Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hopping Over Obstacles On Your Bike

There are certain times in Cyclocross races where it pays off to be able to hop up and over obstacles. Not every course has positions on route where being able to "bunny hop" obstacles equal speed advantages. But there are times when using the skill of "bunny hopping" can assist those who posses the power and talent to pull off this move. It does take strength, skill and guts, to hop up and over obstacles under race pressure. For the riders who are able to hop over boards, downed trees, or up stairs, they will tell you it is a fun skill and a natural feeling when done right. I personally recommend all riders practice all Cyclocross related skills that could come in handy during a race. Whether it be a fast start, running, turning, hopping, or a fast finish, practice makes perfect. All the skill sets used in Cyclocross will further help each rider when competing in Mtn. Bike Racing or Road Racing, or basically any type of cycling event.

Please have a look at this cool break down of "bunny hopping" from a section at the past Surf City race put together by the good folks over at the A40 Team blog-

For some riders it is natural to jump up and over obstacles on course....
Logan Loader displays a good "bunny hop" gone bad.....
Here Logan Loader gets it right! Loader is one of the best "hoppers" in Nor-Cal. Even if the boards are spaced closely together Loader finds a way to ride through and hop over these sections.....
Kerry Barnholt(Scott/Ritchey) is one of the most skilled riders in the Elite Women's division, and was one of the few Women to "bunny hop" the log section at CCCX #2......
Anastasio Flores(Cal Giant Inc.) going up and over at Toro Park....
Aaron Bradford(Onsite Ultrasound) is a Super D USA National Champion, and has shown great form this season in the Men's Elite division, Bradford also has the skill to "bunny hop" when needed....
Surf City main man Jeff Clark is seen here filming Scott Chapin(HRS Rock Lobster) "bunny hopping" the boards at the Halloween Cross race. Chapin is one of the strongest & most skilled riders in Nor-Cal and this strength & skill is needed when "bunny hopping" boards...
WTB's Kenny Burt seen here using the tops of the bars to get leverage and pull the front wheel up and over the boards at Surf City....
Gannon Myall(Cal Giant Inc.) is smooth and precise when floating over the boards....
James Coates(Cal Giant Inc.) is a multiple time National Cyclocross Champion in the Masters division. Coates has developed his hopping skills with practice & when the opportunity presents itself Coates uses his ability well....
Cal Giant Inc. sponsored Justin Robinson is one of the very best at hopping over obstacles on course. You will never hear Robinson complain about sections on course where a rider has an advantage to "bunny hop".....
Third Pillar's Mitch Bramlett goes big over the boards at CCCX #4. Bramlett demonstrates grace and style whenever he hops up and over obstacles on course....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like bunny hopping. Thanks for the time with this post.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Frank said...

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8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

me......i cant bunny hop but its all good.......i cant ride as fast as most people but it is all good thing for sure is i am having fun out bring on more challenges!

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK if we are going to have this discussion then lets look at the rules.

UCI Cyclocross Rules

5.1.024 The course may include a single section of planks. This obstacle must consist of two planks placed 4 meters apart. The planks must be solid for their entire height and not made of metal. They must
have a height of 40 cm and extend the entire width of the course. In races for men juniors and
women, it is recommended that a parallel course avoiding this obstacle should be used.

In the event that the course is abnormally slippery, the plank section must be removed on the decision
of the president of the commissaires' panel in consultation with the organiser and, should he be
present, the UCI technical delegate or the cyclo-cross sport coordinator.

USA Cycling Cyclocross Rules

5A10. The course may include a single section of temporary artificial barriers. This shall consist of two barriers of wooden or other non-metallic material, standing vertically, 40cm tall, 4 meters apart, and taking up the full width of the race course. The surfaces of the barriers must have no gaps from the top to the ground. Barriers may be placed on flat or uphill terrain; downhill barriers are expressly forbidden.

