Happy Summer, everyone!  We’re in the middle of the road and MTB seasons, with lots of good racing left on the tarmac and dirt.  I know that I don’t have to remind most of you that cyclocross season is coming up quickly, but I wanted to write a bit about your preparations for the upcoming ‘cross season.

Now is a good time to start taking an inventory of your ‘cross bikes, wheels, tires, and other equipment.  What needs to be replaced after last season?  What tires worked for you last year that you want to keep?  Are there new tires you want to try out?  Make sure to schedule some time with your local mechanic to get a full overhaul and tune of your ‘cross equipment, as it takes a lot of abuse during the season.  And, don’t put this off:  remember that you want to be training on your ‘cross set-up ahead of the racing season.  Don’t wait until September 1st to start gluing tubulars up!

While you’re scheduling bike maintenance time, let’s talk about race schedule.  Most regions have their cyclocross race schedules published (check out NEBRA’s calendar, and BikeReg.com), and you should be working with your coach to plan out your race days and training leading into ‘cross season.  Talk to your coach, and work together to figure out which races on the calendar are suitable for your “A” race goals, as well as the important “B and C” type races that are part of a successful season.  Consider talking to teammates and friends to see if they’re traveling out of your region to other events.  Never raced outside of your local area?  Plan a road trip, and get a taste of some new courses and competitors:  it’ll help you develop as a racer.

This is a great time of year to to start adding in some hikes and mellow running for most athletes.  Consider adding a gravel grinder to your calendar, to get more comfortable riding on dirt again, and mix things up from your normal racing scene.  Locally in New England, there are lots of great options:  The Grand Fundo, D2R2, and the NEBRA August Adventure, among others.  Your coach can help you fine tune these details, but it’s good to start laying a fitness and skills base for the cyclocross season.

 Lastly, and not the least important, schedule some time for other things in the next few weeks, like spending time with your family and friends, off the bike. Many of us are lucky enough to have the support of family, friends, and teammates, and it’s important to spend time showing your appreciation for them. Before we get into the start of the busy cyclocross season, be sure to unplug a bit and take care of those relationships around you.