CX Nation Summer Clinic #1

As is the theme with some things in life, you have to be flexible.  Not Plasticman flexible, but enough so you can change your plans at a moments notice.  Yesterday was the first CX Nation cyclocross clinic of the year.  We are gearing up for cyclocross season after all.  I have been doing clinics in Santa Rosa during the week for the past couple years.  My main goals for having these clinics are to get people excited about the upcoming season, work on skills and most of all, try and spread the cyclocross “word”.  As in, this sport is a blast.

So after months of careful planning we decided to have a couple clinics in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.  I was very familiar with the area around the Polo Grounds and thought this piece of hallowed turf would be perfect for a clinic.  I got an early start because I wanted nothing to go wrong.  It was smooth sailing across the Golden Gate and the weather gods even served up some nice cross weather for the day – cold and windy.

I had checked the events calendar for GGP months ago and found only one potential conflict – Outer Lands.  The mega huge rock concert that takes place at the Polo Grounds every summer.  Alas, it was scheduled for the weekend between the two clinics that I was planning on giving.  But wait…as I approached the parking lot off Metson Ave. there were trucks everywhere, people milling about and a security guard that literally jumped in front of my Prius to stop me from going further.  This guy looked straight out of the Stones concert at Altamont.  I am not sure the Prius would have crushed him.  I was only going 5 mph.  But I was in “stealth” mode, so you never know.  Ever had a Prius sneak up on you?

He informed me that the Polo Grounds were closed for concert set-up.  A week in advance??  Yep.  I was crushed.  Now what?  I parked and after recovering from my shock, I started to improvise.  I found a patch of grass on the corner of Metson and MLK Blvd. and just threw up the EZ-UP.

Clinic 2

I didn’t think the park service would mind.  I was only going to be an hour and I even had coffee to bribe them with.  Everything went up in a matter of minutes.  Out came the camp stove and the coffee press.  Yes, I was going Food Network on these clinic goers.  I pulled out the bag of Taylor Maid Farms Coffee and started brewing.   Rob from Taylor Maid hooked me up with my favorite blend – the Goat Rock.  I had croissants from La Boulange in Mill Valley and best bananas around from Safeway.  It was on!

Clinic 1

The clients slowly trickled in and we had a great group of 7 people, both men and woman.  After a cup of coffee, we were off on our bikes.  But wait…first lesson of cross – be prepared and check your gear before riding or racing.  I guess that is two lessons.  I started out the day with a flat.  Back to car – pump it up and we were off – again.

The hardest part about teaching a clinic is trying to teach to all skill levels.  We had a wide range in this group and I hope everybody came away with some tips that will be helpful in the future.  We even had person who hadn’t been on a bike since she was 12.  She had seen the BASP race at GGP last year and thought that it looked fun, so she was giving it a shot.  Score one for cyclcross!

One of hardest things to master in a cross race seems to be the barriers.  There is a reason all the photographers hang out near them.  Lots of carnage.  I took a video of the participants moving through the 3 barriers that I had set up.  The barriers are from Cross Propz and can be purchased at www.crosspropz.com. They are very nicely designed.

Way to go crew!  Watch those feet.   Nice long strides into the barriers.  Minimize the stutter stepping.  3 hours later the first CX Nation clinic at Golden Gate Park was complete.  Thanks for all who came out and thanks to all for reading.  The next clinic is August 20th in the same place.  Register on the website. See you at the races this fall!  Hup! Hup!