“Who does the stutter step?” Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com pro Kaitlin Antonneau asked the group of 30 women attending the Sunday, August 26th clinic at Cincinnati’s Kings CX venue. A few raised their hands. A stutter step is a momentum sapping quick foot shuffle just before remounting the bike. Kaitlin demonstrated how to remount the bike without doing the stutter step. As a learning tool, “I tell people to keep the left foot planted on the ground” until the right leg is over the saddle, she added. As the group practiced on a small loop, you could see the attendees become more fluid each time around.
“Kaitlin is very relatable,” organizer Corey Green of Cincinnati Cyclocross said as he gathered the lunch orders, “especially for the juniors.” Some pros can be intimidating, not Kaitlin. She’s not super tall. She’s petite with a matching young squeak to her voice. Even behind her pro kit and dark matching glasses she’s very approachable. The girls opened up with Kaitlin, unafraid to ask questions. When Kaitlin demonstrated a shoulder carry, one attendee asked, “Wait a minute. Where did you grab the bike?” She did it in slo-mo, twice. Standing in place, about half the group grabbed their bikes from the down tube, set it on their shoulders and snaked their arm under to grab their handlebars.
Most importantly, Kaitlin gave them confidence. Most will race at the same venue in the OVCX series this fall. As the women practiced hill carries, riding through sand and dismounts/remounts, Kaitlin scanned the group and gave individual guidance where needed. After each break-out practice session she gathered the group for a discussion.
Here are a few tips I gleaned from the clinic:
1: When riding into a steep hill (long sand or mud) that’s going to force a dismount, Kaitlin advises to get off the bike before it looses momentum. Maintaining forward momentum is key.
2: Kaitlin said not to follow someone else’s line into sand, saying it’s too unpredictable. While in some pro races competitors will work together to carve a clear and rideable line in the sand, the practice is rare in the lower categories. Kaitlin demonstrated to hit the sand fast, stay light on the front end, pedal and hover.
3: If you have to dismount and run a long distance up stairs, through mud or sand, Kaitlin says the shoulder carry allows you to run more effectively.
Next up, National Champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) visits Cincinnati September 1st and 2nd for a free cross talk on Saturday and a clinic presented by JBV and Fulcrum Coaching on Sunday. Spots are still available. Details and registration at BikeReg.com.