Cyclocross barriers are rarely the decisive feature in a cyclocross race, but as Chris Huller (aka Cycleboredom) points out in his new barrier technique video, they are likely the most unique aspect of a ’cross course, especially for first-time racers and spectators.
With first-timers likely to gravitate to the planks, it cannot hurt to be good at them, right? Also, as we saw when Christopher Blevins used a hop of the stairs to cement his early last-lap attack in Reno, being quick through dismount situations can have an impact on the final outcome of your race.
To help demystify the dismounting and remounting process, Cycleboredom has put together a new step-by-step tutorial for getting through the barriers smoothly and quickly.
The Cycleboredom name was originally born when the site’s purveyor Chris Huller was in college. “The name, or at least the Boredom suffix, was born during my senior thesis at the Corcoran School of Art, when I was poking fun at the seminal art magazine, Artforum,” Huller said. “I renamed it Artboredom. It was all highly intellectual and amazingly important at the time, just like all art school work is. Yet the impetus of attempting to look at and do things differently than the status quo was born there.”
After finishing school and working in graphic design, Huller, err, Cycleboredom, decided to put his skills to work as a Vlogger in the world of cycling. The result was Cycleboredom and its collection of videos and other media.
Huller recommends you read the above about how the project was born, mostly because he does not want to explain it again. “The name may not be the greatest and it’s a pain in the ass to explain it to people sometimes, but I’m 12-plus years into this experiment and despite the monetary dumpster fire, I’m not stopping now.”
The turn toward instructional videos is a new one for Huller. In the past he has done product reviews, race videoes from mid-Atlantic races and the popular CX Off series.
The approach for the Cycleboredom barrier primer was to break the process of unclipping, dismounting, running and remounting down into a step-by-step process.
“I felt there was a different, perhaps better, way to approach them,” Huller said about the video. “There are a handful of good and a few great barrier videos available on YouTube, but virtually all of them leave something out—an element that is overlooked based on an assumption of skill level or personal inconsequence to the maker of the video.”
He admitted the approach is not necessarily original, but it harkens back to the freer, less digital days of his youth.
“This also ties into my frustration from learning skateboard tricks in the VCR days,” Huller said. “There was no good way to see a trick broken down into every movement and why each one was important. Once I learned the trick, I’d teach others by breaking it down the way it made sense to me.”
Fortunately for him, retro is in these days. “There are a lot of elements to learning cyclocross skills and techniques that resemble learning skateboard tricks,” he said. “Crazy to think that 30 years later I’d be teaching myself to commit to jumping onto a moving bike with the same intent as landing a trick and then having the platform to teach others to do the same.”
The result is Cycleboredom’s step-by-step barrier breakdown that provides a great preseason Technique Thursday entry.
Huller pointed out that after you watch the video, feel free to critique the Cycleboredom definition of “suitcasing.”
“I’ve been questioned on the specificity of my use of ‘suitcasing’ in which I describe it as carrying the bike with the saddle on the inside of the arm rather than to the outside,” Huller said. “I learned that usage on Twitter nearly eight years ago and have never been questioned when I’ve used it since. Pretty sure Adam Myerson coined the term ‘suitcase carry’ to define the style of carry you use to get over the barriers, regardless of it being inside or outside of the arm.”
He concluded, “You can’t win them all.”