Last weekend, I completed my Level 2 cyclocross course in Nottingham. I was really looking forward to this course because it is my favourite discipline to race. It was also the discipline that I had regularly coaching on, as a youth rider in Cycle Derby CC. For those who don’t know, cyclocross (or ‘cross) is an off-road race (similar to cross-country running) with a variety of terrain, obstacles and mud (lots of mud!), in the winter.
The first part of the assessment was an online test before the weekend course. It was multiple choice with questions about technique, rules and regulations and coaching guidelines. I also had to plan a 15 minute session to deliver on the Saturday morning as a development activity.
On the Saturday morning, I met all the other coaches and the tutor (who was the same guy as on my track course, which you can read about here: Track coaching course. One of the other coaches was a lady who I had raced against in a cyclocross race in the previous season, so it was good to see her again. We discussed a bit about cyclocross and racing but then got on our bikes fairly quickly to deliver our sessions. After lunch, we went back outside to do some skills work, on techniques that nobody had coached. This included bunny hop practice, which was great. My bunny hops still need a lot of work to be useful in races (as hurdles can be up to 40cm), but at least, I know the coaching points and the process I should be going through to practise. One of the guys had also built a ‘collapsible hurdle’ for us to see (basically, a hurdle with a hinge so if you hit it, it will fall over). We then got given some homework – to plan a session for Sunday’s assessment – and got on our way.
As I am at university in Nottingham, I stayed in my uni house so didn’t have too far to travel. On the Sunday morning, we completed our sessions for the assessment. Lots of the other coaches did techniques involving mounts and dismounts, which meant I got lots of practise, ready for the ‘cross season. I delivered my session last and the topic I had chosen was ‘bank dismounts’ (dismounting on a hill, which happens when you think you can ride it and something happens in front of you or it is too hard, so you have to get off and run). After lunch, we had some quick discussions and the course was complete. Everybody passed, which was good.
The best part of the weekend was learning how to bunny hop. It was also funny to hear people referring to cyclocross as ‘CX’ because I’d never heard anyone shorten it to that when speaking – everyone I know refers to it as ‘cross.
I am so excited to use all of the skills and knowledge I gained over the weekend, both as a rider and a coach.
I’m massively grateful to Joe Humphries Memorial Trust for funding this course for me and you can read my profile/blogs on their website (https://www.jhmt.org.uk/profiles/rebecca-laurel).