Tuesday, October 14, 2008

That's a wrap

Thanks to all who came out and attended the practices; they are only as good as the number of people who show up. So, thanks for doing your part to grow the cross scene in Columbus.

With darkness creeping up on us, tonight was the last practice we are organizing for the season.

See Mason about some flash-mob-style practices along the bike path.

-Ryan & Jon

Monday, October 13, 2008

Worthington Practice Tues 10/14

Same place and format as last week. Drawing for Cap City Race Coupon #5 (the last one).

Our use of the UMCH campus seemed to work out for all parties involved. Thanks to Ed and Dee Minor for setting that up for us (I didn't want to thank them publicly until the first practice went well).

This may or may not be our last week of practice; we'll see how we do on time with sunset. Tearing down (or setting up) the course in the dark is no fun.

See you tomorrow.

-Ryan Rish

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


It’s already early October, and if you are reading this you have more than likely been to a couple Cyclocross races and weeknight practices. It’s also probable that you may begin to notice the sting in your legs lasting a little bit longer after each workout. As you reach peak fitness the risk/reward ratio of each workout becomes skewed. To put it simply, the more fit you become the more likely you are to encounter some setback with each intense workout, these can include burnout, exhaustion, injury, ect. Fear not, with increased attention to recovery these problems can be avoided.

It goes without saying that recovery is a crucial part to any training program. Cyclocross is no exception, however, that are some unique demands from a typical road or mountain bike training program. Recovery can be approached from two directions; training structure and schedule, and strategies which can be implemented during your time off the bike.

Training Structure and Schedule: Typical cyclocross training programs have a higher frequency of intensity than most road and mountain bike racers have experienced. Due to the nature of these high intensity efforts it is imperative for the athlete to begin these efforts fresh. Cyclocross races are no different. The idea of “training through” races or workouts in not beneficial to the athlete in the same way that it can be for other events.

To put it simply; since your hard days need to be harder, your easy days need to be easier and more frequent. When looking at the big picture the same logic should be followed, as training cycles become more intense, they should also include rest periods more frequently. Rest days should be frequent and include “recovery spins” to help promote faster healing of damaged muscle tissues.

Off the bike Strategies for Recovery: The most effective forms of recovery off the bike are Sleep, Massage (if available), Stretching, and Proper Nutrition. These should be daily habits, not just employed on big training days. Other stratigies include ice baths, compression socks and tights, leg elevation, napping, listening to relaxing music, or just sitting around and watching TV for several hours.

By implementing proper recovery; both short and long term, Cyclocross racers can help insure a long, fun, and fruitful season.

If you are going to be a bear, be a grizzly.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Worthington Practice Tues 10/7

This Tuesday (10/7) we are going to try out a new venue at the United Methodist Children's Home. Please practice your best behavior when you come; we are doing this first practice on a trial basis (so watch the potty mouth in the off-camber turns). The course is near the residence of the director, Dean Pulliam, and he will be out taking a look at the spectacle we are (so be sure to thank him if you see him for allowing us to use the campus).

DIRECTIONS: From the bike path option 1 & option 2, from High St. if driving.

Here's a rough course map...a good mix of high-speed, off-camber technical bits and power sections.


6:00: pre-ride
6:10: 20 min race (rest 5 min MAX)
6:35: 20 min race
7:00: coupon drawing
7:05: course tear down

Jon will be running the practice; I have a function at the Wexner Center with my pre-service teachers.

Bring your lights for riding home.

-Ryan & Jon

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Learning about Cross 2

Just to update a previous post, Brandon Dwight has new how-to cross videos on VeloNews.TV: Cyclocross bike equipment; Dismounts, remounts and carrying the bike; Avoiding common mistakes during a 'cross race; Tips on improving your starts; 'Cross race etiquette.

Thanks Swainer for the tip.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Practice Tues 9/30 @ Woodward

Back at Woodward for this week. I'm working on getting it closer to campus now that classes have started. Let's get an earlier start with the shortening days.

6:00 pm: Sign up/warm up.
6:15 pm: 5-lap race (~15 min. effort) 5 min. rest
6:35 pm: 5-lap race (~15 min. effort) 5 min. rest
6:55 pm: 5-lap race (~15 min. effort) 5 min. rest
7:10 pm: Drawing for Cap City Race Coupon #3
7:15 pm: Course tear down

Jon S. and I will set up on Monday, Jon S. will run the practice, and I'll show up around 7 pm to tear it down (I have class on Tuesdays until 6:18).

-Ryan Rish

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Barrier Video

Check your barrier technique at practice tonight. Thanks for being flexible about the venue; hope it wasn't too dark on the ride home from Woodward. We'll get the mini races going off sooner next week.

