Bike Doctor Intro to Cross clinic
On Sep 1, 2013, Bike Doctor’s Racing Team and staff conducted a beginner’s cross clinic at Rosaryville State Park, MD.
Before talking about the clinic,
I would like to extend my gratitude to Bike Doctor’s Racing Team, Bike Doctor of Waldorf, Bike Doctor of Arnold MD and the following instructors: Nicholas Taylor, Steve Fife, Todd Bickling for an outstanding clinic.
Now on to the clinic,
This clinic was strategically designed and eloquently delivered to introduce the basic skills necessary for racing cyclocross. Each skill was broken down into easy to manage steps, providing the beginner (me) the chance to grasp the concept of each step. After reviewing the steps and watching how the skill was performed, the new Cross rider performed the skill in a wide, open grassy field, with instructors monitoring our every move and providing individual tips and guidance.
First skill up was the Dismounting of the bike while moving forward. Now I have been riding a road bike for nearly a quarter of a century and my mind immediately asked “why” would I want to unclip my right foot from its stable position on the pedal and swing my leg up and back, behind the saddle, over the rear wheel, to the opposite side while still moving forward – that is like jumping out of a good airplane. I must admit I was a bit nervous!!
And even though my mind kept going “why”, I was intrigued, I have to try this – so following the steps provided, I started moving forward at a slow pace, unclipped my right foot, gently lifted my right leg back and up as far as my flexibility would allow in order to clear the saddle and rear wheel, bringing my right foot to the opposite side behind my left pedal to rest my right hip against my saddle for balance, and then touch down with the right foot and unclip with the left.
“Yes!!! I did it !! Oh my Gosh – I actually did it.”
After my first success and a moment of relief, I gave it several more tries adding in the instructor’s tips, as the instructors would ride up next to me, observed my performance and provided feedback. I got to the point of balancing on one pedal while moving forward before touching down.
The next skill was Remounting and that was even more mind-boggling. However, after my first success of dismounting I was convinced our instructors could guide me through the steps. Remounting requires forward motion, lifting of the right leg and placing the right thigh onto the saddle first, and then sliding onto the saddle into riding position. Sounds more graceful than I looked performing it.
My first several attempts to remount were slightly successful, unfortunately during this skill set, the hydraulic brakes of my MTB experienced a serious melt down locking up my rear wheel. I do not own a Cross bike but after my MTB melt down I may have the excuse I need to go shopping.
I remained at the clinic to observe and record the remaining skills being taught. The instructors went into great detail on how to suitcase, shoulder, approach an obstacle, overcome the moment of chaos or a faulty remount, and navigate an apex. After each skill, the Cross riders had a chance to perform the skill in a pre-staged area of a Cross course. Bike Doctor Racing team put forth tremendous effort to set up pre-staged race areas that mimic a Cross event, challenged our newly learned skills, while at the same time provided a safe learning environment.
I invite you to view a short video I created from the skills I recorded. If the video does not load properly there is a link at the end of this article, to view the video on YouTube.
The clinic was wrapped up with a discussion on Cross equipment with a special guest from SRAM and if that was not enough, a raffle giving away free gifts.
This clinic Rocked!!!
Thank you for an amazing introduction to Cyclocross. I’m looking forward to the season.
If the video above did not load properly click here to view the video on YouTube.
Ride safe, nbee