Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Guide to Cyclocross Technique

Episode 1: How to Take the Barriers

1) grab a lot of brake. mostly the rear one, as you don't want to flip forwards. it's best to lock up the rear wheel, as this will let the treads really bite in to the turf.

2) unclip your left foot. then clip it back in.

3) unclip your right foot, then swing it over the seat in as wide an arc as possible. this stretch will keep you loose as you acrobatically clear the barriers.

4) swerve a little. this will let your competitors be more aware of your position. they'll appreciate the knowledge, and you'll have that much more room in which to maneuver.

5) grab some more brake. you can never grab enough brake in a 'cross race.

6) keep both hands on the hoods. otherwise, you might not be able to brake enough (see #5)

7) slam the front wheel into the barrier. this will pop the rear wheel up, allowing you to...

8) grab something on the rear half of the bicycle, such as: the toptube, seatpost, saddle, seatstay, seat tube, or rear wheel (spokes or rim). this will help you lift the bike over the barrier. if you did #7 correctly, the rear end of the bike will already be at shoulder level.

9) failing #8 (don't worry, not even the pros get this right every time), pause in between the barriers. you've got 4 meters (sometimes more, cough cough AUGUSTA) of real estate in which to reset yourself before the next barrier. take your time... you paid your entry fee, this course is as much yours as anyone else's.

10) step, hop, or prance over the barriers. style points are awarded, which will then be subtracted from your time at the end of the race. remember to smile for the photographers.

11) place your left foot back on the left pedal. more advanced riders may try to clip in while rolling by propelling themselves with their right feet, but feel free to clip in while stationary if that's more comfortable.

12) swing your right leg over the saddle. again, swing it in as wide an arc as possible, to limber up the legs before you have to start pedaling again.

13) sit back down on the saddle. take care to protect your giblets.

14) pedal.

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