Recently, I went to the Helen Wyman Cyclocross Camp. Whilst there, we had a chat about training, equipment and disc brakes in the peloton.
Firstly, we spoke about training. Helen was quick to acknowledge that she’s in a rather nice position of having all day, every day to train, but stresses that time-management of training can help you do more. Breaking up core training, for instance, can really help mentally.
As CX is such a demanding sport on its equipment, choosing what you send money on can be even more important than on the road. Helen believes that for those looking to get serious about racing, 2 identical bikes are much more important than one super bike.
Tyre pressure is also essential for getting grip in the mud. Helen uses a simple formula for setting the pressure. Take your weight in lbs, mine is 144. Divide it by 10 and this is your lowest pressure in a tubular. For me, that's 14.4psi. Adding 10psi to that gives you your max tyre pressure, 24.4psi for me. If you're using tubeless or clincher tyres, you'll need to add 5-10 psi to those figures to avoid burping or pinch punctures respectively.
Asked to choose one tyre for a whole British season, she chose the Challenge Baby Limus. This 320tpi tubular also comes as an open tubular (clincher) and features deep side knobs for grip in the sloppiest UK mud. The central section is slightly shorter than a full Limus for faster rolling, whilst maintaining mud clearing.
With disc brakes having established themselves so well in CX, Helen is probably one of the best people to ask about their use on the road. Not surprisingly, she sees their biggest advantages in the muddy fields, not out on the roads.
Right, I’m off to buy an identical bike. This is the best chance I’ll ever have to get away with doing so!