So with that said you are fooling yourself if you think those barriers at the CCCX or BASP are even close to legal. I bet they fall close to 5 inches to short and most riders would opt for running. It is true that some Euro pros have hoped barriers in races, however most times a coarse is designed to demonstrate athletic ability over acrobatic skill. We certainly don't see tons of pics showing Euro's hopping barriers as we do here in the US. Just my two cents.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude if you could do a can can or a talewhip, mebbe even a knick knack paddywhack fakee yoed be out getting rad and not posting LAME rules made by the UCA cycling!

your lame bro

-Chuck Shredroast

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The BASP boards are bad
so are Surf City and the others
If it is not up to USA Cycling or UCI standards it is plain wrong! This racing is not about fun and just taking on what comes along and having fun doing it. It is about rules and regulations and making sure all the races follow a strict code. We all need to follow the UCI rule book and I think everyone knows that deep down.

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jumping barriers is just about as radical as skidding on a fixed gear, if you know what I mean.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the most beautiful thing is running with the bike thru mud.

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just my thoughts...
in reading the post, the author just said bunny hopping is something that can be useful at times. And something that people should practice. It is not for every course and for every race. Sometimes you need to be able to bunny hop stuff. Shoot, last race a rider crashed in front of me and the only way for me to not crash into him was to bunny hop him when he was on the ground. The author did not say it was radical to bunny hop, but he did say it was useful at times. Let's stop being so sensative and negative and just be thankful someone is posting things on the ncnca cross site. The other sites for Road and MTB have basically nothing going on. Thanks Dusty for your time and just remember you can not make everyone happy so don't stop giving me things to look at and read, please.
Alex W.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Chuck,

If your not going to follow the rules then why not just ride around them or better yet pump yourself full of CERA and go really big when pulling your no handed superman over the barrier.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopping regulation barriers is cool. Hopping logs or other natural obstacles is cool. Setting up mini-barriers way far apart so they're easy to hop is lame.

The fun and beauty of a cyclocross is enough of a spectacle by itself. There is no need for contrived and unnecessary "stunts" like specially placed hopping boards.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeez, what's up with all bickering lately? I agree that certain standards should be followed for course design. But cyclocross is for FUN! Watch someone like Justin Robinson (who has obviously devoted a lot of time and effort into 'cross) on the course. That guy is having a good time! and Don Myrah. That guy always has a smile on his face (and he did last year also, so it's not just that he's beating everyone 99% of the time). Also, I agree with Alex. Thanks Dusty for all your enthusiasm and hard work that go into your races and this site.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Dusty! You are doing an insane job!!! I enjoy all of your writing.

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

look man,, i think youre argument is a fallasy called a slippery slope or something like that, which if you threw at me in a coarse i would do my best to get insane rad on and not whine and start looking up rules for an orgininzation that doesn't even govern over our rad scene. id shred that slippery slope to bits bro. a no handed superman over barriers is impossible so im not even sure why youre even throwing that out their.

end i dont pump my self full of anything but mtn.dew and muscle milk. but your probably gonna find some rule that outlaws that to


9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bunnyhopping is cool but as said setting up a course with barriers spread way apart making for an easy "hop" is dumb cuz it just makes for an awkward obstacle for the rest of the racers.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Chuck or should I say "Straw Man" since we are on the topic of fallacies.

So I am just curios? Whose rules do you play by???? Why do you feel so threatened by the simple posting of two of the most widely accepted governing bodies rules for cycling in the world that you have to call someone lame.

I am not saying you can't hop barriers. Just that if your gonna play the game you should play it right.

This is an interesting topic for discussion but if your gonna act like a child and resort to calling people names then how can you expect to be taken seriously. Are you feeling ok or is their some deeper rooted issue going on?

Hope you feel better soon.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nothings wrong I feel great man i just got back from a roost session at the pumptrack!
I dunno if that was a straw man, an add homonym or if i was bagging the question. but ill tell you what man, you throw those at me in a coarse and ill probably try and bunnyhop those to. im just saying i give 120% and i dont whine and start digging up these obscure rules. not to mention these are the governing bodys that cover the whole usa and the whole planet, when we are in this radical kind of special bubble world here in nor cali.maybe were not the NFL here, maybe were like arena football? or maybe even like JUST the pugel stick competition from the original american gladiators show, hell i dont know? but we shouldnt be like these sticklers for rules.

i guess chuck plays by chucks rules,, sorry for name calling man, just go practice bro!


12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, Pugel stick fighting? Really?

I want some of what Chuckroast's smoking...

