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Before I go out and break myself or bike trying it, does anyone have any advise on the proper way to jump a cross bike? I’m not talking about bunny-hopping barriers, but catching air on a big bump on a slope with a good transition for landing. My biggest concern is hand placement (hoods or drops?), the rest I think I’ve got down from mountain biking.

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Years ago I thought I had it down, getting comfortable catching air while in the drops. But then one day...I snapped the down tube on my beloved Merckx. Several months later I dislocated my shoulder. Now that middle-age discretion kicks in more frequently, I try and keep the rubber closer to terra firma.
if i told you how I do it, you would end up shattering a carbon rim landing on the lip of a walking path going into a sandpit.
hoods work ok, tops are best. be careful though. so far this season I have snapped a carbon handlebar directly in half inside the stem clamp area (oops) and knocked all my stem bolts loose. I need to remember that just because its dirt track its not my bmx bike.
If I'm not jumping to get over a barrier, just small jumps over a small berm, curb, roots or downed tree limbs, I prefer to jump from the drops.

Just experiment hopping from the drops, hoods and the tops. See what works best for you.

...make sure to post your crash photos too.
Stay off the hoods, especially if you have carbon bars. The levers can slip somewhat easily even if you have them torqued properly. Landing on the hoods and having a lever slip is not fun.

For what you describe, it would be best to be in the drops because of the speed. Stay on the tops to bunny hop barriers, but the drops for any sort of "jumping".
here is a little vid from our race this weekend of the A guys getting some air (not much though:)

http://cowbell.cxmagazine.com/video/ditch-jump-at-kisscross-5
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