tell us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

***Note: In all the workouts below, the % is based on your power threshold. If you’ve ever done a 20min test, 100% = Your 20 minute power. These workouts are described in power. If you don’t have a power meter but are using an Omnium, pair your Omnium to Zwift, The Sufferfest, TrainerRoad, Rouvy Virtual Power, vPower, or Kinomap for estimated power readings. For more instruction on how to set this up see here. If you do not have access to one of these apps. You can use heart rate or perceived exertion, with 100% being equal to the maximum effort you can sustain for 20 minutes, zone 3/4 for heart rate or a perceived effort of 7/8 out of 10. If you’re new to training metrics check out this great article from Bicycling Magazine.

Workout 1 – Change of rhythm 

This workout will be 5 blocks of 5 minutes, with long rest periods in between. Focus on breathing when you are under 100% effort so you are able to do quality work during the accelerations. Also, focus on keeping your cadence at a good rhythm throughout the workout (between 85-100 RPM). 

Warm Up

15:00 minute build up from 30-100%. 

3:00 easy 

Block One

This block bounces between just below your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) and then above for a short time. Do these efforts back to back with no rest.

45 Seconds @ 70%

15 Seconds @ 130%

45 Seconds @ 70%

15 Seconds @ 140%

45 Seconds @ 70%

15 Seconds @ 150%

45 Seconds @ 70%

15 Seconds @ 160%

45 Seconds @ 70%

15 Seconds @ 170%

2:45 Recovery

Block Two 

Now we’ll ramp the lower effort up just a notch.

45 Seconds @ 75%

15 Seconds @ 130%

45 Seconds @ 75%

15 Seconds @ 140%

45 Seconds @ 75%

15 Seconds @ 150%

45 Seconds @ 75%

15 Seconds @ 160%

45 Seconds @ 75%

15 Seconds @ 170%

3:00 Recovery

Block Three

Again moving the lower effort up to 80% FTP, we’ll begin to ramp down after this block.

45 Seconds @ 80%

15 Seconds @ 130%

45 Seconds @ 80%

15 Seconds @ 140%

45 Seconds @ 80%

15 Seconds @ 150%

45 Seconds @ 80%

15 Seconds @ 160%

45 Seconds @ 80%

15 Seconds @ 170%

3:15 Recovery

Block Four

Second to last one, now we’ll begin to ramp down on the low end.

45 Seconds @ 65%

15 Seconds @ 130%

45 Seconds @ 65%

15 Seconds @ 140%

45 Seconds @ 65%

15 Seconds @ 150%

45 Seconds @ 65%

15 Seconds @ 160%

45 Seconds @ 65%

15 Seconds @ 170%

3:30 Recovery

Block Five

Last Block of efforts and we’re dropping the lower end down even more.

45 Seconds @ 50%

15 Seconds @ 130%

45 Seconds @ 50%

15 Seconds @ 140%

45 Seconds @ 50%

15 Seconds @ 150%

45 Seconds @ 50%

15 Seconds @ 160%

45 Seconds @ 50%

15 Seconds @ 170%

10 Minute Cool Down/Recovery

And you’re done, you did it! As mentioned if you’d like to extend this work out a bit, add on some easy spinning before or after the intervals. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this workout, we’ve got three more coming!

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Success In Cyclocross Depends On Adaptability – Maghalie Rochette

mechanic working on bike while cyclist rides

With the North American Cyclocross Season having come to a close, many riders are wondering what they’ll need to improve to climb up the results list next season. Specialized/Feedback Sports Cyclocross Superstar Maghalie Rochette offers thoughts on what it takes to position herself in 6th in the World Cup standings, and how she’ll manage a final push towards the World Championships.

BE LIKE WATER

If I had to name one essential quality to success in cyclocross, it would be adaptability. 

Adaptability is the essence of our sport. The season extends through fall & winter, which presents a mix of conditions – dry courses in the scorching heat and muddy courses in the wet and cold.

Some courses demand climbing skills, some require us to race in a pack, to be a good runner, or to be very technically proficient. And sometimes the conditions change within the hour race, putting even more importance on being adaptable. 

That being said, I believe adaptability goes beyond our physical abilities as riders. In fact, I think it’s more of a mindset that we must adopt if we want to succeed (in any sport, really). We need to be mentally adaptable with our setup and with our pre-race routine. 

