Breadwinner Cycles: Hole Shot Cross Bike Aug 26, 2013

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I made a comment on Twitter this morning about “cross practice”. To me, bike control is inherently more important than learning mounting and dismounting techniques. If you’re new to cross, riding in the woods will teach you everything you need to know, from cornering, dismounting, run ups and bunnyhopping. Clinics are great and I fully support them but you’ll learn more eating shit on a trail than riding in a grass field.

You can learn other techniques as you go, but bike control is going to win you a race, not saving a fraction of a second on your dismount (especially if you’re a new rider / racer). Get out in the woods and get rad. Ride, have fun and eventually, you will be damn good at it and make it look easy! As exhibited here by Matt Hall on the new Breadwinner Cycles Hole Shot cyclocross bike.

Granted Matt Hall has been racing cross in Portland for over a decade… Check out more lovely detail shots of this rad bike at Breadwinner and apologies for my Monday morning rantings.

  • Parker

    While I do agree that most of my cross skills have come from mountain biking, as a junior cyclist, clinics on cyclocross-race specific things have made a huge difference in my racing. It’s not just barriers and run-ups that having a “skills practice” day added to your week will improve, it’s also things like picking lines through a taped cornering section, riding off camber on soccer field grass, and other increasingly common features not to be found in your favorite woodsy singletrack. Cyclocross is not the same, because it IS usually held on a grass field, with maybe a gravel climb and some technical woods in a section or two. Love that bike, love your blog

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      Totally agree. Read my reply above… and singletrack teaches you all that as well, you just have to replace “taped cornering sections” with trees and “off camber in soccer fields” with off-camber in the woods. It’s all the same stuff.

  • quesofrito

    ps – daniel took the action photos. not sure about studio shot.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      Daniel didn’t use a flash!?!

  • Arturo

    has this approach has helped your individual cyclocross efforts? how do you measure your success? should someone interested in CX just skip the socialization of a clinic and go ride in the woods?

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      The way I look at it, people are too obsessed with obsessing over details. I have never been on a “training ride” or a “cross practice” and I did pretty well at the three races I did last season. Sure, learning how to dismount is important, as is mounting and shouldering, but all that’s not going to matter if you don’t know how to corner at speed, pedal through sand and ride off-camber surfaces.

      I’m only sharing my opinion here as a counter-point to how people think they need clinics to race. It’s about having fun and getting rad. Naturally, it is a race, so fitness helps, but I’ve seen dudes out of shape crush “roadies” because they can’t ride in dirt.

      This is more of a comment towards new racers, not seasoned athletes. People email me with questions like this all the time, so I use opportunities to voice my opinion.

      I still believe that riding your bike a lot (fast) off road will cover all the bases you’d need to know about racing cross.

      • Carl

        You can lose a lot of time by biffing a remount and slamming your crotch into your stem.

        • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

          I can’t wrap my head around how you could do that.