Thursday night CX skills @ McLennan Park

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by October 12, 2017 at 12:02 pm.

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    Kevin Gibson

    Thursday night CX skills sessions are starting this week, August 31st at 6 PM. We’ll meet at McLennan Park, where we’ll have a mini course set up. We’ll do sprint drills, practice mounting and dismounting, and do some “Heartbreaker laps” of the park.

    If you’re new to ‘cross, or maybe doing the Kelso race series for the first time, Thursday nights are great to learn some fundamentals and to practice. (Practice makes perfect – it was probably two seasons of ‘cross before I finally stopped stutter-stepping on my remount.)

    More details here:

    This is an official WCC ride, you need to be a member to praticipate.



    The overview suggests that youth are welcome to this ride. Would it be appropriate for my 12 year old son on his mountain bike to join us (he is a member)?


    Kevin Gibson

    Absolutely. We’ll have a mini-course set up in the school’s yard, which should be lots of fun. We’ll do some sprint drills, and big laps of the park, which may be a bit much, but we always congregate and hang out in between activities in the yard, around the mini-course.


    First Thursday night crew.




    I struggled at Kelso this week to rail the corners and carry speed through the fast, tight, slowly deteriorating, downhill turns. Do you set up early and cut the apex? Do you stay steady and take a long easy arc around the outside?

    I don’t know if there is any sage advice or a specific drill or video demonstration that helps learn this? MTBr’s certainly appear to have the advantage over roadies.

    Scrub speed before turning, weight the outside foot, lean the bike over, balance, hold the line, and Bobs-You’re-Uncle. Not so easy! There is still a lot of dabbing, and drifting and braking and hitting tape.

    It’s amazing to watch Erik box, or frankly anyone is EXPERT just sweep through a series of tight corners without even touching the brakes, while “some of us” are clutching and grabbing and wiping out like it’s amateur hour.

    It could be that fast cornering is straight-up confidence. Which comes with practice…and washing out enough times to know where is the line?

    Any advice, or better yet, new type of drills or corners to practice washing out, to push and find the limits of your ability and equipment at speed, perhaps on the steep side of Mount Trashmore? Advice on weighting would be helpful.

    The Swim coach at UW uses an underwater GoPro to show us how poorly our technique is compared to the Varsity swimmers. The camera adds 10lbs I swear!!! But it does help to see where you are going wrong in your body position. Could set something like that up and upload it to a Google drive for participants to analyze later? Just brainstorming new ideas.


    Mark Buckaway

    Some years ago, when I got the first cross bike, I did Cross training at Hardwood with Mike ???? (forget his last name), Canadian Cross Champion. He suggested he got to be champion because of practice…and a lot of practice on his own, making mistakes, and trying to correct them, over and over again.

    Apparently, he would spend hours in the Hardwood parking lot trying to test the limits of his bike, practicing daily. It was fun watching the guy run barriers….35km/h into the barriers, discount, hop/skip, remount, and not a bit of speed lost.

    To some degree a lot of these skills are a matter of how well one can manage fear. I expect the best riders (or anyone in sport for that matter), are the ones that put fear aside, and go for it. I can recall Ed Veal showing up to the FCV booth at the bike show some years ago where the minivelodrome was setup. He looked at me, asked if he’d kill himself riding it, jump on the bike, and tore around the mini-track – it to me forever to get the confidence to ride it.

    In my case, the cross bike was more of a winter commuter, and never took it seriously, so I never developed the skill. Gravel grinding seems to have changed that.



    Kevin Gibson

    This week I’m going to move us. There’s a nice ridgeline south of the baseball diamond. I’m going to see if I can set up some turns on the slope. I’d love to set up some fast corners for “foot out” practice. And maybe a “run vs ride” corner where we can see if running or riding is indeed faster.

    I’ll probably try and set up a mini course around there too, the grass in the usual spot is getting a little worn-in.



    Kevin Gibson

    Feedback from last week was pretty positive, so I’ll try to do the setup there again. Apparently, We Need More Cowbell this weekend has a maze/spiral planned for the course. I’ll see if I can wrap my head around building one in the field tonight. I’ll set up some off-camber turns like last week, and maybe do a few sets of cones to do cornering practice.


    Kevin Gibson

    Well, the sunset isn’t our friend, but we’ll keep going for at least a few more weeks. With Hardwood coming up this weekend, I’m going to see if we can get ourselves to the beach volleyball courts for some sand practice. The last two years, Hardwood ‘cross had a sand pit with two 180 degree turns that generally forced a dismount and run, so we can work on those skills.

    I’ll bring a little less equipment so the setup is quicker. Feel free to come earlier, we can always do heartbreaker laps while waiting for everyone to come out.


    Kevin Gibson

    We’re down to sunset at 6:43 tonight, with dusk until 7:12. Short time, plus me without a car tonight means I’ll probably just bring a backpack with some cones and the small flags.

    Maybe I’ll use the flags to mark out the sprint practice course 180 again, and even do a proper start width, so we’re not all lined up -like 15 riders wide- at the start.

    Anyone know of a park that’s lit up? I’m thinking somewhere with baseball or soccer fields lit up, with enough space and light around the perimeter for our use.

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