When I started travelling to race my bike, I quickly realized that my “ideal” race setup, was often impossible to reproduce on the road. Many times I faced situations where my carefully prepared plan was simply not feasible. In Brazil I didn’t change my diet and became very ill; in Europe I could not find my normal breakfast and panicked; in New York I raced a bike 4 sizes too big.

I’ve had lost luggage and bikes, and the list goes on.

Having the best setup won’t necessarily make you more successful. Last year, I traveled to Europe and had an amazing setup – fully equipped van, tent, trainer, repair stands, 12 sets of wheels, 3 pairs of shoes, 3 bikes, full tool cases, etc… yet, I sucked.

The best race I had in the whole season? The Bern World Cup when we flew to Europe 3 days before the race with 2 bikes, 2 sets of wheels, 1 repair stand, a few select tools, and a trainer, and our race setup was in an underground parking lot out of a small rental car.

EXCUSES DON’T LEAD TO SUCCESS

Through these adventures I have learned a few things. First, I learned that in cyclocross, the only thing you can be sure of is that at some point, things won’t go according to plan. It’s important to have guidelines, but stay flexible in your routine. Second, I learned that there is no such thing as an “ideal” race setup. In fact, the ideal setup is the one that you have.

Control the controllable but don’t worry about the rest. In other words, no matter what setup you are given, you can make it work. 

Sure, having a great setup is nice and it certainly can make your experience more enjoyable. However, the point is to not stop yourself from going to an event just because you won’t have the ideal setup. You can still perform really well if you have the basics covered. It’s also not worth having excuses about not having the ideal conditions. No one cares about our excuses except for ourselves, and if we make ourselves believe we have an excuse to fail, then we really have no chance to succeed.

Of course a nice workbench would be ideal, but David understands the need for adaptability – just get it done!

 

CREATING AN ADAPTABLE MENTALITY

Here are a few of the basics I try to have at each race. Once those are covered, if we can have our own pressure washer, a tent heater and a warm RV…well great! I make sure to enjoy it and make the most out of it. But if these basics are all we have, I’m confident I can still perform well. 

  • Omnium Trainer (That way you don’t have to worry about where to do your warm up, or if you’ll even be able to ride wherever you are travelling. Pro Tip: You can travel with the Omnium Trainer as a carry-on luggage when flying!**(check with your TSA)
  • Ultralight Repair Stand: When travelling, it’s nice to have at least one repair stand to work on the bikes. Pro tip: This small, and light repair stand fits inside an EVOC bike bag. 
  • One pit bike, extra set of wheels, spare parts: I wouldn’t say it’s a must have, but it is nice to have a back-up plan in case you have a major mechanical problem. If you make the effort to travel to a race, I feel it’s important to give yourself all the chances to at least be able to finish the race with working equipment. Pro Tip: If you only have 1 or 2 sets of Tubular wheels and are hesitant on which tread to put on, my advice would be to glue a bigger tread (like a mud tire) – that way you are certain to be good to go no matter what the conditions are. Fun fact, one year, my teammates and I only had mud tires for the Cross Vegas World Cup….all 5 of us still finished in the top ten, even if it was the fastest & driest course ever. 
  • Tools: Figure out the few tools you absolutely need to make the typical adjustment and to build your bike and make sure you have at least those on hand… Allen and/or tork keys, pump, pressure gauge, rotor tool, etc. The Team Edition Tool Kit and a Range Torque Wrench have saved us a million times. 
  • Snacks: I always eat the same gel and BLOKS before the race. Having those, plus a bar that I know I digest well, gives me confidence that I can control my pre-race nutrition no matter what else is happening around me. 
  • Flight Carry-on: When flying to an event, I always make sure to have one pair of shoes, a helmet, and a complete riding outfit in my carry on. That way, if my bike doesn’t show up, it’s easier to only source/borrow a bike when you have the rest of your equipment.
  • Running Shoes: I always travel with my running shoes. That way, if my bike doesn’t show up upon landing, I know I can still go for a light jog to flush my legs.

Those are only simple basics that make me feel in control of my performance. My suggestion is to make a list of the very minimum you need to feel ready to race. Once you have that covered, you can feel confident to go to an event and race regardless of the setup.

Remember, adaptability is more than just a skill on the course, it’s a mindset to carry through our pursuit of being the best racers we can be. There is no such thing as an ideal setup or an obligatory pre-race plan…The ideal setup is the one you have 🙂 

———————————————————

Maghalie and David’s race resumes speak for themselves – 2x Pan-Am CX Champion, 2x Canadian National CX Champion, World Cup CX winner, and countless UCI CX victories. Use their expertise to minimize excuses, step in to a winning mentality, and be like water!