QUICK TIP: Set your bike down; don't drop it. You don't want your bike bouncing around or your chain flopping off. Plus, you can set the bike down and use it to steady yourself before the remount. In the original audio you can hear a lot of chains slapping stays after the barrier.

Thanks especially to Jon for all the help with the course set-up.

Good luck at the races this weekend. Don't forget the clinic at Kenney Park this Friday @ 6pm.

-Ryan Rish

Friday, September 19, 2008

Practice Tues 9/23 NEW LOCATION


Now that the soccer league at Kenney Park is playing matches, they have reoriented one of their fields so that it will not be possible to have practice races there.

We are moving the practice to Woodward Memorial Park, so you'll have to pedal an extra couple miles to get there: here's a map from the bike path. We'll get the course flagged tomorrow afternoon and post more details.

There are natural barriers on the path into Woodward, so do what you do best to get there.

Jon S. will hang back at Kenney Park to pick up anyone who doesn't get the word on the change.

Sorry for the last-minute change; tell your friends. The Friday clinic is still at Kenney Park (no matches on Fridays).

-Ryan Rish


6:00 pm: Meet and greet; sign up for drawing.
6:10 pm: Parade lap to learn the course.
6:15 pm: Quick shouldering demo
6:20 pm: Win-and-out practice starts (shoulder/run-up @ end)
6:30 pm: ?-lap race (~15 min. effort) 5 min. rest
6:50 pm: ?-lap race (~15 min. effort) 5 min. rest
7:10 pm: ?-lap race (~15 min. effort) 5 min. rest
7:30 pm: Drawing for Cap City Race Coupon #2
7:35 pm: Course tear down

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Columbus Cyclocross Clinic

Fri Sept 26th 6pm Kenney Park

Beginner to Intermediate Cyclocross Skills Clinic put on by the Ryan’s (Gamm and Rish). Please come prepared to have fun and bring plenty of questions. We will spend time going over basic skills and will spend as much time as necessary on a Q&A session covering equipment, nutrition, strategy, race day prep, and anything else you can think of….. Hope to see you out there!

**Important: All riders need helmets and must sign waivers before starting the clinic, $5 mandatory donations to cover costs.**

Monday, September 15, 2008

No Practice Tue 9/16

Stay home and do your yard work, or your neighbor's.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Go Race Your Bike

The first Cap City Race is this weekend. Kyle says that the course has nice flow, and the finish is uphill. You may have to shoulder your bike and sprint for it; first body or bike part across the line takes it.

So can anyone take the $200 win from Nato?

-Ryan Rish

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Race Coupon Winner: Brian Schultz

In my haste to pack up last night, I didn't give Brian his race coupon. Brian, I will give your name to the promoter of this weekend's Cap City Race, Kyle Wingler. If you don't want to use the coupon this weekend, I'll give it to you at the next practice.

-Ryan Rish

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cross Clinic

A Cross Clinic is in the works for Fri September 26th from 6pm until whenever. We will be primarily focusing on basic to intermediate Cross skills as well as a Q&A session afterwards. This should also be a great way to prep for the Alum Creek Cross race the following day. There will most likely be a $5 donation forcibly requested to cover costs.

Interested parties please contact/rsvp Ryan Gamm at gammryan at hotmail.com

More details to follow soon.

-Ryan Gamm

Another Great Turnout

28 people, 7 of whom were women. WOW, again! I report this in the hope that even more people are encouraged to show up. Good to seen the Columbus cross scene out and having fun. Always a refreshing time of year to take a break from the 'tude of the road scene.

Left to Right: Women, Men 3rd Group, Men 2nd Group, and Men 1st Group

I quickly realized tonight that doing any kind of instruction was not going to be manageable with close to 30 people. That works best in small groups where you can concentrate on each person's needs. And I also quickly realized that we had a good mix of cross veterans and newbies (not that the veterans couldn't use some brush up). So here's 2 ideas:

1. One or more of the veterans show up early (~5:30p) to work with anyone who wants to work on specific skills (like the ones in the Dwight videos). A veteran would work with a small group to provide advice and address any issues of technique. If you are interested in doing this, leave a comment and we'll get the word out that you'll show up early for anyone who is interested.

2. Gamm comes up and puts on a clinic at Kenney Park. I called Gamm to tell him there might be some interest. He is thinking of a Friday before one of the Cap City races. He's going to post something about this soon, so be sure to let him know if you are interested. Gamm has done a host of cross clinics before, and he's doing one for your competition down in Cinci.

Anyway, let us know your thoughts on that.

