Wednesday was our monthly ALP athlete ride and it was all about cyclocross (CX).  In last week's Blog Post Friday, ALP Coach Alison Powers, wrote about how 50% of CX racing success (or lack thereof) is solid bike handling skills. We put that to practice, broke down individual skills, and worked on several important CX specific drills.

- body position- how you sit, stand, and your posture on the bike can really help or hinder your ability to handle the bike. We practiced our 'attack position' by riding over an 8 inch box over and over again. 

- barriers, run-ups, dismounts/mounts- when you are forced to get off your bike, maintaining speed and minimizing energy expenditures are very important. We practiced that by making sure everyone had smooth dismounts, mounts and shouldering techniques. Then we forced the pace by riding two by two at speed into the barriers. 

- vision- not only do you want to look ahead, but you want to focus on specific things when looking ahead. This is very beneficial in corners, sand, and a pack of riders. We did an 8 cone drill forcing the rider to always look 2 cones ahead. 

- cornering- putting both body position and vision together to create smooth confident (and fast) cornering. 

- sand- light hands, weight in your feet, and focusing on where you want to go pay off big time when riding in the sand. Gear choice also matters- not too hard of a gear and not too easy of a gear. We had a short corse in a sand pit practicing looking ahead, riding through and around cones, and riding in a group. 

This 90min session was very beneficial (and fun). I encourage everyone to work on their CX specific bike handling drills once a week. A smooth confident rider is also a fast racer.