Author: Fritz Stafford
Published: October 23, 2015
Barriers or Hurdles are a common feature in Cyclo-cross races, and they require several skills to negotiate efficiently: dismounting; steering and breaking while dismounting; carrying the bike; hurdling while carrying the bike; remounting. In some cases for the most skilled racers, it is possible to jump the barriers while mounted on the bike, and this always pleases the crowd, but it is risky. There is significant benefit gained when a skilled racer successfully jumps a barrier while mounted, but the benefits gained from multiple successful mounted jumps are more than negated by one unsuccessful mounted jump.
Barriers are allowed to be 40 cm high (15.75 inches), and it is popular in the local Boise CX races to use full legal height barriers to force the vast majority of racers to dismount and hurdle the barriers. However, there are other approaches to force the racers off their bikes with smaller barriers (which may be fairer for smaller racers): usage of multiple barriers placed close together; placement of barriers immediately following a turn – especially a left turn; placement of (multiple) barriers on a hill, or with deep sand in the take-off and / or landing; etcetera.
Three small barriers were utilized in the 2015 Eagle Island Cyclo-cross race. These barriers were placed close together on a small hill immediately following a 90 degrees right turn, and nobody attempted to jump them while mounted. I heard racers say after the race that they would have tried to jump the barriers while mounted, if there had only been two, but such talk is cheap.
Local racer Damien Salerno is known for his barrier mounted jumping skills, but the following series of photos show that Damien is also very skilled at hurdling the barriers. If you study the photos closely, you will observe that Damien only took two steps between the first and second barriers and another two steps between the second and third barriers.
The photographs included in this article were taken by Fritz Stafford. To see / copy the full resolution available in these “quarter resolution” images, click or tap the images to bring-up the attachment page, click or tap on the image magnifier located between the image title / filename and the image, and then right click on the image to copy (on a PC). Instructions to purchase the full resolution photos are available at Fitness and Grace Photo.