The Workout Of The Day for Wednesday, 9.28.11. – “Hop a long”
It’s Wednesday. you know what that means, right?
Skills Day !
Here’s the general outline of what you’re doing tonight…
1 – warm up for 10 minutes.
2 – Stretch out after you’re warm. . Pay special attention to all the muscles used in those movements you make hopping on and off the bike that are different from what you usually do.
3 – Dismount/remount skills for…. well, for a long damn time. Read on…
4 – turning and handling skills for 1o minutes.
- work on tight, high speed turns as well as super tight low speed turns. Roll some off camber slopes, and learn to turn on them as well.
- Put two traffic cones about 10 feet apart from each other, and ride a figure eight around them, pedaling the entire time.
Make the turns tighter and tighter until you can’t hold the line and you fall down. Learn where the break point is between riding a tight line and falling on your ass, and push that line until you are definitively over it.
- Finish the night with two 15 minute efforts on relatively easy terrain.
- “Easy” as in a loop on grass with some tight-ish turns on it, or some pretty buffed double-track.
- Go hard, and work on accelerations out of the turns.
- Every time you slow down entering a turn, get on the gas on the way out of it, ass out of the saddle, working hard.
- 10 minutes full gas, rest for 5 minutes, then go for 10 again.
Warm down, go home, relax.
That’s the outline, but we need to fill in the details, right? Today we’re going to focus on a question I get all the time, and heard a bunch of times at the clinics the last couple of weeks:
“Why do I hop when I I get back on the bike, and how can I stop this from happening….?”
This is one of those questions that is as simple as can be in the asking, and as deep as we care to make it in the answering.
We’re going to go fairly deep here, because perfecting the remount is one of those little things that can gain you a lot of time. Today’s workout, then, is -
A Little Dab’ll Do ‘Ya -
We’re going to start with the basics.
First of all, Don’t jump on your bike!
Let me repeat that. It’s important. Don’t jump on your bike!
Makes sense, right?
If you jump onto your bike, you are out of balance, out of control, and you’re losing speed (even if you don’t nut-shot yourself.)
Don’t do it.
Like this -
Not this. (sorry!)
Click on that picture of Niels Albert, and keep it open in another screen. We’re going to come back to it.
Let’s break this whole “stepping on to the bike” thing down a bit, shall we?
Here’s the basic cyclocross remount, step by step. You’re going to practice it exactly like this, one step at a time, at a walking pace, until you’ve got it wired.
- Hands on hoods, you should be looking forward, not down.
- you’re on the hoods so you can get out of the saddle & on the gas as soon as you remount.
- you’re looking forward so you can see where you’re going.
- Take one large step forward with your right foot.
- Begin to take a second step, with your left foot, and as you do -
- Bend your elbows, lowering your upper body and closing your hip angle.
Why are you doing this?
- Check out this picture -
- and now this one -
When you bend your elbows and lean forward during the remount, it allows you to raise your leg higher in the rear. If you’re having trouble clearing the saddle with your leg when you remount, this will cure ‘ya.
- As your left foot hits the ground, you are going to slightly externally rotate your right hip.
- go look at that picture of Niels. He’s doing this beautifully. Notice how he is flaring his right hip towards the bike? That’s external rotation.
- Your left foot hits the ground, and you are going to drive off of it as you swing your right leg over and on to the saddle.
- OK. A couple of important things here.
1 – You’re driving off your left leg, not jumping. Think forward momentum into the handlebars, not vertical motion into the sky.
2 – Swing your leg over the saddle…
- as you do it, you will make contact with your inner thigh, and then slide into a seated position. Don’t try to jump and land your butt on the saddle. That’s nut-shot territory, remember?
- The combination of the leaning forward and the external rotation will make it so much easier to clear the saddle with your right leg that you will wonder why you never thought of doing it this way before.
- As your right leg swings over and onto the saddle, don’t focus on the saddle, concentrate on hitting the pedal with your right foot.
