With the cyclocross season in full swing, Simon has some top tips to help improve your off-road riding, and hopefully to help you enjoy cyclocross even more than you already do!
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First up, and it is a big one, a key difference between riding off-road and on-road is that sliding in a corner doesn't have to spell disaster. Far from it, in fact. Sliding is one of the coolest things about cross. You need a nice loose or slippery surface, not too hard to find off-road, and as you approach the corner, keep your weight central on the bike, your outside foot down, which will keep your bum really close to the saddle. If the back wheel starts to go, the fun really starts, 'cause you then steer away from the turn and keep the slide going.
Sometimes you actually do want to lay down some power and accelerate and then the slippery trail means that you don't actually go anywhere. But you could find that there is more traction available than you first thought. You want to be peddling ever so slightly slower than you would do on the road. Now, the other thing is to make sure that your weight is firmly in the saddle, because having your weight further back helps to drive that rear tire into the ground where it can hopefully hook up.
Bumps kill your speed. Each time you hit one, it slows you down. But fortunately, there is a good technique for overcoming them. Now, firstly, power really helps. So if there is a really bumpy section, you hit it really hard, and then when it smooths out afterwards, you can ease off and recover, but overall you will have gone faster. And then your actual technique on the bike. You want to be absorbing bumps with your body, but only up to a point, because if you get too floppy, you're just gonna get knocked around all over the place.
No skill separates the cross veteran from the newbie quite like the running remount. Do bear in mind, that you're never gonna nail this technique unless you practice it. So take every opportunity you get. In fact, something that I've taken from our own Mr. Last is the mantra that you should never get on a stationary cross bike.
Okay, so one of the most important skills with riding cyclocross is actually the ability to laugh at yourself when you're lying on your ass in the mud, because, unfortunately, it is an inevitability of riding off-road. Just ask Mathieu van der Poel or Sven Nys. Now, of course, crashing isn't fast per se, so you're better off not crashing, but you just have to realize the fact that because of the way that you have less traction, you are unfortunately, sometimes, gonna hit the deck.
Do you have any top cyclocross tips? Let us know in the comments below 👇
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Watch more on GCN...
Dismounting and remounting http://gcn.eu/dismountwithsven 📹
How to ride like Sven Nys http://gcn.eu/CXwithSven 📹
Photos: © Bettiniphoto / http://www.bettiniphoto.net/ & ©Tim De Waele / http://www.tdwsport.com
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