Practise makes perfect

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It’s coming up for the start of the season so it’s time to start practising some ‘cross specific skills.

First up – remounting!

This is an important skill as vital seconds can be lost in a race due to a slow remount. In my experience, every race will require you to get off your bike at least once per lap so getting this skill dialled in is essential.

I am reasonably good at dismounting to both sides of the bike, and my left side remount is smooth and fast. My right side remount however basically requires me to come to a halt and climb back on. Not ideal.

Last night I set about revising my skills and seeing if there was anything I could do about that right side remount.

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Skills session last night

A post shared by ᗩᒪIᑕE ᔕTᗩᑎIᖴOᖇᗪ (@alice_staniford) on

Fortunately, after several months of neglect, my basic CX skills remain. I can ride around trees and other obstacles, get on and off (on one side) without losing momentum and generally feel comfortable with my bike.

(Re)learning to (re)mount on the opposite side is difficult. It’s not a skill you can practice slowly. You just have to commit and go for it.

I did some prep: simply getting on and off on the ‘other’ side, and then did a few laps of the park swinging my leg forwards and backwards over the saddle in a half-dismount/remount motion to get used to the whole concept. This seemed to help and got me used to being on that side of the bike.

Finally I plucked up the courage and actually went for it.

I can now remount on both sides. It’s not so pretty, but I won’t be having to stop mid-race just to get back on if I am forced to get off on my least favourite side.

Despite already feeling confident on the left side this was a really hard skill to learn! Hopefully with a few more practises I will soon be just as good on both sides.

Further study: Cyclocross Magazine recently released this useful tutorial “How to eliminate the stutter step

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