Wishing Maghalie and David all the best for the remaining World Cups and World Championships of the 2019/20 season!

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The Warm-Up: A Critical Start (with Maghalie Rochette)

cyclist riding stationary trainer

Cyclocross is an intense sport, requiring 100% effort from the starting gun through the finish tape. For nearly an hour we ask our body to respond to the constant balance of effort and recovery and this requires preparation. So when it comes to warm ups you may be left wondering: How long? How intense? What should I be trying to accomplish? When to start and finish your warm up? What does a ‘cross warm-up look like?

Explore the answers to these questions with Specialized/Feedback Sports Cyclocross Superstar (and recently crowned Canadian and Pan-Am Games Champion) Maghalie Rochette. 

Why Do We Need to Warm Up? 

MR: The main goal of the warm-up is to prepare your mind and body for the demands of a race. Your routine should be long and intense enough to warm you up, but not wear you down. Cyclocross races start really fast, so you need to work hard enough in the warm-up so that when the starting gun goes off your body isn’t left in complete shock. 

I like the warm up to feel like it “opens up” my legs, lungs and heart so my body is ready and accustomed to the effort when the race starts. There’s a textbook of physiology going on in the warm-up, and although I’ll spare those details the objective is to feel like you’re ready to hit the front and stay there!

How Do You Prepare Your Mind?

I find that the warm-up is also a time to get into a good mental space – a time to get into your own bubble and get acquainted with (and enjoy) the effort that’s coming. I listen to music when I warm up. I have a few different playlists with different kinds of music, depending on the mood I need to be in. Sometimes races call for being aggressive and sometimes you simply need to smile and have fun. Either way, I listen to music that makes me happy and find this will get my mindset where I want it to be.  

This is also a good time for visualization. I do pre-rides of the course earlier in the day. David and I find the most challenging points in the course during this recon and my warm-up is a good time to recall these strategic points and what’s needed to perform at my best.

The mix of physical and mental preparation is what truly makes up a warm-up routine!

David is the coach, the mechanic, and the guy who makes it all happen – setting up the trainer is part of the deal!

 

Does the Weather Affect Your Warm-Up? 

MR: The basic structure of my warm-up does not change, though I do adapt it depending on the temperature, or other factors that may affect how I feel. For example, I don’t deal well with extremely warm weather. I tend to over-heat very quickly, so I have to be meticulous when racing in the heat. If it’s hot outside, I’ll change my warm up drastically. 

One of the things I’ll do differently on a hot day is that I’ll skip the trainer and will instead find a road to warm up on – the wind in my face is refreshing. I’ll also shorten my warm up and often I will even skip the “build up to threshold”. I may just go out to spin and do a few short sprints with full recovery between each to make sure my legs are opened up, but that my heart rate doesn’t get too high. It’s difficult to bring your heart rate down in the heat, so there is no reason to bring it up super high before the race starts.

Alternatively, the trainer is amazing when the temperature is really cold! That refreshing breeze from riding the road isn’t so refreshing anymore!  

Fatigue – does your training plan affect your warm-up?

While I won’t divulge the details of my training, there is an ebb and flow to a season’s preparation. Fatigue happens. Fresh legs happen. Some days you feel great, and others you don’t. I remember at the 2018 Bern World Cup, I started my warm up and my legs felt sluggish.  That particular day in Switzerland I felt like the best strategy was to diminish the intensity of the warm up. I did the same routine, but I turned it down 10%. Turns out it was the right call, because I felt amazing during the race. 

There are days where the best way to deal with heavy legs is to do a few solid efforts, and then you start feeling better. Other times, I know my legs are tired, so I just decide to spin easier for a longer period of time before I start the efforts. Pay attention to where you are in your training to decide which is better. 

Unfortunately there is no magic, pro cyclocross racer, top-secret solution to this problem. Making the right call takes time and experimentation and every rider at the start line of a World Cup has gone through the process of refining their most effective routine.

The best advice I could give is to record everything in your training log afterwards. You can write how you felt during the warm up, how you decided to adapt your typical warm-up, and how you felt in the race afterwards. Trial and error is your best friend…

The Details – Give Us the Specifics!

I like to keep my warm-up pretty short. 

During a race day I’ll probably ride on the course 2-3 times, which amounts to about 30-45min of riding time before I actually start the warm-up. I think it’s important to keep that in mind when creating your routine…you don’t want to end up riding two hours before your race has even started (especially if you only train an hour at a time).

