Hannah Payton on Training and Riding Cyclocross - Kinesis Bikes

Insight from Team Kinesis UK rider Hannah Payton on training and riding cyclo cross

It’s one of our favourite times of the year again – Cyclocross season!

Yes, the first races in most parts of the country took place over the weekend just gone. In fact a number of our own staff were out racing in local leagues over the weekend too including our Pro Team rider Bruce Dalton.

We thought it might be interesting to get some insights on Cyclocross training and the sport in general, so we asked our other pro rider Hannah Payton a few questions.

What time of the year do you begin training for the Cyclocross season?

Training never really stops. I had a break after last season in March and then I went to Spain for two months of endurance training. Spain’s a popular destination for pro cyclists at that time of year because the weather is a bit warmer and drier than the UK, meaning you can train more consistently, particularly for the long rides that make up early season training. Through May, June and July I did a fair amount of road racing back in the UK and mainland Europe. Then I followed that up in August with another block of endurance training, this time in France. In September I raced the Tour of the Ardèche and my season kicks of properly in Las Vegas at the first world cup event of the season on September 16th.


How many hours a week do you need to train for?

During the blocks of endurance training, I can easily spend 25 hours on the bike each week. During more intense interval based sections of my training, it’s more likely to be in the region of 10 hours a week.

What kind of workouts/training do you need to focus on in preparing to race Cyclocross?

My training varies a lot. Some of it is focussed around building strength and this involves lots of intervals pushing the pedals under load at 50 rpm. I also do a lot of interval training based around my races which typically last for 40 minutes, so I match my interval sessions to the same duration. It’s also really important for me to do a lot of cross specific skills sessions. These include things like running, hurdling, starts and mounting and dismounting to make sure my skills are at the level I need to race well.

What do you feel are the key skills that make for a successful ‘cross racer?

A good ‘cross racer needs quite a range of skills to succeed. These include good upper body strength for shouldering and carry the bike. You need to be able to start the race fast too and have good hurdling skills for getting over obstacles and barriers. You also need to be great at cornering fast on a range of surfaces as well as being able to choose the right lines while riding over lots of different terrains like sand and deep mud. It might surprise some people to know that in ‘cross you can win races without being the most powerful rider if you have better skills.


What do you feel are your own key riding strengths?

I ride really well through deep mud, which not everyone can do but I also think that technical courses with lots of hurdles and tight corners suit me well too.

What would you say to beginners about how (and why) to take up ‘cross racing?

Well of course, I’d have to say that the Kinesis range is a great place to look for your first Cyclocross bike. Once you’ve got your bike, search out your local league and head down to try a race. Cyclocross is a really friendly and welcoming sport and you’ll find plenty of friendly faces there to help you out when you’re beginning. Even at local league ‘cross races the atmosphere is great and there are plenty of races to watch from kids through to veterans for both men and women. Regardless of your level, you’ll find a race to get in and have a go at. It’s a great way for road riders to keep fit and have fun through the winter and if you’ve got a family, you might get your kids interested in having a go too.

As great as racing in the UK is and it is a lot of fun, in Belgium they’ll get 15,000 fans turn out every weekend to shout, ring cow bells and drink beer. It’s one of most fantastic spectacles in any type of bike racing and one that’s worth heading over to Belgium to enjoy for yourself sometime. The racing is incredible as well!

Our thanks to Hannah for taking the time out of her training to chat to us and we’ll bring you more about how Hannah and Bruce’s race season comes together on our brand new CXRACE team bikes soon.

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