Unlike a wrestling ring where the ropes can be used as a sling shot while performing acrobatic fighting maneuvers, the tape on a cyclocross course breaks when you run into it. To help you shred the course and not the tape, here are some words of wisdom from our OSC riders.
I find that riding single-track on my MTB really helps me get comfortable off-road again after a season of road racing. Riding fast on single-track requires intense focus, and it takes a while to feel comfortable making sharp turns, dodging rocks, avoiding trees, etc. Plus, the wide tires and suspension absorb some of my mistakes so they don’t hurt as bad. At the same time, I’ll start taking my CX bike out into the grass to practice basic skills (dismount, remount, turning, etc..) and do my intervals on improved gravel trails like Little Blue Trace or the Longview Trail.
I don’t really train my handling skills…
I just go try and get rad
But in a smooth and efficient way
I try and hone in on the flow
I surf the gnar
I just try and do everything perfect. That being said, I’ve probably done one perfect dismount, ever. But my next dismount will be perfect, and the turn that follows will be done perfect, and the next off-camber will be perfect, and the next up hill.
Something that has really helped my handling skills off-road has been riding the Lawrence River Trails and the SMP CX course with my teammates who have more experience than me. Following their lines through the corners and frequently asking for their advice has drastically improved my ability to flow through corners and be competitive in the CX races.
By far the best thing I do is to test the limits of the bike on trails and paths that may be a bit much for the bike, such as some rocky single track. Also, trying to follow the rest of the guys on the Lawrence river trail helps me find and improve my handling limits.
Shred more gnar, maybe ride some single-track, and perfect practice makes perfect.