Traveling to Europe for a World Cup campaign means we do without a lot of our conveniences, like a warm-up tent!

 

Here’s what my typical cyclocross pre-race warm-up looks like: 

**I do this warm up on the Feedback Sports Omnium trainer. I prefer the Over-Drive version, because it offers progressive resistance the harder you go. This allows you to pedal hard without spinning out. We have some competitors who use the Zero-Drive, and some who use both, depending on where they are in their training!

10 minutes easy

5 minute build up (from tempo to a little over race pace)

2 minutes easy

3 x 30 second build up (from race pace to fast)

2 min easy

Immediately after I finish the trainer session I eat a gel with caffeine. At the start grid and I do one quick start of about 5 seconds. That short sprint is also an opportunity to finalize your starting gear.

I feel like this warm up (less than 25 minutes total) is enough to open me up, but it doesn’t leave me fatigued.

Practice Makes Perfect

As I mentioned, we are all different, so my warm-up routine may not work for you. However, I encourage you to find one that you like and practice it in training to see how it makes you feel. I’ve done the same warm up for the last 7 years, so I know this one works for me. It can get boring to do always the same thing, but at the same time, it brings tranquility and confidence. My body knows this effort and my mind is confident this is getting me ready to perform. 

 

Thanks Maghalie! If you’re unsure of whether to use a trainer or rollers check out Maghalie’s article on that very subject. If you’d like to get to know David Gagnon, Maghalie’s coach, partner, and mechanic a bit better read this quick Q&A here.

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Balance

cyclists in front of train

Professional bike racers spend a lot of time on their bikes. But creating a balance between hard workouts and fun is paramount. Sometimes it’s good, even for the pro’s, to toss the schedule in the trash and go on an adventure. The need to hit the proverbial “reset button” can refresh the mind and body.

Specialized/Feedback Sports cyclocross superstar Maghalie Rochette used the rails-to-trails P’tit train du nord in Canada for one such adventure. Make sure to check out the sweet video at the end.

GETTING STARTED – BIKE PACKING PREP

It can be intimidating to prepare for a bike packing adventure. What should I bring? How should I pack? How much food should I prepare? Will my bike hold up for the ride? 

Being a professional bike racer, it’s easy for me to prepare for a race…I always bring the same things, and I always pack more than necessary. But a bike packing adventure is not something I do everyday. So I didn’t really know how to prepare for it, and I knew I didn’t really want to carry more stuff than what I would actually use. 

My goal was to make this adventure fun and simple. While I didn’t want to stress over the preparation – I wanted the whole experience to be relaxing and enjoyable…which is kind of a double edge sword! For the adventure to be enjoyable, I would have to prepare a little bit! 

For sure I can make sure your bike is in good shape so you can ride without a worry. A bolt check is a must – such an easy way to prevent avoidable catastrophes! We love the Feedback Sports Range for this! And there’s no point in heading out on a long adventure with worn tires, brake pads, or drivetrain parts – treat your bike nicely, and it’ll be kind back!

And for sure bring a few tools – tire levers, a pump, spare tubes, a mini-tool and maybe even some lube will keep you up and running should anything happen. And, if you’re a bit more seasoned, you probably already know zip ties and duct tape are a must!

When it comes to food, as conditioned athletes we certainly have efficiency on our side, but we still had to eat. After all, our first day was 200+km, so fuel is necessary. But in our favor, our adventure was on a bike path that used to be a railway. That meant that we were riding through small towns every 25 to 50 km, so it was (mostly) easy to find food during our trip. For that reason, we mostly carried CLIF Bars, and relied on the small towns to find food for our meals. 

This takes “convenience store” dinner to a whole new level! Chips, candy, soda….and a few things we’re scared to even mention.

For the first dinner our original plan was to stop at a local cheese monger & and sausage shop in the last town before our camping spot, but we got there too late and both were closed. So we stopped at a store and grabbed some corn and sausages. We thought those would be easy enough to cook over the fire…washing it all down with beers makes just about anything taste OK.  

The only meal I had brought with me was breakfast – something about being the most important meal of the day.

