Cross season is here! And that means it’s time to get comfortable taking turns, hopping off and on the bike, finding that choice spot on your shoulder for carrying your steed, and everyone’s favorite, jumping over hurdles.

I get rad with a little help from my friends
I get rad with a little help from my friends


Each week Team Monster Truck gets together for practice and focuses on one core skill before switching gears to spend some time on activities that better simulate racing conditions. For our first practice we did drills on mounts and dismounts, then opened it up a bit by setting down some cones and paired up to try riding as fast as we could into some sharp turns, sometimes with a barrier jump every now and then.

practicing mounts and dismounts with the barriers down
practicing mounts and dismounts with the barriers down

To make improvements to your own skills it takes repeated training and practice. Learning how to improve the combination of tire pressure, handling on different riding surfaces, and building your individual fortitude doesn’t come without some effort. I’ve found that the best ally in pushing my limits is an encouraging group of riders who are working towards improving their own skills while also having a fun time.

If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself “I’ve never done this cross thing before, I wouldn’t even know how to get started,” the answer is: show up at Danehy Park in Cambridge next Monday night at 7PM (at the bottom of the hill next to the soccer field). Our practices are very beginner friendly and open to riders of all skill levels – just grab your bike and bring your helmet and a set of lights (it gets dark by the end of practice) and be ready to have a fun, challenging, rewarding time!

Author’s note: while these skills are necessary to have a good race, they have also benefited  my urban cycling experience by improving my balance, responsiveness, and trust in my own abilities and bike handling. I joined the team two years ago to give cyclocross a try and got so much more out of it than I expected. Last year’s races showed me that my turning needs some work, so I know what I’m going to be working on next Monday. Hope to see you then!