After taking a well-deserved break at the end of the cross-country season, Beth Crumpton is now back in the saddle and rode the first cyclo-cross National Trophy round in Abergavenny.
Despite a mechanical early on she managed to make her way back up to the front end, finishing in third place and getting herself selected to represent GB at the European Championships. Here she gained a respectable 18th place at her first international cross race.
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Crumpton hopes to adapt to life on the Academy over the next year and as she moves up to under-23, she hopes to gain even more experience by riding World Cups and is aiming to get on the podium in the elite category at the Nationals.
CW looks at her week of training in the build-up to the Euros and as she settles into her new home with the rest of the Academy.
Today I had my induction to the Academy, which involved a bit of walking round the velodrome up in Manchester and some interviews. Bike-wise, I had an easy day doing just 30 minutes on the rollers; nothing structured, just spinning.
This was a hard day with SRM tests for the Academy to see my starting point, so improvements can be monitored during my time on the programme. This included a ramp test, where the resistance increases gradually and basically you just have to ride till you die. Then I did the peak power test to find my maximum wattage.
CW Says: As Crumpton had been on her feet quite a lot of the day, walking and standing at the velodrome, and knowing she had a hard day coming up, Monday’s easy spin on the rollers was the perfect antidote. Little sessions like this keep the blood flowing to the legs, but aren’t too strenuous so they won’t take any of the zip out of the legs for the following day.
Being fresh for ramp tests is important, so an accurate measure of fitness can be gained. Plus they are very demanding and can take a lot from you and going into a ramp test already tired is not advisable.
I went for a mountain bike ride with the boys on the Academy in Llandegla for two and a half hours – trail ride and skills at the jumps/pump track and drop-off area.
CW Says: An important part of being a good off-road rider is having great bike handling and technical skills, so it’s important to maintain and improve these throughout the season. Riding with people better than yourself can really help improve these skills as it’ll push you to try new things and as you try to keep up with better riders. Despite already being an extremely skilful rider, Crumpton heading out with the Academy boys will only help improve her technical riding even more, and soon there will be few female XC riders technically better than her.
As we all know, cycling is not all serious and these types of session are great for getting to know other people as well as being a fun way to maintain fitness. This session was a great way for Crumpton to get to know the other riders she’ll be spending lots of time with while at the Academy.
Had an ergo session; for this I was using a big gear to improve strength and power. I then headed down to Ipswich to get ready for the Euros and Trophy at the weekend.
CW Says: Power sessions are vital for cross and mountain biking, as you often have to power through sections of mud or sand. Getting used to the high levels of resistance you find during these types of races is extremely important as spinning through them isn’t usually an option.
I began with an easy roller session in the morning, just spinning my legs out, then headed out for some course practice in afternoon.
CW Says: The easy roller session in the morning was great for Crumpton to get any metabolic residue out of her legs after the previous day’s power session and ensure she was ready for course inspection. Also, after being cooped up in a car it’s a good, quick-and-easy-way to get any stiffness out of the legs before doing another session.
Checking out a course before any off-road event is vital. This is so riders can work out the best and quickest lines through different sections and be confident during a race. It also allows them to work out what different tyres and pressures to run as these can vary from course to course.
I did a warm-up on the rollers for about 25 minutes; this included five minutes easy, then an eight-minute progressive effort followed by two minutes easy before doing three minutes which included three six-second sprints then a final five minutes easy riding. Then I had the European Championships where I finished 18th.
Did the same warm-up before my race and then had the second round of the National Trophy, where I came 10th.
CW Says: Due to the explosive nature of cyclo-cross, as well as the low temperatures races often happen at, it’s vital for riders to get a solid warm-up in and to get to the start line warm and with their blood pumping and legs ready to race.
This warm-up would probably be the same one Crumpton does before most races, so is one she is used to. Often, many riders find sticking to a routine or similar pattern before each race useful and even calming. Using the same warm-up helps them do this as they know how long it takes and can work back from the start time of their race to ensure everything runs smoothly.