From the feedback I'm getting, the mini races seem to work well for getting in some intensity. The old track coach in me wants to run a scripted practice, but I'm realizing that the social aspect is important too...so no more plans for drills between mini races. (I'm sure it's obvious that I'm making all of this up as I go along.)

Stay tuned for next Tuesday. I have to talk to the soccer coaches to be sure all went well (which I think it did). Most likely we will be back at Kenney Park next week.

And no, that course was not typical of a midwest cross race course. But I can tell you that all of those elements have been in courses before, just not jammed all in 1K.

Skills, it's about the skills.

-Ryan Rish

Tonight's Practice

Bring your mud tires tonight. There's a bit in the woods where you might need a little more bite out of your tires.

Be sure to pre-ride the singletrack tonight. It's no big deal if you're used to riding off-road. If you're not (Isaiah), check it out before the mini races. If you're not comfortable with it, there is a bail out route along the tree line. We just don't want a newbie breaking his/her collar bone, but we also want to make the course fun.

I have an agreement with the soccer coaches conducting practice at Kenney Park that if we become a nuisance to their practice, we will discontinue. Their soccer league has a permit to use the park. They should be finishing up as we are getting into the mini-races. However, let's please err on the side of caution and stop if you see a kid chasing a soccer ball in your path. Tonight's kind of a trial to see if we can co-exist.

Scroll down for more details.

Choose your own adventure.

-Ryan Rish

Monday, September 8, 2008

CX Clinic Up North

Shawn Adams is holding a Cyclocross Clinic in Broadview Hts. on Sept. 27th.

Yes, it's the same day as a Cap City Race; and yes, you should race your bike. But if your stuck in the Greater Cleveland area check out Shawn's clinic. You can learn a thing or two from those boys (and girls) up north.

Posting for the greater good.

-Ryan Rish

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Learning about Cross

As you may already have discovered, there is a wealth of advice about cyclocross available online, in books, and even in video.

In case you haven't seen these articles from two cross gurus: Adam Myerson & Andy Applegate.

Also the Brandon Dwight videos that cover the basics: 1.) intro, 2.) course, 3.) dismount, 4.) barriers, 5.) shoulder, 6.) remount. Sometimes it helps to see it.

Post a comment on the blog to share other sources you found useful.

-Ryan Rish

Next Practice: Tues 9/9

Next practice, Tuesday, Sept. 9th @ 6pm, Kenney Park behind Graceland on High St.

We're moving practice to Kenney Park behind Graceland. The course will again be marked with marking flags (red on right, yellow on left). The lap is ~1K, and lap times will be 3+ minutes. The course will feature some off-camber turns, 180-degree turns in sand, a run-up, single track, and a tough little technical part. A double set of barriers will also be out on the course for practice.

We'll set up on Monday evening, if you're interested in coming out and helping.

Here's the format:
6:00 pm: Meet and greet; sign up for drawing.
6:10 pm: Parade lap to learn the course.
6:15 pm: Mount/dismount practice (get rid of that stutter step)
6:25 pm: Win-and-out practice starts
6:30 pm: 3-lap race (~12 min. effort)
6:50 pm: More practice starts or mount/dismounts
6:55 pm: 3-lap race (~12 min. effort)
7:15 pm: More practice starts or mount/dismounts
7:20 pm: 3-lap race (~12 min. effort)
7:30 pm: Drawing for Cap City Race Coupon
7:35 pm: Course tear down

Bring your helmet, two friends, and at least two water bottles.


Seriously, keep an eye out for kids chasing soccer balls.

To get to Kenney Park from the bike path, take Henderson Rd. or Broad Meadows Blvd. (across the bridge south of Antrim Park), then take High St. to Graceland Shopping Center. Use Graceland Blvd. to go all the way to the back where Kenney Park is. There is parking and one Port-o-John (not a nice one).

Each week we will tweak the format based on your needs and input. We will gradually make the mini-races longer and the rest between them shorter. You will benefit from spending at least an equivalent amount of time at your race effort compared to the amount of time you will be racing: typically, Cs race 30 minutes, Bs race 45 minutes, and As race 60 minutes.

As always, our goal is to help with the learning curve involved with improving at cyclocross racing. We all benefit from practice, as once polished skills become rusty during the road season.

The best way to learn is to ask, ask, ask and ask again. Ask about bike setup, ask about technique, ask about tire pressure and choice, ask about what is the best line in a turn. It's how we all learned at one time or another (and are still learning). Ask at practice or ask on the blog, but please ask. And if you have knowledge to share, please do. There are no experts, we are all learners.

And as always, please invite everyone and anyone who is interested in learning more about cyclocross, whether they have a cross bike or not.

Hope to see you Tuesday.

