Leapin' Lizards!

The cyclocross remount, properly done, is a thing of beauty. A single effortless bound, a leap of faith, a body horizontally suspended in superman position above saddle, above bike, above ground for a split second, and then a gentle touch down of saddle to inner thigh, a slide to center on the saddle, one foot, then the other immediately to the pedals, and go, go, go. A lovely ballet that happens in a fraction of a second. Unless you're me. Then you've spent two years of your life with this ugly stutter-step. I can dismount perfectly. I can step-through dismount or side-step dismount. I can even dismount on the drive train side. I can pick my bike up and run. Run over barriers. Run up a hill. No problem. But the remount. Oh you stupid stutter-stepping remount. Screwing me over, losing me positions I'd just dismounted and ran my butt off to gain, throwing all that work by the wayside because my stupid stupid stutter-step.

The first year I raced 'cross I went to a clinic. NorCal cx goddess Stella Carey was my instructor. She spent hours telling me how not to stutter-step. But I couldn't break it. I kept thinking, you're an athlete Beth! Watch what she's doing, then do it. Just leap. But I couldn't. That stutter-step was my nicotine; I wanted to quit but I couldn't. I guess I feared slamming my hoohaw on the saddle. Stella got fed up. She left me and my stutter-step. Who could blame her? And you can get away with a lot of stuff when you're racing C's. So the stutter-step stayed. I looked like a moron. And swore a lot. See below.


Last year I moved up to the B's. I dreamt all summer of the perfect remount. I watched videos. I watched people. I asked questions. I practiced. But that stutter-step didn't go away. All season long. Everyone in the B's could do a perfect remount, while I looked like a bad Mary Catherine Gallagher impression when I tried to leap back on my bike. I even got mocked at one race by some drunken 'cross hooligans for my abominable remount skills. I was confident that I was doomed to a life of stutter-stepping. A very wise and seasoned 'cross racer told me not to worry about my stutter, it would eventually work its way out. I didn't believe him. I knew I was doomed. Forever.


So today I'd been studying for this leadership correspondence course test that I have to take tomorrow for about 5 hours. I got bored. I got distracted. I found some photos of 'cross races. Then I looked at some of Terry's sweet pics from last year's 'cross races. I was suddenly inspired. It was getting dark outside. But I decided to go grab my 'cross bike with a questionable soft front tire off the garage wall and take it for a spin around the freshly watered and therefore questionable soft grass in the backyard.

I hopped on my stutter-step, but I can always get on from a walk without stutter-stepping. I gained some speed. I hopped off. I ran a few steps. I hopped back on. Did that just happen? Shhh, don't jinx it. I gained more speed. I hopped off. I ran a few feet. I hopped back on...HOLY CRAP! Okay, one stutter-step! Really? YES!

I stayed in the backyard for about 15 minutes, hopping off, hopping back on. Not one single stutter-step! I even sort of tried to stutter-step once just to make sure I wasn't pretending to ignore the stutter-step. I made a fake barrier of out my sprinkler. I couldn't make myself stutter-step. Yay!

I called Terry...I couldn't contain my excitement. I told him it might be the happiest day of my life. That might have been a exaggeration. Luckily he's used to my gross over-exaggerations.

Tomorrow I'm going to the trails to try it out for real. And then 'cross season can officially start already!