Anytime I’m brand new to something, I like to take in as much information as possible before diving in. Particularly if it’s something I’m going to be doing in front of others, and especially if chances are high that I’ll make a complete fool of myself. Toss in a high likelihood that I can injure and/or maim myself, and I really want to get some heads up instruction before venturing out.
Even before I get some one on one coaching from other riders, I knew I needed a Cyclocross for Dummies type of book — something that would not only explain the history and evolution of the sport, but one that would also break down different skills needed, and the best ways to train for them. Scott Mare’s Complete Book of Cyclocross, Skill Training and Racing is way beyond the Dummies series book, and just what the doctor ordered….
With the new year at hand, and just 8 or 9 short months before the next cyclocross season, I want to get moving on my training for 2009. Beyond just Riding Tons, I need to know the basic skills, and how best to attack them. I also love to know how things came to be, so Mares book really fills out a great general, all-around cyclocross book for someone like myself.
Mares, who has run ACA cyclocross camps for the past 9 years, shares personal stories of his first forays into racing, in the first chapter entitled The Hard Lessons. After explaining the purpose of the book, he breaks down what the sport is, including the history, the course, the bike, the pits, and the finish. Each section in helpful in getting a grand overview of cyclocross.
Mares explains his vision for gaining 1 minute in the course through skills improvemenet, and breaks down his Three Keys to Cyclocross. He then covers basic skills every racer needs to master — dismounting, shouldering a bike, remounting, clearing barriers, ascending runups, and more.
In the section entitled Skills and Drills, the book outlines 20 drills riders can perform to improve their techniques for cyclocross today. Additional chapters cover topics such as Mental Training, Intervals, Goal Setting, Tactics, Warm Ups, Equipment, Clothing, Race Week/Day Routines, Tips and Tricks, and Strength and Core Training, which covers a good chunk of the book with suggested workout routines.
My hopes for a Cyclocross for Dummies book were far exceeded in The Complete Book of Cyclocross, and I imagine even an advanced amatuer, or seasoned veteran may find a helpful tip or drill inside the book as well.