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Cyclocross For Triathletes | Why Triathlon Can Learn From Cyclocross

Cyclocross For Triathletes | Why Triathlon Can Learn From Cyclocross


– The race season is over so it’s a perfect time
to have a bit of fun and learn some new skills, and what better way to do
that than with cyclocross. Well a cyclocross race might
be a little bit daunting but there is still a lot that we can gain for our road riding skills for triathlon with a few cyclocross specific exercises, and I’m delighted to say that today I am being spoiled because
Jeremy Powers from GCN is going to to be joining us. He is four times US National
cyclocross champion, and he’s going to be
sharing a few of his tips that will cross over to help us become better
cyclists for triathlon. (upbeat music) Whilst I’m waiting for Jeremy, I thought I better get ready, and you’re probably wondering what I’m doing with a road bike. Well, this is the great
thing about these skills. You can actually practice them on whatever bike you have. I just made a few alterations. I know Jeremy’s going to hate this, the fact that I’m on a road bike, and the fact that my poor Kenyan air road has actually got flat pedals on and I’m wearing trainers. So this is just so I
can practice my mounting and my dismounting. And I might even need to lower my saddle a little bit for that, but it just proves that we can learn these skills without needing
any specialist equipment. (beep) – (laughs) It’s so ridiculous. Why can I not, I don’t want you filming it. Just trying to get a little bit of practice in because
Jeremy’s not here yet and I don’t think he quite realizes what he’s dealing with. So, I’m trying to remember how to get off my bike. Don’t tell anyone. Okay I think I’ve got that. (sighs) Maybe I can get
away without showing him. (upbeat techno music) Cool I think he’s on his way, hey! – (laughs) hey! – You found us.
– How’s it Going? – Good.
– Nice to see you. Yeah we do the hand shakes.
– Okay – On that side of the ocean. – Well awesome, thanks for joining us Jeremy, and don’t laugh yes I am on a Aeroad bike and I’ve got trainers but I’m glad to see you’ve come prepared. – Yeah we’re prepared, we’re going to we’re going to get you in the zone we’re going to get you doing
some good cyclocross stuff. – Awesome, well I think we are going to start with mounting and dismounting ’cause obviously, in triathlon we need to get on our bikes in T1 and off our bikes in T2. It is only twice in the race, but I know you guys do it a lot more often but if you could give us some tips on that and get me started that
would be brilliant. – It would be of my pleasure. (upbeat music) – Right, Jeremy we’re going
to practice getting on and off and I gathered getting off is easier than on So can you start with the very basic tips of how to get off our bikes smoothly. – Yeah very simply, in cyclocross we always think about being in best gear for the next obstacle that we’re going to come in to. So, that may or may not
be really really important for our traveling, but as you come in, hands on the shifters, and then you want to make sure that you just take your put foot around the back of the saddle, and then you’ve got
three points of contact and that is the left
hand on the left shifter, the right hand about three quarters of the way back from the top tube, and then I like to put my kind of my hip bone right on the saddle so that I’m in a nice stable position so that I’m and that for cyclocross that means that I’m able to be able to get the
bike right away from me as I get off. But I think for you, it would be really good to just have that, that stability and being, coming into something, and then being able to get off and run with the bike. – Perfect okay, that looks
– you going to try getting off? – I will try getting off. I have to excuse my slow
getting on first (laughs). Okay so, hands together, leg comes over the back, and then just scoot from there
– now right hand on the top tube – Okay. I think we’ve got that one. (upbeat music) – So obviously you guys in cyclocross are getting on and off all the time. We’ve just got to get on the once and we’re on a smooth surface, so we don’t have to worry
about mud and things. But what can you teach us when it comes to mounting our bikes easily? – Yeah, so momentum is the thing that we talk about all the time in cyclocross, and you don’t want to lose it right? You want to continue to carry, you want to get off, get
the bike away from you, run with it really
fastly, put it back down, and then keep going forward with that forward momentum. So one thing that we always
do before we remount, is give a little count in your head . One, two, three, because the last thing you want to do is run so fast and have
the bike be bouncing or doing something like that. You want to make sure that
when you hop on the bike, that you hit the inside of your hamstring. You don’t want to hit your groin, that’s not fun for anyone (laughs). So I think definitely hitting that inside of your leg, and then knowing kind of where your, where your petal is by giving just a quick glance down, but then picking your head right back up, because you never want to be looking down when you’re trying to remount. – You make that look so easy. So let’s imagine your
