Hopefully I'm getting a little bit better. I had a pretty good practice last night. While the turn out was relatively small - just Ben, myself and a guy named Jeff from Boston it turned out pretty well. We spent the first part of the evening doing some runs of the normal evening course - lots of technical stuff and some off camber runs. We spent the last half of the evening practicing mounting and dismounting the bike.
This is where I think I actually probably improved my riding a decent bit. It was one of those moments where once something was explained you go "Oh yeah that makes sense...of course it works that way." Jeff was able to explain last night that when I dismount/remount I need to stop worrying about the bike. A little background. During 'cross there are various barriers you encounter that require you to get off your bike and carry it or lift it over the barrier. When you've cleared the barrier you have to speedily get back on your bike and get back to pedaling. If you have the energy this is best done while running - fast. Usually you'll have one hand on the top of the handlebars and one hand on the saddle or the top tube while you're running.
What Jeff pointed out was that the bike's going to be moving along side of you at the same speed you're moving and it will keep up with you. "Ignore the bike - the bike will be there." Therefore you don't need to look at it to see where you're going to jump but rather just need to jump into the saddle and between inertia and your running, in all likelihood the saddle will be under your ass when you land. It actually worked really well last night I was able to get onto my bike faster and get back to pedaling a bit quicker...and I suspect that I looked a bit smoother getting onto the bike. We'll see how it all goes this weekend.
I'm looking forward to the races this weekend. I am feeling a bit under the weather right now, but I'll just have to do my best to shake it. Wonderland on Saturday should be alot of fun. It'll be small but it should be a good race - and according to weather.gov, Lancaster should have a 1/2 inch or so of snow on the ground today. Hopefully its all still on the ground tomorrow morning when I get up there.
More reports to come this weekend.