-Ryan & Jon

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Start Position at Nats

Even if you're on the fence about going, registration opens Sept 15th @ midnight CST. Start positions are largely determined by order of registration. The B and masters races fill up the fastest. Two years ago, I waited 30 minutes after registration opened and ended up with the 86th start position in the 30+ race. By the time I worked my way up to the top-20 in the race, I was cooked (and the race was almost over). Hope you have a fast connection.

But of course if you finished top-10 last year or have UCI points, then you can go to bed early on the 15th.

CORRECTION: Only the past national champion will be called up. I respect both Jeff and Bill, but they don't see eye to eye on start positions (not a short joke, Bill). In a pipe dream USAC would get off their duffs and add cyclocross to their ranking system and keep it updated for assigning start positions at nationals.

CORRECTION #2: Juniors 10-16, Junior Women 17-18, U23 Women, and Masters: (1) The first rider called to the line will be the defending National Champion from the previous year if still in the same class. (2) The next riders called to the line will be the previous year's second through eighth finishing positions. If a previous year's champion from another age group moves to a different category, that rider will displace the eighth placed rider. If any of the aforementioned riders are not participating, those spots will be filled by order of registration. (3) All other riders will be staged in the start grid by order of registration.

I won't be there, but Gammer will be.

-Ryan Rish

Great turnout for 1st practice

Great turnout last night: 18 people (3 Women), WOW! Awesome for the first practice.

Thanks to all who came out, had fun, and helped tear down the course.

Keep checking this blog for next Tuesday's plans; we are going to switch venues until Norman (resident) cools down. The majority of the residents were super positive about us being there, though. And we have plans of attending the community association meeting to make further inroads.

I have another spot in mind for Tuesday and will scout it out tonight; look for a post with a new map and directions for getting there from the bike path.

Bring ANOTHER friend next week, and post a comment with suggestions for the format. Did you like the mini races? Would you like a skill session to cover the basics? Practice starts?

Let us know; we're encouraged by your enthusiasm.

And don't forget, next practice is the drawing for the Cap City Cross Coupon. If you win, you race for $5 at one of the first five Cap City races.

-Ryan Rish

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Make the most out of your Cross practice sessions

Cross races can be won and lost in the turns. Riding smooth and maintaining flow will not only keep your speeds high and prevent crashes, but will also save energy…lots of energy.

Group training sessions provide a fun way to accomplish the high intensity efforts necessary for building the fitness necessary for Cyclocross racing, as well as an opportunity to fine tune race skills and bike set up with out the pressure of a race environment.

The multiple race formats at the Columbus Cross Practice allows riders the opportunity to experiment with tire pressures, different lines, and braking techniques. Not only can you hone your own skills but if you keep your eyes open you might just be able to steal a few ideas out of the advanced riders' playbooks.

Race clean. Ride dirty.

-Ryan Gamm

Cap City Cross Coupons

Tuesdays before the first five Cap City Cross Races we will have a drawing for one $5 entry fee coupon for that weekend's race. If you win one of these coupons, you will only have to pay $5 to race that weekend instead of the regular low fees.

Be sure to sign-up for the drawing at practice on Tuesdays. The more practices you attend, the greater your chance is for having your name drawn.

Drawings for schwag will also be held as I round it up.

You can only win once, and you have to be present to claim your prize.

Thanks goes out to Andy for the coupons!

-Ryan Rish

Monday, September 1, 2008

First Practice: Tues 9/2

First practice tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 2nd @ 6pm.

The course is marked with marking flags (red on your right, yellow on your left). The lap is a little over a mile, and lap times are 4-5 minutes. The ground is hard and fast, so we put in many twists and turns to keep it fun. One run-up and one set of double barriers. Thanks to Larry, Lisa and Jon for helping setup the course.

Here's the format:
6:00 pm: Meet and greet; sign up for drawing.
6:15 pm: Parade lap to learn the course.
6:30 pm: 2-lap race (10 min. effort)
6:50 pm: 2-lap race (10 min. effort)
7:10 pm: 2-lap race (10 min. effort)

From week to week, we plan to change up the course and the format based on your input. So feel free to let us know what you think; we want to make this a cyclocross practice that serves as many people's needs as possible. We also want to attract as many new people to the sport as we can, so please invite everyone who is even curious about cyclocross.

Even if you're out on your road bike stop on by and check us out. The course is at 5400 Foster Ave. From the Olentangy River Bike Path, cross the bridge south of Antrim Park to Broadmeadows Blvd. cross High St. over to Meadowlark Ln. and on up to the course.

Hope to see you tomorrow; bring a helmet and a positive attitude!

-Ryan & Jon