Most cyclo-cross courses will have at least one point where you are forced to dismount your bike. This could be some steps, a hurdle that you’re unable to bunny hop over or a steep run up. Also, if conditions are bad or deteriorate as the race goes on, you may find it quicker and more efficient to get off and run some sections. Watch top cyclo-cross racers and their fluidity dismounting and re-mounting is amazing. Take time to master these key techniques and you will definitely find yourself moving up the field. Stay relaxed, don’t rush these techniques and practice definitely makes perfect.
There are two main techniques for dismounting, the Step-through and Step-back dismount. You would use the Step-through when you’re carrying momentum and want to keep up your speed into your running stride. The Step-back is for slower speed dismounts.
For both dismounts:
- Shift into a gear that will allow you to accelerate after remounting.
- Move your hands onto brake hoods or bar tops.
- Look ahead where you want to go, not at the obstacle, and adjust your speed if necessary.
- Unclip your right foot and swing your leg over the saddle and back wheel as shown in the picture above.
- Rest your right foot behind the left foot. If the ground’s rough or you need extra stability, keep your hip in contact with the saddle.
- Keeping your left hand on the bars and place your right hand on the top tube if you are going to carry or shoulder the bike. If not you can keep your hands on the bars or hoods.
- For the Step-Back simply unclip your left foot as your right foot drops to the ground behind the pedal.
- For the Step-Through, angle the bike away from you to open up some space.
- Step through that space between your left leg and the frame with your right foot.
- Unclip your left foot as your right foot steps forward onto the ground.
- Run through with your left foot into a natural running stride.
- Look ahead for a good line and, running with the bike on your right, position both hands on the tops or hoods.
- Spring off your left leg and swinging your right knee over the saddle.
- Land with your inner right thigh on the saddle and slide into your seated position.
- Drive your right leg down to make contact with the pedal. Don’t tentatively feel for it, if it’s very muddy you might need to clear your cleats by banging them on the axle, spider or crank arms.
- Start pedalling as soon as the right foot is engaged.
- Clip the left foot in as quickly as possible.