Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So You Think You Can Cyclocross (SYTYCC)

There's this sport called cyclocross. Heard of it?  No?  Lemme essplain.  Cyclocross is a cycling activity whereby athletes of considerable coordination ride a roadish-type bike with beefy tires through a muck 'n mire obstacle course.  Muck 'n mire is anything from grass, to mud or dirt, concrete, and even ballpits.  A cyclocross course is a loop of varying lengths and features that is ridden again-and-again by race participants for a designated length of time.  Like, say, 50 minutes (plus some laps.)  Basically, the Bloke (er Sheila) with the most laps in the designated time wins.

Last Friday, SkiBikeJunkie produced a tweet about racing the Clammy Cross that evening.  Me, being schooled in clams, and all things clammy, knew right away that this Clammy Cross was a half-mile from my house.

(As an aside, don't you hafta be careful with clam jokes?  Sure do.  And fer reals I've been clam digging.  It's a gas.)

Junkie informed us that the race started at 9:30pm.  Spouse, Yahoos, and I decided to show up and watch.  And watch we did.  I've watched a cyclocross race before, but I don't remember paying attention to the dismount performance that precedes the obstacles.

This time, at the Clammy Cross, I paid attention to the dismounts.  Mostly because one of the obstacles was a 12-foot pile of asphalt.  (Holy barrier Batman!)  I watched 'em dismount and carry their bikes up that 12-foot pile of asphalt for a bit, then wandered over to some of the other obstacles to watch more dismounting.

(We also met Mr. StupidBike in person.  That was super, duper, fun.  Or like he said: awkward.)

I've used two words in this post that I'd like to draw attention to at this time.  They are: performance and coordination.  (Italics added for emphasis.)  Cyclocross is a coordination performance.  (More italics added for emphasis.) Only the coordinated can participate, only those with acute eye-foot-cleat symbiosis can play, only those who have mastered the unclip-sissor combo can transact.  Hell, you might as well throw in some jazz hands with a cross-body chassé and a samba.

Where do these guys come from?!  The whole pack was doing some fancy stuff.

During this bedazling display of finesse, it dawned on me that the cyclocross world must be full of washed-up ballroom dancers.  Oh the coordination!  The hip motion! The footwork!  The backleading!  The body (bike) support! The center point of balance!  The heel turns!  The lead stealing! (Also called hijacking in the ballroom world, but, like hijack has nothing but negative energy these days.  Stealing on the other hand has some positive energy.  Grin.)

Cyclocross is coordination. (And some other random, unrelated stuff like endurance, and strength, and lactic threshold, and high VO2 max.)  Remember how I said I'm schooled in all things clam?  Well, I'm not schooled in any things ballroom dance or any things that requires coordination.  Walk and chew gum?  Nada.  Walk.  Then chew the gum.  It is in my best interest to stay out of the cyclocross world.

However.  How... ever... it would be quite entertaining to teach a nut-job clod (er clam) like myself to ride cross.  Then it hit me.  My million dollar idea. We should do a reality show where you take a nobody who cannot cyclocross and turn them into cyclocrossers.  Just like that one ballroom dance show.

We'd call it So You Think You Can Cyclocross.

What'ya think?  A winner?  Below, please find some youtube video I found that demonstrates a proper (I guess it's proper; says so in the title) dismount and remount.  Enjoy.  You can get the gist in only a minute.

P.S.  Dearest cyclocross crowd, please don't hate me for comparing your beloved sport to ballroom dance.  It's meant to be a compliment.  Of sorts.


Jenn said...

My collar bone fractured just from watching the video. Not, "no," but, "H*LL no!"

Ski Bike Junkie said...

Rabid, let's start with you. I think you could be on the podium of a cyclocross race by this time next year. I even know someone who has a cyclocross bike the right size that you're welcome to race on.

rabidrunner said...

Jenn, I totally share that sentiment. It's fun to watch though.

Junkie, you bet I'd be on the podium! 'Cause I'd be one of the only three to show up. Wait... you might be on to something. All I'd have to do is finish...

Jessica said...

I'd pay good money to watch this show.

Blackdog said...


I promise to let you know when I decide to race Cross. Seeing me run the barriers will clear the thought of ballroom dancing from your memory. Honestly I think I may just ride my bike through the barriers.

megan said...

The wealth of information I am exposed to on this site is breathtaking.
I'm going to have to do more investigation on this...
Those seats looked awfully small...