Cyclocross Skills, Drills, and Challenges

Cyclocross Skills, Drills, and Challenges

Breaking down individual skills and several important CX specific drills.

By Alison Powers, ALP Cycles Coaching

Wednesday was our monthly ALP athlete ride and it was all about cyclocross (CX). In las week's Blog Post Friday, ALP Coach Alison Powers, wrote about how 50% of CX racing success (or lack thereof) is solid bike handling skills. We put that to practice, broke down individual skills, and worked on several important CX specific drills.

ALP Cycles Cyclocross Skills

Body Position: how you sit, stand, and your posture on the bike can really help or hinder your ability to handle the bike. We practiced our 'attack position' by riding over an 8 inch box over and over again. 

Barriers, Run-Ups, Dismounts/Mounts: when you are forced to get off your bike, maintaining speed and minimizing energy expenditures are very important. We practiced that by making sure everyone had smooth dismounts, mounts and shouldering techniques. Then we forced the pace by riding two by two at speed into the barriers. 

ALP Cycles Cyclocross Skills

Vision: not only do you want to look ahead, but you want to focus on specific things when looking ahead. This is very beneficial in corners, sand, and a pack of riders. We did an 8 cone drill forcing the rider to always look 2 cones ahead. 

Cornering: putting both body position and vision together to create smooth confident (and fast) cornering. 

Sand: light hands, weight in your feet, and focusing on where you want to go pay off big time when riding in the sand. Gear choice also matters- not too hard of a gear and not too easy of a gear. We had a short corse in a sand pit practicing looking ahead, riding through and around cones, and riding in a group. 

This 90min session was very beneficial (and fun). I encourage everyone to work on their CX specific bike handling drills once a week. A smooth confident rider is also a fast racer. 



Alison Powers

Alison Powers only recently retired from cycling, finishing her final season on the UnitedHealthcare Women’s Team. Her career has spanned a wide array of wins, including the 2013 USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship where she won in memorable fashion by soloing after an early breakaway that obliterated the pro women’s peloton. Other standout results during the 33-year-old’s 2013 season include the win at Redlands Bicycle Classic, second at the Tour of Elk Grove, third at the US National Road Championship and the US National Time Trial Championship, and stage wins at Cascade Classic, Tulsa Tough, Tour of the Gila and Redlands Bicycle Classic. Hailing from Fraser, Colorado, Powers has been racing bikes professionally for eight years and is a true athlete with her career beginning as a teenager in mountain bike racing. In her mid 20s, she added in alpine ski racing before switching over to the road. In addition to being the current Criterium National Champion, Powers has two other national championships (Time Trial, Team Pursuit) and 2 NRC titles (2009, 2013).

About ALP Cycles Coaching

ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that we have 4 coaches, Alison Powers, Jennifer Triplett, and Patricia Schwager who each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person. Visit them online at