With cyclocross season now officially in full swing, we touched based with a couple of our athlete ambassadors to find out what truly makes this skinny, but knobby tired cycling discipline ridiculously hard yet unbelievably enjoyable.
Dani Arman first tried Topical Edge during this year’s Breck Epic as a fun way to test some of her technical abilities while building a solid base for her season which started last month. The Boulder, Colorado resident is professional ‘cross racer for Tenspeed Hero/Firefly Bicycles all while holding down a full time job as a Program Manager at Hitachi Data Systems.
This past weekend she competed in the West Sacramento Cyclocross Grand Prix, taking 9th and 11th on back to back days in a pro field led by Olympian Kateřina Nash. After racing in China to start off her season, she competed in her first World Cup at Jingle Cross in Iowa and is gearing up for the heart of her season ahead.
We wanted to know, what makes ‘cross special to her?
CX has this interesting hold over me. It consistently provides a challenge, always changing, exhilarating, and never-ending room for improvement. Most of all, it is this special flow we work to tap into that forces you to stay present. I have always been an endurance athlete (running through college), but CX provides this specific focus that has and will continue to positively translate to other aspects of my life. This paired with the community of racers and friends elicits that 'giddy' feeling I look forward to all summer.
What do preparations for a long season of CX racing look like for you?
I’m a huge fan of cross-training (pun intended). I try to incorporate many methods of racing and training throughout the spring and summer. This includes some road & MTB racing. I sway more towards the adventure-esque events as well as ride with my fabulous community of lady-shredders in Boulder. I still love to run, but try and keep it exclusively to trails when I can. Strength training is also a huge part of my training, making sure I keep the agility, flexibility and power alive.
How have you incorporated Topical Edge into your racing, training and recovery?
For races, Topical Edge starts the evening before the event or right after my pre-race ride for extra recovery. I also apply it around 30 minutes before my race start or right before my warm-up on the trainer. During the season my harder days are Tuesday and Wednesday. This includes two days of solid workouts and strength training. I usually apply Topical Edge after my Tuesday ride and strength training so I can head into Wednesday ready to rip. Depending on how harsh the Wednesday workout may be, I will also apply prior and after that day as well.
Topical Edge ambassador and former professional skier Michael Friedberg is also an elite ‘cross racer based in Boulder. We profiled his transition into the cycling and culinary world recently, just as he was preparing for the start of his racing season. In just one month of racing, Michael has already secured six podiums in the competitive master’s fields of Colorado.
How do you prepare for the ‘cross racing season?
I’m opening two restaurants this fall so I will be done around mid-November this year and I rarely go past early December as I still love to ski! I race mountain bikes and ride as much as I can in the summer. Since I am always time poor I focus on sweet spot training (80-90% of FTP) and in the fall I start to shift focus onto intensity with 7-10 hours per week of training. The Boulder community is an awesome place; every Wednesday at 7am we have Working Man’s Worlds at Valmont Bike Park. It’s basically fight club on CX bikes, then we all go to work. It’s a great group of riders that helps me stay motivated and push harder.
How have you incorporated Topical Edge into you pre-cross race routine?
It’s become a vital part of my routine; I use it before all of my hard efforts, pre and post, and for recovery as well. My legs are basically covered in it from Tuesday to Sunday night!
Dani’s main goal for the season was a top five at a UCI event, but she’s already achieved that. Look for both her and Michael to better their best and land on the top step of the podium in the near future!