Aug 20, 2008

mantras and mojo

last nights' training agenda included dismounts, more sand, more tight cornering and for the big finale; shouldering the bike (you hop off your bike and in one lovely fluid motion, place it on your shoulder, so you can run up a set of stairs, a muddy hill, or a yard sale of riders that may have gone down right in front of you). only my motion wasn't so fluid or lovely. and after my first run up the hill while shouldering my bike, one of the team coaches took a moment to explain 'don't do what she did'. what i had done was create a major traffic jam in my pathetic attempt to get bike off my shoulder and remount in one lovely fluid motion.

i didn't have the dismount/remount mojo last night and i was getting pretty frustrated. i was on a too-big-for-me borrowed bike (again). but at least i am moving in the right direction as the borrowed bike was a cross bike and not a tank of a mountain bike. now, while i may not have had the dismount mojo going for me, i had another kind: the passing of people on the cross course mojo. i actually passed people. and people, i am telling you this is unprecedented. especially when i tell you the circumstances under which the passing occurred.

i passed people in a turn. a tight turn that they took too wide (which is my usual m.o.) and i went on the inside and passed them and was over the moon and then i passed more people every now and then going into the sand pit. don't slow down at the sand pit people, just pedal pedal pedal. well, actually - if you are a woman in a race with me - go ahead and slow down at the sand pit, cause now i know i can pass you.

i'm totally digging the team cross practices. there is coaching at every corner. literally. coaches stand at every corner of the crazy tight ziggyzag thing they have us doing through trees and sand and yell: don't touch the brakes! get in the drops! next time do it faster! don't touch the brakes! higher gear through the sand! and if we really suck, they'll call us over for a little chit chat. i got two chit chats. one was bigger gear in the sand. the other was actually to get off the drops in the turns, cause the bike was too big and i was fighting with it.

most of the things they yell jive with the mantras i am saying over and over in my head: lean the bike, keep body upright / pedal pedal pedal / dont touch the brakes dont touch the brakes dont touch the brakes / look where you want to go look where you want to go / get off the brakes! get off the brakes! / dont stop pedaling dont stop pedaling / pick a groove and pedal pedal pedal.

the cool part is its' not even just the 'official' coaches who help out. we started our first warm up lap and instead of my usual, comfortable spot dead last in line, i was towards the front - and was so worried that in mere moments the entire team behind me would just blow by & leave me in the dust (literally - i could not believe the dust that was flying around) that i said outloud to the new teammate behind me: team passes me in 3, 2, 1 ... (really, a very defeatist attitude). he says, "get on his wheel". i swear, it didn't even occur to me. i think getting on someones' wheel is only something you do on the road; but sure enough - i got on the guys' wheel and was able to stay with the pack (a bit) longer. i still totally eat this team stuff up. i love that everyone offers up advice and tips on how to go about everything in this strange new world.

the other mantra i found myself chanting was i can't wait for my cross bike i can't wait for my cross bike. cause i'm pretty sure that being on my own bike is going to make for some very good mojo.


ItchyBits said...

That is the CX practice that I want - I need coaches. You are so lucky. I am green with jealousy.

~ lauren said...

yeah, that sounds like a pretty good clinic! you're totally going to be set once the season gets going.

when's your season start out there? when's the first race?

the other thing that helps me a lot is to watch videos of the pros doing it.

gives you an idea of what works best for dismounts, barriers, run ups, shouldering and stuff.

Anonymous said...

Woohoo, awesome job on the passing!

By the way, you unknowingly saved my ass and the asses of my riding buddies the other week. We were on one of our Wednesday night Gap rides and we crossed an intersection and rode right into a bunch of sand!

There was nowhere to turn to avoid it and it was too late to stop, so we rode into it. People were freaking out but I had JUST read one of your CX training posts and I blurted out, "Don't stop pedaling! Don't stop pedaling!" and everyone kept pedaling and we all made it through without crashing.

So, thank you!!! :)

Stuart said...

Great job, I am looking forward to you first CX race report!

zanne said...

bettybetty: i know, its really awesome that the team has these skills & drills practices - but even if they didn't, my husband raced cross last year & i get a lot of help from him too. so yes, am way lucky. - i thought of you when i read your post about shitty cx to be the only girl and the only beginner. it's getting really big here & we've got quite a few beginners giving it a try - it evens the playing field a bit at practice. and the experienced racers hand out tips like candy - so its all really nice.

lauren: the first race is september 14th - last is december 7(at least that's just the OVCX series - ohio valley) - i think it goes longer, but those races are much further away.

i have heard from others that the cx videos on youtube are a great thing to watch too ... just haven't done it yet! i really need to check some out!

vegan: anything i can do to help ensure that the rubber side stays down ... i'm here to serve. :-) i was laughing when i read your comment - so nice to know i actually provided something worthwhile!

slb: thanks! first cx race report should be soon after september 14th!

Gotta Run..... said...

You are in such a great zone. Hardcore all the way!!! Amazing. Your post even get me excited :)