We all have to take it easy once in a while! Cyclocross is very skill-heavy and you can make progress in this area despite having a take a recovery ride. If you need a pure recovery ride then have just that and don’t worry about progress in other areas. If you know you need a recovery day and have a little extra energy then give these a go.
Ride at a very easy pace for 30 minutes to warm up. Then, at a very easy and deliberate pace, mix in these basic sills:
Starts – clip in with both feet, take a couple of medium-effort pedal strokes and then shut it down.
Turns – create a very short course with turns and methodically ride around. Don’t brake, but rather keep a consistent speed that enables you to hit the turns at a good clip without breaking a sweat.
Barriers – clip out, walk 5 paces and re-mount…..repeat. Work on dismounting and re-mounting on both sides, because every once in a while ambidextrous skills are a benefit.
Bunny hop – start low. Gradually increase height and use a “barrier” that you can hit without repercussion. We like to use 2 plastic stakes similar to what are used to form ChiCrossCup courses with a wooden garden stake balanced on the tabs at different heights. Both can most likely be found at your local hardware store. You don’t necessarily need to be able to hop a barrier in a race, but getting over smaller obstacles without touching them can help avoid punctures and the need to scrub speed.
In addition to making an easy day more interesting a ride like this affords the opportunity to really think these actions and motions through. Taking them step by step will help you solidify and clean up certain motions and ultimately make up seconds per lap. It might save you some skin down the road too.
Race hard and have fun!