1:21 PM  
Anonymous blackmarketracing said...

hmm. All this hubbub over bunny hopping barriers? Really? The original USA cycling rules used to actually state that obstacles "shall not be placed in a manner as to encourage feats of acrobaticism", or some such phrasing. But technically speaking, our local races are not USAC or UCI sanctioned, so pretty much anything goes. I am a traditionalist, and prefer that every one have to get off more or less in the same place. That being said, if riders possess skills that are better (or different) than others, they should be allowed to use them.
The bottom line is that a rider shows up to the circuit and gets around it in the best way possible for them personally, using hard-earned skills along the way. Ultimately, it comes down the the race promoters and how they set up the courses to make the differences. At this level in NorCal, the UCI rules are merely a guideline.
The euros are skilled riders, but how many of them are bunny-hopping barriers? One or two. That's it. And only in very particular situations. That's because they want to see the riders make the difference somewhere besides at the barriers. Adri Van Der Poel, technical director for course set-up for the UCI, was trying to get rid of barriers all together, but not for the reasons you may think. He felt the barriers made too much of a difference for those who got a better start or start position. The lead riders were over the barriers and sprinting away, while a guy 20 riders back was still on foot. Van der Poel wanted the race to be made on the course itself, not on the outcome of man-made barriers. He pushed for technically demanding courses where skills and power were favored more heavily, i.e. short, sharp climbs, tricky off-cambers up hill, etc... In this way, a rider that may have gotten fouled-up at the start, but who was strong and skilled, could still make the difference in the race. As an aside, Van der Poel is to thank for the two-way pit at UCI races, an idea that seems so obvious to us now, but was unknown in the 80's.
Soooooo, if there is criticism about the barriers, it should be more pointed at the race promoters, and not the riders who are using every skill in their quiver.
I also find it interesting that several posts were deleted here. As long as there wasn't any personal attacks of foul language, why the censorship?

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was censorship because someone doesn't like be called out on his totally obvious barrier placements to suit his own riding strengths and give himself an edge in the races. When you purposely set up barriers far apart to allow bunnyhopping, especially in a fast section, you are putting those without that skill at a major deficit. If you place the barriers at a reasonable distance, the person who dismounts and runs compared to the bunnyhopper will most likely have a negligible time difference from each other.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Howie, that's a helpful addition to the dialogue here. I'm not for removing barriers altogether, but it's interesting to learn the thinking behind the attempt to do that at the top level.

I think mountain biking and BMX has had a big influence on US cyclocross, and there's nothing wrong with that really. But as we grow our local scene, it's worth discussing how we want our courses to be laid out and how we want our races to be decided.

I'm saddened by the deleted comments, but I am still grateful that Dusty's writing on here and have fun at his races!

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for that one dude who made the anonymous post on the course designer. Clearly that guy had a bad day at that race. My favorite races are the courses that home boy puts together, and his writing is top notch. He should be praised for his work, bottom line.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't we all just get along?

R. King

Keep up the good work Dusty!!!

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul from the Northwest here.......
I must laugh at anyone who is complaining about hopping boards or obstacles being awkward. If you losers were here in Portland you would simply be peppered with jeers from the over 1000 racers we get each week. And there is a no crying rule you boys who even laid a complaint would be out. We have so many racers here they are just looking for another obstacle to deal with, not cry about!

See Ya In Bend,
soft Nor-Cal boys
You Guys Are Soft!

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Paul from the northwest,
Please send some rain down here so we can race in the mud again. And your right about the soft nor cal riders. At least some of them. :)

See you in Bend! And bring your mud.


8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bunny hoppin' ruined my 'nads.

-Dick Hertz

12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding all these whimpy comments about how bunny hopping boards is not ture Cross, or not in the spirit of Cross. The only ones who will ever say anything bad about bunny hopping boards are the people who can not bunny hop them. Lame people who are negative on a personal level and weak in the skills will always complain about things like this, instead of just giving props to the guys who can bunny hop. Remember, the only complaints you will ever hear on this subject are from the riders who can not do this skill. Instead of saying good job to the guys who can pull off this move, they will complain about it and complain it is unfair.

I must say that is very, very weak.

11:16 PM  

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