This brings me onto a general tip: ‘minimum speed’.
In cyclocross, your minimum speed is your running speed. If you ever drop below this, then you have done something wrong. You need to pre-empt the situations where you might come to a halt: steep banks, sand sections, mud sections or really tricky off camber sections can all lead to you riding slower than you can run… leading to you dismounting the bike while at a standstill or scooting along slowly in a rather undignified manor.
Practice all different kinds of situations to know your ability in different situations. You are allowed to practice the course before you race, so workout where you are going to dismount and remount. Remember your ability to sprint up steep banks and through muddy or ‘heavy’ sand sections will be greatly reduced during the race compared to a steady practice lap. Getting to a bank with a heart rate already at threshold is a completely different situation to arriving at it fresh faced just out of the car park. Plan ahead but also think quickly during races and adapt your plan as others possibly get in your way or perhaps show you a better line during the race. This ability to adapt is key to cross, if it starts to rain during the race you may well have to run more than previously planned or even switch bikes to different tyres! If you feel yourself beginning to struggle through a section due to a lack of power after a couple of laps make a conscious decision to dismount on the next lap rather than coming to a halt.
There will be a lot more tips and some videos coming soon from VELD coaching as the cyclocross season fast approaches.
If you have any questions about possible coaching, don’t hesitate to get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org