teaching a triathlete, such as myself, who doesn’t find that quite so easy, are there any points to break it down how do we start to, – Yeah – learn the actual flying mount as we call it. – Okay so, very simply, you can simply just take your hand from here, ’cause that’s were it would be, put your hand on your right shifter, and then just literally just walk your leg up. And get comfortable hitting here and you may have a little
bit of a black and blue mark, it’ll be a little sore the
next day from trying this and practicing this, but really just doing this motion, of kind of opening up your hips, and then being able to being able to get on
top of the saddle there and hitting that. Then you find your pedal, and you kind of slide over. – Just looks so easy (both laugh) okay, I mean I don’t know
how long we’ve got today, I’ll give it a go, but if not we’ll just go with the demo from the expert. Right, so I’m just, literally walk along and – Yeah! – I was set to put my
wrong pedal down. (laughs) – Yeah that’s right though. – (inaudible) okay from here, – Hands on top tube but
you remember momentum. – (beep) We’ll do like a
little conga line here. Okay so we’re walking with the bike, we’ve got out hand here, hand to the hoods, now we just simply step on and push with out left foot when we go up. Push, there you go, yep. And you’re in too big of a gear, so put it up into a nice, easy gear, and then it will make the transition back on a little smoother. Okay one more time, ready? Yep just walking and then right in the inside of the leg, keep walking, walk more,
yep, walk, walk, walk. Now step onto it with the hamstring. Push off, keep going, yes! – (cheers) yeah! – (upbeat music) – Alright, one thing as
triathics we don’t have in common with you guys, is we like to have our space. Especially in (inaudible) triathlon, we’re used to having our box, and if anyone come within our 12 meter box it can get a little bit nerve racking. So if you want to go out a ride in the winter and ride with other people, you obviously need to start getting used to riding closer together. What tips, Jeremy, have you got for, obviously it’s cyclocross, you guys are touching all the time, for tips for us triathletes to get better at riding close together? – You just have to do it with other people. You have to be, you have to get out there
and do some group rides, even if they’re really slow, just get comfortable with
people being around you. But we also do one drill that I think will be really
helpful for you guys, and if you’re willing, I’d like to show it to you. – Well I guess I have to be willing. You’ve made the effort to come and join us, so I’m willing. – Alright well then let’s do this. Alright so Heather, so this is what we like to do. Is just kind of stat to
do a little circle here. And then ride close to me, and I’ll ride close to you, and sometimes you just yeah you just get comfortable
being next to Someone, and you’re only going
like two miles per hour. So, lean towards me a little bit. – Okay.
– Yeah you can actually, yeah so you actually bump a little bit – I feel like this is some kind of, you know like survival
of the strongest (laughs) – No it’s really gentle. But the thing is, if you fall over on the grass, going two miles per hour, there’s a very low level of, a very low chance of getting injured or something like that. So this is a quick little drill that you could do with a good friend, or a mate, as you say here in the UK. (Heather laughing) And
get some good skills down. – Okay yeah I’m feeling, I’m definitely getting used to this close proximity, this is unusual for triathlon, (Jeremy laughing) for sure. But I think this is a great tip. – Okay well welcome to cyclocross. – Thanks. (beep) – [Jeremy] I think it’ll
be good for your video. – You’re going to push me over! – No no, fall over here right? You’re just touching a little bit. (laughs) So yeah, so you just do this. (upbeat music) – Obviously you guys have
tremendous bike handling skills, as cross riders. In triathlon, we don’t tend to work that much on it, because we’re normally
on smooth (inaudible), but we occasionally hit patches of water, or gravel, or you might even want to go do an Exeter. So what tips can you give us to improve our handling skills, rather than just slamming on your breaks when you see something that’s that’s a little underwater. – Yeah so, you know I think in
triathlon it’s very important to be compact and to
be in one little spot, and to be as arrow dynamic as possible. But in cyclocross, that kind of throw that out the window. Although arrow dynamic’s
probably slightly important, not at all in compared
to what you guys do. So the thing that we like to do, is we like to try to get
a low center of gravity, as much as possible. Sometimes that means being in your drops, and if not being on your hood’s, but being as wide and kind
of as low as possible, and being able to kind of
move around on the bike. So where does that come into place? Well the last thing that
you want to be doing is, being all in one place, if you think about, like being on a a thin piece of ice, well that, then we’d go straight through. But if you’re nice and wide, well that’s what they tell you to do if you’re on thin ice, get nice and wide. Because that gives you more dex, it allows you to move your body weight around, and be able to kind of shift. So, get your weight back. One tip, push the bike out in front of you, and then get your arms out wide and kind of get a nice wide stance and the other thing, use the rear break. Using too much front break, in cyclocross, sometimes
