This past weekend I attended a Cyclocross clinic held on the grounds of the Serotta bicycle factory in Saratoga Springs sponsored by NYcross.com. If you have never heard of cyclocross, then allow me to briefly explain: it is like gladiators on bikes.
The clinic was for beginners, and the lessons were taught by real-life cyclocrossers (including this master cyclist). At one station, we were taught how to take corners, at another we were taught how to properly dismount, mount and go over barriers, and at the final (and most entertaining station) we were taught how to load your bike in the 3-point carry to go up a hill. I found it fun and ironic that at a cycling clinic, two of the stations focused on how to get off the bike. Luckily, one of the instructors did teach us that it is never good form to dismount your bike over the handlebars.
The clinic ended with a mock race which included two sets of barriers and one run-up. I had been to a cyclocross race as a spectator before, and I did make some very poignant observations as a participant. First of all, the barriers are a lot higher than they look. Perhaps, this observation could be extended to note that it is a lot easier to watch somebody else carry their bike over a barrier than it is to do it yourself. Second, it is not a good idea to wear baggy shorts when you are going to be mounting and dismounting frequently. This may lead to getting tangled and ending up on your back with the bike on top of you. Just saying.
Here are some shots of the event. Here's a short clip from helmet cam shot this Saturday at the run-up clinic.
And check out NYcross.com for races in the area. They are very entertaining to watch. Last year at the Bethlehem Cup I saw somebody crash into the creek and then get back up on the bike and keep going. So, go!