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cx technique - push or carry the bike on a run-up ?

The current National CX Champion Tim Johnson almost always pushes his bike on run-ups, Mark McCormack almost always carries it. Most racers will use both ways depending on the nature of the run-up section. See a variety of both techniques used by Elite Men and Elite Women on a short but extremely steep hill in 2004 CSI CX race in Northampton, MA:

What is your favorite way?


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Push the bike up the hill till it is level with my shoulder then shoulder it...

never lift bike higher than you need to. But barriers get suitcased, hills shouldered... in general...

if you watch that clip the guys who are shouldering have much better running strides, and more power on the run.

I'd wager that those who shoulder work on their run. Those who push don't.
probably a bit off base but that would seem to be the hidden logic behind the difference.
I think you need to practice both skills.

At Granogue last year Powers/Wicks were riding the steep run up section of the course. Timmy shouldered the bike and pretty much killed it. They may gained ground on the initial up, but at the top, he was back in the bike and attacking, the riders didn't have the same pep. Generally I would say ride what you can, but in this case, Timmy was the most effiecent shouldering. (Timmy ended up winning the race I believe).

Gewilli's assement is pretty on. I think folks find what works best for them, and in the heat of battle that's what comes naturally.

a few other variables that can help determine the best choice can be the type of surface. i find when it's thick, goopy mud, you're so much better off picking it up to avoid accumulating all that crap on your bike.

but yet, when it's supper greasy, slick mud that doesn't stick to the bike, i've pushed the bike if only because it helped me avoid falling on my face and looking even more foolish than normal.

interesting that timmy was the runner in that granogue race...he doesn't really even run during training for cx and has great handling skills so could have probably ridden the climb if he wanted.
I'll add that upon reflection, there are times when you want to ride, times when you want to run and times when you want to push...

practice them all and use which ever gets you to the top the fastest...

Timmie doesn't do any running for CX? Hmmm.

Hey andrew... there's your next PRO POLL column for the mag. Ask a lot of the top Pro's a specific question and compare answers:
"Do you run as part of your CX prep?"

(just an idea)
good idea gewilli about the poll.

regarding timmy, see Issue 2, page 26. it's in there but you gotta look hard with the small font.
...practice them all and use which ever gets you to the top the fastest...

Sometimes, getting to the top calls for using whatever means necessary:
Somehow, this clip was mentioned on one German forum. They have some interesting vintage (circa 1931) cx photos in this thread:
that's almost hard to watch!
as most of you have mentioned, it all depends on the terrain for me.

when i push my bike, i sort of lean on it (weird...i know) to take some of the weight off my legs and give them a little relief.

i actually think i run faster while pushing the bike vs. shouldering it. but that's me.
i should experiment 1 day...

there are 2 times when i definitely don't push my bike:
1) when it takes me any type of extra effort to push the bike on the terrain
- my rule of thumb is if i'm running with the bike at my side and the bike is falling behind me, it's time to pick it up
- instances where this would happen would be heavy/sticky mud, steep run-ups, sand, etc.
2) when i want to block folks from coming around me
- bottlenecked sections that are easily rideable, but someone dabbed and everyone is off their bike. instead of pushing, i carry my bike to prevent the hoards from sneaking around the sides.

for instance, there was 1 race where the barriers were spaced about 40 or so feet apart. it wasn't really worth hopping back on the bike (since it was off-camber and rutted) and the surface was hardpacked dirt. so, the 1st lap, i shouldered the bike since there was a bottleneck and i didn't want the over anxious folks behind me passing all over the place. every lap after that, I pushed the bike since there was no extra effort required to roll the bike on the dirt. then, if someone wanted to pass me since the race settled in, i'd give them plenty of room to get by.

da baggah
Personally, I like to toss my bike up the hill and then run up after it. I find it much easier to run without my bike. As a bonus, sometimes my bike will take out one or two of the guys I'm chasing, instantly improving my race position.
Uphill bike toss. Brilliant Vanwacx. Much better than the carry or the push which anybody can do. That's why you are ,er, der vunderkind Vanwacx.

Now you need to make the training video: grab the rear wheel, spin on your heels like a hammer throw and let it fly. That's why you take two bikes, right?

You can score the take-downs (like we do on our winter rides here in MI):

Strike: All of em go down. Sweet toss!

Spare: take down one or more

Split: got the one in the middle!

Gutter: damn, missed em all
Thanks for the Video.

Seems like steeper, more uneven terrain is faster to shoulder it. Several of our courses have had short, not so steep run ups after barriers and it was easier to let the bike carry itself, but I think once the angle goes up and/or the bike becomes harder to push (up a hill, through sand, over bumpy terrain) it makes a lot more sense to shoulder it.


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