mean you go over the bars. So if you’re coming into
an obstacle like this, like a muddy section or a big puddle, the thing that you don’t want to be doing is being really tight
and narrow like this. You want to get your weight back, you want to push the
bike out in front of you, you want to get your arms out, you want to be in a nice
aggressive position, with a low center of gravity, and then the lat thing you want to do is you want to pick your
head up and look up. You don’t want to be
looking right down there because, your bike will track where your eyes are and
having your head up, points you in the right direction. And that’s going to bring us to cornering which is coming up next. (upbeat music) – Well a certain aspect of bike handling is obviously cornering
which you just alluded to at the end there Jeremy, and obviously it’s
important whether you’re on road, or off road. What’s key drills and
pointers have you got when it comes to being
able to corner well. – Yeah I like to make sure, again that I’ve got my head up, that I’m looking through a turn. Anything that I’m going into, I don’t want to be looking down there, I want to have my head up, I want to be looking at
where I’m going to be going. The other thing, is that
aggressive stance position. I want to make sure that I’m low, low center of gravity, and then I want to use my knee and I want to make sure
that I’m leaning the bike. I never want to turn the front tire, that’s how you lose that that contact patch with the ground, is if you turn. You want to make sure that you learn how to lean with the bike, and kind of use your body weight to, I guess counter steer a little bit, like you’re just kind of pushing the bike and you’re like this and
you’re going away here. So, we also like to say that we used the entire corse meaning, you start from the furthest end, and then you make a long arch though, you never want to be doing a sharp turn. Especially in cyclocross, because that’s how you lose traction and you end up on the ground. – Great, okay well I think
you can go and show us. I mean I’ve had a little
go before you arrived of going around some cones, but I think you can do
it better job at demoing. (upbeat music) – So this is our turn. All the things that we talked about. Making sure that you get your weight back, making sure that you get in a nice low, low stance, aggressive position, and then when I look at this turn, the thing that I think about, is you don’t want to come into a turn and then be all on the
breaks right here in the center make a big
turn with your front tire and then have to sprint out. What you really want to do is make sure that you come in as far as you can, lean that bike, and make a nice long corner. We say tape to tape in cyclocross, meaning your on one side of the tape, and then you come out on the other side of the tape and it’s
the furthest two points that you want to use, because that’s going to
have the freshest grass. So what you actually want to do, is use the entire corse. Instead of having to scrub speed, on this type of turn you’re able to just lean the bike a little bit, but use the entire corse. Verses going straight to
the inside of the pin, having to scrub a ton of speed, and then sprint out of it, it’s a lot safer, keeps the tires on the ground, and it’ll give you a much better, flow and momentum to be able to keep your speed through a turn. So hopefully you guys
learned some skills here and we’ll see you at the
cross races coming up, because, well this is a nice time of the year for you guys. – It is, exactly. It’s a great
time to practice new skills, which I think I’ve learned a few today, and work on that fitness. So what’s not to like. Well give us a thumbs up, like if you’ve enjoyed it and had as much fun as I have today. Hit the globe to subscribe, and if you want to get
more confident on the bike, well we’ve got a GTN video for you on that just down here. – And if you want to get a little bit more into cyclocross then check out some of our how-to videos from GCN, you can check those out right here.

17 comments on “Cyclocross For Triathletes | Why Triathlon Can Learn From Cyclocross

  1. I think triathlon bikes usually have a higher saddle than CX ones, and many times there are bottles on the back of the saddle, that makes it more difficult to swing the leg over.

  2. Ha, I rode one race in the Wessex CX league, crashed on gravel breaking my rear mech and making a large hole in my knee and decided to stick to tri… Don’t really think the two mix well!

  3. Mounting and dismounting was no problem when I first did cx. All of that transition practice had made it natural. It is a very transferable skill

  4. I've been racing cross for the last 4 winters and loved it, the most fun I've had on a bike. It's been a steep (literally at times) learning curve, and the bike handling skills I've learned have been a great help for triathlon. Shorter more intense cross specific training sessions during the winter are a bonus and have transferred well to summer triathlons. The cross scene is very friendly and welcoming for newcomers, what can I say… give it a go!

  5. Next, I want to see Jpowers doing some triathlon ;-). Cyclocross involves quite bit of running, but what's about swimming ?

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