I saw in a cook book that you could prepare pancake mix and put it in a water bottle for easy transportation. That sounded like a pretty great idea – execution of the idea on the other hand… A few splatters of pancake mix in my face later (and on my jacket when I opened the bottle) it kind of sort of worked out. My pancakes were far from looking as good as the cookbook I had seen, but they still tasted good – my friends could taste the love. Probably just being nice 😉 

But I also had a breakfast plan B – I had mixed quick oats with a bunch of nuts, cinnamon, dried fruits, and coconut flakes. I put the oat mixture into little bags, and we carried them in our luggage. We only had to pour boiling water on the oats, and had a delicious oatmeal for breakfast! 

For other meals, we just stopped when we saw something appealing on the side of the road. Sometimes this works out amazing – granted, we were starving so just about anything sounded good, but it turns out the place we found was amazing! Probably the best Roma pizza of my life, in a family-run bakery, in a tiny village. To this day, I’m so glad we found this place…I still dream of the pizza. But, isn’t that the point of throwing the leg over a bike seeking adventure? The unknown!

And for our eating, we really only had a pocket knife, wooden utensil (spoon/fork/knife), a burner, 1 collapsible cooking pan. 

And while I’m no bike packing expert, I’d say the most important thing is to wear a cycling kit that is very comfortable. You’ll spend many hours riding in it, so it may not be the time to break out a new kit, or some new shoes. To save on space, only brought a spare sports bra and pair of socks…I “washed” my shorts with a biodegradable soap and let it dry over night, but I wanted to save on space.

Aside from clothing we had sleeping bags, a puffy jacket, a pair of pants, a t-shirt, a toothbrush, a headlamp, a pair or flip flops, a swim suit, and a towel that we all four shared. It was pretty minimal, but we didn’t need to live in luxury! 

As I said above, I’m no professional bike packer. This is something I don’t do often enough to have valuable experience to share… So my tips are not based on world-class experience. However, that little preparation worked out for us! 

Maybe just preparing for an adventure is part of the fun; you get excited looking at the map, preparing food, and packing your bags for your trip. Plus, having a good working bike simply makes the trip more enjoyable, because you know you can trust your equipment. 

And if something happens despite your preparation?! Well, that’s also part of the adventure. It may not be ideal in the moment, but reminding ourselves that we do this for fun will make the obstacles much more bearable, and even quite funny! 

At the end of the day, getting into misadventure, and being a little bit uncomfortable is part of why we go on those adventures…and those misadventure always make for good camp fire stories! 

While Maghs and David may not be professional bike packers, they do understand what it takes to perform at the highest level of sport. And if you ever get the chance to meet them, you’ll understand why they hit the “reset button” – they’re two people that exude such an energy that you simply want to be around them.

If you enjoy the story – check out the whole video here.

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Committed to Racing

cyclist racing

It’s in our name. It’s defines our company culture. And it’s the recipe for how our products have earned the reputation of durable and portable. It’s our commitment to racing.

We put our products in the hands of the World’s most demanding teams, athletes and mechanics. Grand Tours, Spring Classics, World Cup MTB and Cyclocross are all opportunities for us to gain Feedback, so our products satisfy the people who use them at home, the local and regional races, and Nationals events.

Our commitment to racing is no more obvious than walking the pits of this past weekends Trek Cup World Cup Cyclocross Race in Waterloo, WI. We started counting Omniums, but at a certain point the number just became “a lot”…

Have a look at a few pics from the weekend – as always, Trek’s dedication to cyclocross showed. The crowds were entertained and the racing was brutal.

Like many amateurs and professionals this past weekend, former French National CX Champion Steve Chainel stopped by for a post-race cool-down on the Omnium Zero-Drive Trainer

 

Helen Wyman navigates the Challenge tent, sharing a nearly infinite amount of wisdom with up and comers Anna Kay, Clara Honsinger, and Sammi Runnels – and of course they use Feedback repair stands and Omnium Trainers every weekend.

 

The newly formed Easton/Giant CX Team runs the same program as most – Pro Elites, Sprint Stands and Omnium Trainers – the portability and reliability of our products is hard to beat, or so we’re told!

 

We love SRAM and Trek Factory Racing, and they love our repair stands and tools! Their entire events program, including neutral support, uses our Pro Elite and Sprint Repair Stands, plus our Team Edition tool kit!

 

See, told you so – SRAM love our repair stands and the Team Edition Tool Kit – they recognize quality of purpose-built, multi-function tools!

 

Sophie de Boer, a World Cup Dutch rider, loves to warm-up on the Omnium Zero-Drive Trainer too!

