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Considering Cyclocross? Take Sarah True’s Advice

  • By Jené Shaw
  • Published Jan 19, 2016
Photo: Brad Kaminski

How does Olympian Sarah True have fun (and stay fit) during the off-season? By going off-road!

Sarah True has already punched her Olympic ticket to Rio for 2016, and coming off a season that earned her third place in the world for the ITU World Triathlon Series, she has the luxury of training the way she chooses over the off-season. The New Hampshire resident loves going off-road during the winter months and races cyclocross to keep her technical skills sharp. Considering a cyclocross event? Take True’s advice for your first race.

It’s OK to be sort of bad.
You are a triathlete, so don’t expect to go in crushing it in a completely different sport. The good news is the result is kind of beside the point. “I’m a mediocre cyclocross rider, but I love it,” True says. “I’m really good at the run-ups, but I can’t jump barriers. I get off my bike a lot and carry it all the time. I just think, ‘How did you possibly ride over that?!’”

RELATED: Racing Lessons From Top American Sarah True

Prepare to redline the whole time.
“It’s hard because I’m not really fit and it really hurts when you’re not fit,” True says. “You’re redlining for 45 minutes to an hour.”

RELATED: What Cross-Training Activities Are Most Beneficial?

You’ll reap the cycling rewards (and smile while doing it).
True is an advocate of doing things that are different and make you smile. Plus, the benefits cyclocross racing has on your cycling skills make it worth a try. “It’s going to help with your handling skills and develop your threshold, but it’s also just fun,” she says. “It’s easy to get caught up in hitting numbers and we forget to have fun. I think one of the reasons I’m still racing with a huge smile on my face is because I really genuinely have a good time, and part of that is what I do in the off-season. I actively seek out things that put a big ol’ smile on my face and that’s, for me, riding on dirt roads and going in the woods on my ’cross bike and falling off every once in a while, but just laughing at myself because I’m being a bit of a knucklehead.”

RELATED: Crossing Over To Cyclocross

It will re-energize your mindset.
“I think it brings it back to the love of the sport, and anytime you do something out of your comfort zone that pushes you, you get that feeling back,” she says. “It’s a challenge, and a challenge is a good thing. It helps you grow as an athlete.”

RELATED: 4 Off-Season Cycling Rules

FILED UNDER: Bike / Training TAGS: /

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw is a contributor for Triathlete magazine, a six-time Ironman finisher and a USAT Level 1 certified coach

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