Photo Courtesy of Donovan Jenkins
If you are a newcomer to Cyclocross, you probably have a million and one questions on how to train, what kind of bike to buy, what to expect and is it really as easy as it looks?
We went out to the Kick-Off Rally Cross event at LA Historic State park this weekend and we met Sasha Perry. Sasha became a regular at Cyclocross events after going to one race to film a web-series on Vegan athletes. Here is the story.
TL – What was is about Cyclocross that drew you to it?
SP – The first time I saw Cyclocross was at a UCI race in Griffith Park in LA. I was there to film for a web-series on vegan athletes, I didn’t know much about the sport at the time. I showed up with a camera and couldn’t get over how fun and ridiculous and hard it all looked. The next season I rented a bike from the SoCalCross organizer and did my first race. It was less fun and far more excruciating than it looked and I fell in love immediately. At one point I found myself riding through a sand pit next to a child’s swing set while an 8 year old pointed and laughed at me. What’s not to love? I wasn’t a bike racer or even an athlete when I did that first race, and now it takes up more of my life than I care to admit or think about. There’s something about destroying myself at a race and the feeling it brings when you cross the finish line that I haven’t found in any other bike event and I’ve become addicted to it.
TL – What’s is your training routine?
SP – I’m on my bike anywhere between 15-25 hours a week depending on my race and work schedule. I’ve also recently started weight lifting and throw in some easy runs now and then to keep my legs happy. The riding varies from short rides with hard interval efforts to long tempo rides on the weekend when I can spend 4 or 5 hours on the saddle. I am incredibly fortunate to have an amazing coach and supporter Jeff Lawler (Pioneer Coaching) who has put a lot of time into helping me get speed and skills; two things I never thought I could have.
TL – What is the best piece of training advice you have been given?
SP – I have a very hard time seeing progress, and it sometimes lends itself to thoughts of quitting. I was told by my friend recently that being hard on yourself is good–it’s how you improve–but not too hard. The sweetest victories have nothing to do with overall results. Getting to the top of a hill a little faster than last time, finishing with a pack instead of getting dropped, doing something you thought physically impossible. All these things keep you coming back. I was crashed in my first Pro 1/2/3 race this year, got back up and finished the race in 13th. I was absolutely destroyed, and it absolutely felt like winning. There are no small victories.
TL – What is one piece of advice you would you give someone who is interested in CX?
SP – I think I’d give the same advice to anyone regardless of gender that wants to get into CX, and it’s nothing profound. Just remember that everyone was a beginner at some point. Don’t be intimidated by the fancy bikes that cost more than your car, don’t be afraid of wearing spandex in public, (no one looks good in it and we all just accept that). Just go out and try it. Pushing your body and mind to do something uncomfortable will change your life if you let it, and in the meantime your friends get to throw things at you and hand you dollar bills.