What to expect at a Cyclo-cross skills session

First was 'scooting' – with the left foot on the pedal as normal but pushing along with the other foot on the same left hand side of the bike. This manoeuvre came with promises that "you really won't fall over" from coach Darren Armstrong. This did turn out to be true but not without a few unclipping related close shaves!

Onto the grass next to link together dismounting, running, and getting back onto the bike. Keeping some speed whilst trying to remember in what order everything is meant to happen was a bit of a challenge but it did get easier with practice. We then got a feel for braking with some practice at stopping suddenly- finding the differences between front and rear braking and the importance of getting your body weight over the rear of the bike. A short slalom course tested our handling skills before some formation riding in the (fortunately empty) car park to get used to riding close to others. Being boxed in took some getting used to, especially when we swapped to riding in a row each using one hand. A long way to go towards Red Arrows precision, but it worked and it was clear that this skill is really valuable- for riding in groups on the road as well.

We then put everything into practice with a couple of laps of the grounds; sprinting uphill on long wet grass was tougher than it looked and tired the legs out just in time for a final bit of dismount and remount practice. We packed in a lot, stayed upright and had a good laugh along the way - a top Taw Velo training session!