I have a certain amount of trepidation about learning to mount/dismount my bike. This is one area that is quite different from the other disciplines of cycling used in 'cross. What steps did you take (or planning on taking) to learn this new skill?
My plan is to go to my local park and try everything at slow speeds. Here are a few videos I've found that make it look easy:
Yeah I learned if the tables are wet that its not a good idea to try it.......I woke up a few minutes after my first attempt. I was 16.... brain not fully developed...didn't quite think it all thru....I heard bells for weeks.
That being said....if the tables are dry it does work well for developing skills.
I went out to a park in a secluded spot to avoid onlookers, start slowly. I lowered my seat at first to make it seem less dangerous. I started by jumping extra high. Do it over and over until you get the hang of it. I would say it took 30-45 minutes of dedicated practice to get it every time at speed. The inside of my thigh hurt like hell the next day. It seemed impossible when I started. Now it's just second nature. I don't think you need a pro to teach you. It's not hard, it's just a leap of faith.
i just try to do multiple repeats of the drill. My problem is that I can not convince myself to get off on the non drive side of the bike. Something in my brain and years of locking my bike with the rear der. out have caused me to get off my bike on the drive side all the time. I am trying to unlearn it, but it is tough.
Dismounts seem scary right now, but I'm sure I'll get over it soon. It may be because I'm still just getting used to riding clipless.
I've read about pre-uncliping the left foot, as well as unclipping at the last second. Both seem to have advantages as well as disadvantages. It seems as if the more popular technique is to unclip the left foot at the last second. Any tips with this? I had a few close calls when not being able to unclip at the last second.
it's a personal decision. I stay clipped in. I think pedals play a role in this though. If you have egg beaters, there's less of a platform to stand on if you're unclipped, and with our super bumpy courses in norcal, I think that's a reason to stay clipped in. It only really matters for higher speed approaches - not the common hairpin then barrier sections you'll see.
I would say though, that when possible (straight run to the barrier or hill), swing your leg over early and just coast up to it on the side of the bike. Most mistakes happen because folks are so rushed to do everything at the last minute. Get comfortable coasting on the side of your bike, and then the rest of the dismount will be simple and relaxed.
Definitely try to attend one of the several clinics in the bay area (one is this weekend. Learning this stuff by yourself is always slower. Cycle-Smart's DVD is pretty good too (as reviewed in our Issue 3). Good luck!