-The idea here is to step completely over the bike and onto the pedal on the far side.
- As your right foot hits the pedal, start pedaling.
- Note that I didn’t say “clip in.” Don’t wait to clip in. Start pedaling. You will clip in after a couple of pedal strokes if you have pedals that are worth using.
- Get out of the saddle immediately and punch it.
- Seriously, practice this. Every time you remount, as soon as you are on the pedals, you should be standing up and hitting the gas. it should become so automatic that you need to force yourself to remain seated after a remount. This is where those little race-winning gaps after the barriers come from…
- A couple of little tiny points…
- You shouldn’t need to look down at any point during this whole process. Your pedals are attached to a set of cranks that define a very finite range of positional variance, all points of which lie in circle whose midpoint is defined by the bottom bracket.
If you miss the pedal on your remount, start moving your legs in a pedaling motion, and your foot will run into a pedal pretty damn soon. Step on it and go.
- If you are consistently having trouble finding the pedal as you remount…
- take some time to work on your dismount. It’s pretty likely you’re doing something wrong here, and leaving the pedal in a weird position when you get off the bike.
- Sneak a peak at your pedals just before you remount. Real quick-like, just look down, note where the damn things are, look back up and forward, and keep on going.
That’s the basic remount. Practice it. Tonight.
Want some more?
Here are some drills to really make sure you’ve got this nailed…
– The One-Step ReMount –
- From a total stand still, hands on bars, no forward momentum at all, take one step with your left foot, and remount your bike.
Not hard enough?
– The Quicksand One-Step –
- Same thing, but no pedaling at all. Concentrate on driving so hard off the left foot that you can coast on the bike after the remount, from a standstill, with no pedaling.
This whole monstrosity of a post started with a question about dabbing the left foot on the remount, and this is killer for getting rid of a stutter-step.
Dabbing/stutter-stepping is all due to a lack of commitment.
If you’re doing this, it’s because you aren’t committed enough to driving off your left foot/leg as you remount. The simple key to resolving this problem is to focus on the drive off of your left foot.
This simple drill will force you to do that, and – bonus – it’s essentially impossible to do with a stutter.
—- even more?——
- Uphill Quicksand –
Same drill, up hill.
- Find a shallow, grassy hill and do the one-step remount on it. Talk about commitment…
—- still not enough?—-
- The On/Off –
- Begin from a standing start, exactly as above.
Take one step, then mount the bike.
Take one pedal stroke, then dismount.
One step, then remount.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Start this at a walking pace, and go really, really damn slowly until you have it wired. Gradually increase speed until you start to mess up, then back it on down and do it perfectly again.
—-Not hard enough?—-
– The No-Pedal, Non-Stop On/Off –
Yeah, you’re going to start this the same as all the others, we’re working on a theme, here, OK? Give me a break…
- Remount the bike just like you’ve been doing in all of these drills.
- As soon as your ass hits the saddle, dismount.
- As soon as your feet hit the ground, remount.
No pedaling, you don’t even touch the pedal with your right leg (literally.) You’re essentially gliding on and off the seat. This is easier to show than to describe, but it goes something like…
- Big step with left leg, drive off left leg as right swings over saddle.
- Left foot hits pedal, and…
- Right leg immediately swings back over saddle, left unclips…
- drop to the ground, big step with left leg…
Repeat. Repeat. Etc.
Enough already, right?!?
I hope you’ve found this helpful. Please drop me a line with the inevitable questions…
Here’s a bonus.
When I first started teaching Cross skills, years and years ago, there were two races I watched over and over again to glean technique from.
This one -
And this one -
Even better, someone’s done what I did with the VCR all those years ago, and slo-moed all the dismounts/remounts from the ’96 race -
Just. Freaking. Awesome. Stuff.
Watch how these guys get it done, and then go and nail it yourself.
Have fun and G’night!