I’m no complete rookie to the world of cyclocross. My dad got me interested in cyclocross with cool stories that usually ended up with someone either getting really drunk (check my profile for the quick Browne family history) or dying because of a crash, or both. During the cx season I’ll hit several races, and about eight years ago I even put on a cyclocross series. Anyways ‘cross’ seemed like a fun thing to do, so when the opportunity to do these races came up I had to do it! And when Cannondale offered me a private training camp with Tim Johnson, hell yeah I’ll go!
We were going to be riding and racing their cyclocross bike and getting tips from the man himself at the park that we’d be racing at this weekend. I am apparently registered in the Master’s A category because according to Curt Davis, engineering guy at Cannondale, I’m a classy guy. I think he just wants the California guy to suffer! But the cherry on top to this day was only myself and Steve from pezcycling.com were getting this VIP treatment. Cannondale had rolled out an R.V. and their demo bike truck for us. Easy-Ups were erected and before you knew it, it looked like a pro team had rolled into the parking lot. After a great lunch, provided by Atomic Café, we went out for a quick spin to warm up. We cruised through some exclusive neighborhoods as well as taking in some of the local favor, like Dunkin’ Donuts and the bar that is featured in the movie, The Perfect Storm.
Practicing barrier jumping under the watchful eye of Tim Johnson
First lesson of the day was jumping over barriers. These barriers were higher than the ones I’d hopped over at Star Crossed, so I was a bit concerned. But with a little hand holding from Tim, I was able to master leaping over the barriers. I just need to remember not to grab my saddle and keep both hands on the bar. Oh, and take an extra step before remounting. After that it was time to practice high speed turns going downhill as well as on the flats. As a roadie we like to keep our weight to the back of the bike. Tim told us to move our weight forward and use the back of the bike almost as a rudder. For the turning we had to practice, that tip worked really well. With my weight forward, I was able to take a sandy corner at a faster speed than I previously thought was prudent. Finally, we did a few practice starts, because that is where you can gain those extra seconds and advance a few places in the mad dash to the first barrier.
Weight forward when turning
Tomorrow we will be riding and practicing on the actual course and I’ll interview Tim as well.
How to correctly jump a barrier