‘Cross diary 11: I do a skills audit

May 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Posted in cycling | Leave a comment
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Well. One thing about this rotten weather we’ve been having: it’s perfect for ‘cross. After a false start where I somehow managed to put my trainers on and go running instead, and another where I cycled straight past the park and went for a road ride (avid readers will realise just what this means about the scale of The Fear, that I’d go on a road ride as a displacement activity), not to mention being called a big Jessie by several people on Twitter, I FINALLY got myself and my bike out of the house and down to the park.

Todmorden Park 3

Of course, as soon as I was tearing across the soggy grass in the rain, breaking my legs up those stiff little climbs and getting sprayed with mud again, I couldn’t understand why I’d stayed away. At the end I swung my leg over the saddle a couple of times and was astonished to find I could still jump off. Maybe it really is like riding a bike.

The next time, I found a flat bit of grass and nervously tried remounting again. Now, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that ‘remounting’ and ‘nervously’ don’t go too well together. But still. I managed to get back on while going along a couple of times, even if I was double dabbing (@crossjunkie is shaking his head, sadly). It’s got to be faster than stopping. The tyre tracks and mud ruts from Wednesday’s TodCross were still there, so I charged round after them, jumping on and off randomly. I didn’t fall off! And I only got my shorts caught on the back of the saddle once! Delighted, I practised cornering, riding round and round the war memorial. I toiled up the big hill at the back a couple of times, spitting expletives and scaring wagtails. At the hairpin turn onto the Infamous Cobbled Climb™, I got off. I could barely run up it, pushing the bike, my cleats skittering on the setts. Beyond belief.


So. Work to do; but progress, too. I decided to do a CX skills audit:

Dismount: Not too bad

Remount: Almost functional

Riding on different surfaces

  • Grass: Fine
  • Mud: OK-ish
  • Gravel: Hmm
  • Sand: No opportunity to practise, so no doubt hopeless
  • Cobbles: Ha ha ha!

Going up steep banks: Not very good

Going down steep banks: Ditto


  • To the right: OK
  • To the left: Hopeless

Combinations of any of the above: Forget it

Braking with hands on hoods: You may laugh, but I couldn’t do this last year. Extremely proud that I can do it now

Shouldering bike: Very good (Really. I know. I’m as surprised as anyone.)

Bike wash: Even @spandelles approves, so must be doing something right

There’s a race coming up: 6 June, in Huddersfield. Come along, if you’re around, and heckle me. DOUBLE DAB! AMATEUR!

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