 

Nothing to see here, except beard. And the beard’s sweet, sweet Pro Elite Repair Stand

 

Maghalie Rochette, Specialized/Feedback Sports athlete makes her way through the course on her way to 5th place! Not that you’d be able to see it, but underneath that mud is the UCI World Cup Leader’s Jersey after her season opening win at Jingle Cross.

 

Katerina Nash – what can you say – 41yrs old and absolutely crushing it with the win – also a sponsored Feedback Sports athlete. And no, it’s not about age…but her experience was definitely a serious contributor to the World Cup win.

 

Maghalie Rochette landed a hard-fought 5th place. Her cool-down provides the space to rest the mind from the busy week spent in the UCI Leader’s Jersey.

 

Our dedication to racing provides the feedback we look for in all of our products. How does weather influence a trainer? How do our stands hold up to a full season, or five? How do mechanics use our tools in the heat of the moment? Do our tools hold up to the demands of techs that use them everyday, sometimes several times a day.

Thanks for looking – and we’ll see you at the races!

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Mechanic’s Corner: Q & A with David Gagnon of Specialized/Feedback Sports Cyclocross Team

mechanic working on bike

In our Mechanic’s Corner series we’ve been shining the spotlight on the ones behind the scenes that make racing and riding happen for us, the mechanics. Earlier this week we announced that we would be the co-title sponsor of Maghalie Rochette and the CX Fever team. So let’s get to know her Mechanic, Coach, partner, and skilled baker, David Gagnon.

When did you start working as a bike mechanic and how did you get into it?

I raced triathlons when I was younger and quickly realized that having a bike that works properly is important. I liked working with my hands so I started doing small things on my bikes really young. When I was in university, we started a small bike shop where 3 of us really had to do every single task from building bikes to ordering and accounting, so I quickly learned the proper basics at that moment. That shop didn’t last long. It was a lot of work and we ended up closing after 3 years. From there I worked on my personal bikes but I never worked in a shop.

How did you transition into becoming a race mechanic? How long have you been working as a race mechanic at this point?

That really came out of necessity more than a transition. When Maghalie started racing cyclocross 7 years ago, there had to be someone for her in the pits and so I found myself working on her bikes and helping he out at the races more and more until it became clear that she was really good at this and that she would need full time support.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a race mechanic? What is the most stressful part, before, during, or after the race?

Honestly, it’s a great job. You have to be very adaptable and flexible with work conditions. You won’t always have the perfect light, the perfect environment and/or the perfect conditions to get the bikes ready, but if you are a bit creative and have the right tools, it becomes fun. For me, I see these different work conditions more as an opportunity to be creative and find solutions more than challenges. The biggest challenge for me is all the driving. Being from Canada, we often drive down to the US for a few weeks at a time and go from one race to another and a lot of times it means a ton of driving. Driving 40-60 hours per week can get hard on the body and mind sometimes.

The most stressful part for me is the first 30-60 seconds of the race. There’s a lot of traffic and if a crash is going to really mess up the race, it’s most likely going to happen in the first few turns. Once they go by the pits once, I’m pretty stress free. Since most of time it’s just Maghalie and I at the races, getting the race bikes ready, building the setup at the races, and packing everything up isn’t really stressful. It’s actually relaxing 🙂

What are some of the most challenging last minute or on the fly repairs you’ve had to do?

Honestly, nothing very exciting here. We come to the races prepared with all our equipment working 100% and spares of everything and Maghalie runs 3 or 4 bikes per weekend so if for whatever reason one bike isn’t perfect, we can usually do without it and I can fix things stress free following the race.

Only one time I remember being a little worried. At Supercross Cup in NY a few years back, it was very, very windy and one of Maghalie’s bikes fell on the ground really hard 15mins before the start – the frame was broken. That got me a little stressed but we ended up using a friend’s bike that we fitted as best as we could in 15mins as a pit bike for Maghalie. That friend was over 6ft tall, and had a 58cm bike, wider bars, longer cranks & a different company shifting/braking system. So needless to say, it was quite the change for Maghalie when she had to come in the pits. It was super muddy so she had to come in every half lap. We made it work and Maghalie went on to win, and sweep her first ever UCI race weekend!

Do you have any pre-race rituals? What are they?

Nope, no rituals. Except cleaning the bikes, do a proper bolt check and double check tire pressure.

How do you balance being a coach as well as a mechanic?

