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3 tricks to achieve your best cyclocross performance despite your full-time job

Craig Richey has three pieces of advice to help you get the most out of yourself during cyclocross season

Craig Richey is past the days of pursuing a career of a professional cyclist and these days works full time as the marketing director at Easton and Race Face. Despite moving on from the dream of racing pro, he’s found a balance between the demands of working full-time, a busy life and racing at a very high level which included the first two rounds of the cyclocross World Cup in Iowa City and Waterloo racing for the Garneau-Easton cyclocross team.

RELATED: 6 secrets for balancing your day job and racing

His experience in achieving some of his best results on the bike while working full-time and living a busy life away from work can be valuable to help you step up your game at cyclocross races this fall. A full-time job doesn’t need to be a disadvantage. Here’s the approach that Richey uses to get the most out of himself during cyclocross season:

There are no junk miles

In order to build fitness for weekend cyclocross races, Richey squeezes in as much riding as he can. “The limitation is the amount of volume I can get in. I’m busy at work, I have a girlfriend, I have a dog, the condo, etc,” he said.

Richey does as many as four short rides in a day, “Just to try and get in that volume.” He commutes 50 minutes to and from work on his ‘cross bike four times a week. He frequently does a lunch ride which consists of structured intervals on a 4 minute loop with some technical challenges and in the evenings goes out on his mountain bike with the dog. “There are no junk miles. A mile is a mile.”

To make the most of the time you do have on the bike, make each ride count and realize all time in the saddle can be valuable to building fitness for race day. Riding your cyclocross bike as much as possible is also important to hone your skills.

Keep your gear simple

“Try to minimize equipment related time wasting stuff. Here I am racing a World Cup on alloy clinchers with tubeless tires because I don’t really have time to glue tubulars,” Richey said.

Keeping your equipment simple has many advantages. While you could get a shop to do the work for you, it still takes time to drop equipment off and pick it up. Apart from being able travel to races lighter with only one reliable set of wheels, come race day, Richey can make his tire selection without the worry of having not glued the right ones on. It also means he trains and races on the same equipment.

By selecting functional and versatile gear, Richey said keeping his equipment simple saves him time so he can focus on other more important things than what he needs for the next race.


The day job is an advantage

Relying on your day job to live and racing just for fun can be used to get the best out of yourself according to Richey. “It’s a big advantage on the mental side because I am not stressed about the results, my recovery or my pre-race meal. My job is more important. Biking is just for fun,” he said.

While pursuing a professional career, Richey described worrying about every little detail and over analyzing everything. With a day job and other things on his mind, now he just shows up with the intention of having fun and doing his best.

“Over the last three years I have had some of my best results ever, I can race way more free,” he said. “When you are busy you don’t have time to care about everything little thing. Each race is: ‘I am here to have fun, my training and preparation is what it is.’ So just go out there and do the best you can.”

With files from Andre Cheuk.