Each summer, a select number of riders racing ages 15-22 get to attend the Montana Cross Camp summer camp in Helena led by head coach Geoff Proctor. The camp provides a chance to learn new skills and make new friends while essentially doing three workouts a day and learning during the evening classroom sessions.
For those of us with real “jobs,” the thought of going to cyclocross summer camp like sounds a-a-a-mazing, even if we do not necessarily have the talent to allow us to set our eyes on racing in Europe, as Proctor’s Montana Cross Camp prepares young athletes to do.
Fortunately, as we start to look to the coming cyclocross season, there are drills and skills from Proctor’s camp we can incorporate into our own training.
Proctor brings a background in skiing to his training regimen, and as I saw when I attended the Women’s camp two weeks ago, the workouts and drills the young athletes do are varied and challenging. Running, agility, on the bike, off the bike, yoga, Proctor gives athletes a lot to think about and work on when they head back to their respective homes across the country.
For today’s Training Tuesday, I declare #crossiscoming to be officially here as I share some ideas for mixing up your cyclocross training with some ideas from Montana Cross Camp. All the usual caveats apply—not a coach, not a complete list, etc.
Scroll through using the next button to read about each workout idea.
The Sven Hill
Even before I headed to Helena, I had heard of the famed Sven Hill. I think that is indicative of the value Proctor places on the Thursday morning go-for-the-ice-cream exercise.
The inspiration for the Sven Hill comes from, you guessed it, Sven Nys. Nys had a hill he used to train on, and when Proctor visited Belgium while working on his book “Behind the Stare” he got to see Nys train by riding up the steep incline over and over.
Proctor brought the Sven Hill with him to Montana Cross Camp and includes the feature on the Cox Lake lap the women’s campers rode on Thursday.
Steep hills similar to the Sven Hill are frequently found on cyclocross courses of all levels, and at times, the ability to ride a steep hill could mean the difference between winning and losing a race. You can incorporate the idea of a Sven Hill into training by finding a steep incline that is just a bit harder than what you can ride right now.
We cannot all be Lizzy Gunsalus in riding the hill on our first try, so keep hitting the hill until you can ride it.
Then when you can ride it, use a trick I learned from a clinic with Sven himself and start closer and closer to the hill while still trying to ride it. Then, when you have conquered your Sven Hill, find another one that is even harder.
After Thursday’s training session, Coach Katie Compton also pointed out the importance of dismounting into a run when you cannot ride all the way up a steep hill. After practicing riding the hill, you can also work on carrying speed into the incline and then dismounting to run to the top.
Two skills for the price of one training feature.