It’s actually great cause I can see the race from the inside and adjust training a lot with equipment testing and such. I only work as a mechanic for Maghalie and a few close friends that sometimes need help at home or at the races so my job is mostly coaching. Working as a mechanic feels more like a hobby and a nice change sometimes 🙂

You work with Maghalie exclusively all season, what sort of unique challenges does that present throughout the season and how do you move past those?

Working only with Maghalie is great, it gives us a lot of breathing room and a realistic amount of work and logistics that leave us enough time that we don’t feel overwhelmed. We do end up spending a ton of time together driving, training, travelling, eating, etc. and that could be a challenge for a lot of people, but we get along pretty well and we actually feel very fortunate that we can both do what we love, together, for a living. There is no one else in the world I would do this with.

You and Maghalie would be what most consider to be a privateer program, what are some of the largest challenges you face as a mechanic/only staff? What are some of the benefits?

You know, it looks like that from the outside, but Maghalie’s family help us out a lot. Maghalie’s mom and dad come to a lot of races and they are always happy to help, whether it’s in the pits or with the logistics of travel. Magh’s dad is a big cycling fan and for him, to have the pit passes and be around that environment makes him really happy and excited.

In North America, cyclocross is a very tight knit world and when the races require a bit more manpower, we’re always very fortunate to have friends at the races helping us. I’m also good friends with a lot of mechanics from North American teams/riders and so we help each other out in the pits. I’ll catch for them when their rider comes in and they’ll do the same for me when Maghalie comes in. CX in North America is a small world and everybody is super helpful. I could go on for days talking about situation where Cannondale Cyclocrossworld carried Magh’s bikes from one race to another or when we drove other team’s mechanics at the airport or used their bike wash area, etc. It’s a big family.

In terms of the benefits of being just the two of us, well, there are a lot. We only book 1 hotel room. We travel in the same car. It’s very easy for us to make or change plans since we don’t have to fit in other people schedules.

Having experienced a lot of different countries and meeting a lot of other mechanics, what are some differences you notice between the way North American mechanics approach a repair and the way European mechanic’s do? Are there differences in the relationships they have with their riders compared to that of North American teams?

The first thing that comes to mind is swapping parts vs. fixing stuff. I feel like Euro Mechanics will spend a lot of time trying to fix things and be very creative making custom tools for custom parts that they custom fixed as where here we’re most likely going to just put a new derailleur on the bike instead of fixing it. I guess that also reflects on  the overall lifestyle and choices of Europe vs. North America.

In terms of the relationship between mechanics and riders, in Europe a lot of riders have their dad, brother, husband, father in law, etc. be their mechanic. It’s not uncommon here in North America to see the same thing, but in terms of team structure, the American teams will most likely provide a mechanic for the riders, where in Europe, the rider has to have his own mechanic, the team will most likely not supply one.

What is the number one thing home mechanics can do to keep their bike in excellent working condition?

Clean it. Lube it & Protect it with some sort of shine/polish often. And pay attention to the bike when you do so. That way you’ll go over the bike and parts very carefully every time you wash/lube/protect it and you’ll see quickly what there is to fix, change, etc.

The one thing I tell people is make sure your cleaning setup is easily accessible. Leave the pressure washer plugged in water, or keep a hose and a work stand out. That way, it takes a lot less time and you’re not discouraged by the fact that you have to setup before cleaning. You can just come back from a ride, throw your bike on the repair stand, start the hose or pressure washer, clean, lube protect and you’ll be able to keep a close eye on things that need replacement, fixing, etc.

Your Instagram is chock full of phenomenal food photos, specifically loaves of bread and pizza, could you give us one simple recipe for bread or pizza?

Hahaha. I love baking. Pizza & bread are probably my favorite food. Pizza is a very simple recipe that you can make on the BBQ or in the oven at home if you have a baking stone. It’s delicious and it can be healthy if you put good stuff on it. We have a sourdough culture that we use at home, so we need to do something everyday with it or throw away a bit of it, so we try to bake at least every other day.

Quick Pizza, could be done with sourdough too if you have a starter

Dough-

1-Anytime before 2PM, Sprinkle a bit of yeast (like a teaspoon or so) on 400G of +- room temperature water.
2- Add 500G of pizza four (00 type) if you have some or just any flour to the water, a pinch of salt and knead for +-5mins
3- Let it rise for 30-60mins, Go back and knead again a few turns.
4- Let it sit for another little bit, until it +-doubles in size.
5- Take it out of the bowl, fold in a ball one last time on the counter, line a bowl with Olive oil, throw the dough ball in that olive oil lined bowl. Put in the fridge until 1h to dinner.
6- Take it out, split the dough in as many pizzas as you want to make. let it rest on the counter +-30 minutes before stretching it to a pizza!

