Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Off the bike... on the bike... off the bike

I've become interested in trying cyclocross this fall, and I participated in the first session of a four-week clinic last week. The second session should have been today, but it was postponed because it was raining this afternoon. Instead, I ended up practicing on my own.

First, a bit about cyclocross. Cyclocross is basically a criterium or circuit race on various surfaces that are not pavement. A typical cyclocross race course includes barriers, mud, or other obstacles that competitors can't ride through. It's usually necessary to dismount and carry the bike a few times per lap on a cyclocross course to negotiate the obstacles. Because a cyclocross event is a race, competitors try to dismount and remount their bikes while running to lose as little time as possible. These operations are called "flying" mounts and dismounts.

As you might imagine, the flying mounts and dismounts are a couple of the more challenging aspects of cyclocross. Because today's clinic session didn't happen, I went to a nearby park and practiced flying mounts and dismounts for around half an hour. I rode in continuous circles dismounting and mounting the bike without stopping.
A kid and his dad were practicing soccer nearby, and I'm guessing I looked pretty strange to them. Despite looking strange, I got considerably better at getting on and off the bike at speed and I also got a decent workout.

I'm starting to see what cyclists mean when they say cyclocross is more tiring than criterium racing.


  1. Good Lord man! How many hobbies/interests do you have?!? Wonder if your wife could have a word with my wife about how to let me take on more things? :)

  2. Heh... it probably seems like more than it is. It's mostly just cycling and running stuff or some variation. Cyclocross season is in the fall, and it starts more or less when the normal road season ends.

    I guess I run and bike a lot, but I need it to stay sane. I think I'd go bonkers if I didn't have those activities as a way to unwind. You're right, though... Anne's been really good about letting me do this stuff.

  3. I am the World's Best Wife! :) (Right? Right...? I hear crickets chirping...)

    No, actually, it sometimes seems like a lot to me, too, but I want him to be happy (and sane), and I am also very impressed with his level of fitness and his skill at these events. As long as he's not out running and biking more than he's home, I don't mind. He's also lucky that most of my hobbies and interests are home-based. If mine also took me out of the house, we'd have to do more negotiating! :)