Sauce –

1- Can of San Marzano Tomatoes. Drain the juice from the can.
2- Put the tomatoes in a bowl, break them with your hands, add a bit of salt & basil to taste and there’s your sauce.

Put in whatever you want on top of that and you have a yourself a nice pizza. I really like just the classic Margherita with a top quality fresh mozzarella on top of that sauce. Never gets old and lets you appreciate the quality of the dough and sauce 🙂

Bon appétit.

 

If you’d like to learn how to glue tubular tires from David, check out this post. 

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Feedback Sports Goes World Cup

chicken standing on bicycle

Feedback Sports has signed on as Co-Title Sponsor to form the 2019-20 Specialized/Feedback Sports Cyclocross Team. The team consists of seasoned professional cyclocross racer Maghalie Rochette, and her mechanic and coach David Gagnon.

“Feedback Sports products are designed to simplify cycling and are a reflection of our internal passions as racers and mechanics. Maghalie and David are true professionals and offer the level of scrutiny of our products we ask from our sponsored partners”, said Doug Hudson, Owner of Feedback Sports. “They mirror our passion for racing, balanced with a deep love of cycling and an infectious positive attitude. We are delighted to have Maghalie and David representing Feedback Sports in our first title sponsorship of a World Cup cyclocross program. It’s long been a dream of mine to have our logo on a World Cup Cyclocross jersey, and after 15 years, this is the right time and Maghalie and David are the right people. ”

Maghalie got her start professionally in 2014 with the LUNA Pro Team (now Clif Pro Team), primarily racing XCO mountain bike with an abbreviated cyclocross program. 2018 marked the beginning of CX Fever, her privateer campaign to target her truest passion of World Cup Cyclocross. During the 2018/2019 season Maghalie accomplished impressive North American results – making several podiums at key UCI events and taking home the Canadian National Title. While those results alone are a success for some, Rochette also captured her first Pan-American Championship.

Aside from her athletic achievements she’s a wonderful advocate for the sport, passionate wood worker, and cheese lover.

Maghalie commented “When we decided to build this team, David and I wrote down a list of the companies we dreamed to partner with. For us, the best partners are people that we like and that we want to work and spend time with. The best partners are also the ones who make the products we believe in. Feedback Sports fit exactly that profile. The whole team is passionate about cycling, and passionate about making quality products…they want to be the best at what they do and have fun while doing it, which is the same philosophy David and I have towards our racing endeavors. For us, there is a lot to learn from the way they run their company, and that’s inspiring. ”

She added,”We are extremely proud to have Feedback Sports as a co-title sponsor this year. I’m excited to be representing them in the races I’ll be doing. I like the company and I’m seriously proud to have their logos on my kit. Plus, I know that everyone in the company will be watching the races, because that’s how passionate they are about the sport, and to me, that’s super motivating. I have no doubt this will be a fun year working with them! Feedback Sports really has the CX Fever!”

David Gagnon, Maghalie’s partner, mechanic, and coach is a large part of the team. Although we don’t get to see the work put in behind the racing scenes, David makes the same commitment throughout the season as Maghalie. He also has plenty of racing experience himself, formerly racing on the ITU triathlon circuit. He also has deep understanding of physiology, working as Head Coach and Co-Owner of the performance center PowerWatts Nord in Quebec, Canada. Beyond sport, David is also a food lover and is at home in the kitchen or over the grill.
David is excited to be part of the Feedback Sports team, stating “Feedback Sports is an example that it is possible to blend perfectly business, life, family and sport together. Their strong presence and support of the racing scene in the past decade shows how passionate they are about racing and for these reasons, we couldn’t be more proud to be associated with such a great company.”

“When people watch bike races, they see the bike and the rider. But when you look at everything that goes behind the race itself, you quickly realize that there is a lot more going on. Travelling to races, preparing the bikes, warming-up and cooling down from the race and storing your bikes back at home – Feedback Sports products are an essential part of what we need to make this team happen.”

“For us this year, Feedback Sports products are the unsung heroes and we’re incredibly excited to bring them to the front row with us.”

To learn more about Maghalie’s plans for the upcoming season, check out this Cyclocross Magazine interview. And because #crossiscoming, check out David’s top tips for gluing tubulars and see what Maghalie thinks about trainers vs rollers.