The Secret to the Cyclocross Remount: Herb Brooks Knows It’s Not a Miracle

So, last week I killed a bird and gained a remount.  My mother sent me an email that said, “Poor birdie.”  My old friend Tej commented likewise.

Yesterday, I got my new racing bike.  The deal has been in the works for a long time, so for me, the novelty had worn off a bit.  I knew it was coming and I was patient.

I waited and relaxed.

Sal said, “When is it coming?” and I said, “It will come.  You have to be patient.”

It came.  It came and it was light.  And fast.  When it arrived at my door, I acted casual.  But when I was alone with it I held my breath and thought, “What the f— have I gotten myself into?”

It was late so I carried it upstairs (it was so light I barely felt it on my shoulder) and leaned it against our king-sized bed on the left side where Sal usually sleeps.  He is out of town, so I figured he wouldn’t mind.

In the morning I woke up at 4:45am before the alarm and looked over my shoulder at it – all carbon fiber and selle san marco saddle.   Intimidating, like a new lover with unlimited possibilities.

It was a bad day with the new bike.  The remount that had been so hard-won the week before was gone.  The new Veloforma, with it’s soaring euro bottom bracket was effectively taller than my old LeMond.  By a lot.

I took it to the clinic and flatted the new tubeless tires. Twice.  I couldn’t get rid of the stutter step.  Again.

I went home, got to bed too late, and sat in the shop in front of a container of Stan’s No Tubes with my head in my palms.  Sal called me and told me to give it time.  To take it out again.  To be patient.

I listened.

And in the early afternoon I set out for ‘cross park.  The park where I first learned to dismount.  The place where Sal and I practiced together in our first year.  It was welcoming and comfortable.

While I scanned the grassy expanse for small animals to offer skyward, I remembered how I’d figured this out in the first place.

Circles.  Endless circles of mounts and remounts.  The skill executed over and over and over and over.   Just when I thought I couldn’t turn another loop, I did.

Again and again and again and again and again.

Hundreds of them.

There are movies that you can never see too many times – and “Miracle” is one of them.  When I’m suffering, and when I think I’ve worked hard enough, this is the scene that plays in my mind.  Over and over and over.

I got the remount back. Bottom bracket and all. No dead birds.

This weekend I’ll head to Washington to continue the quest for my race legs.  It was cool today and perfect.

Bring me Starcrossed.


Possibly related (automatically generated) posts:

  1. Spiced Cauliflower Saute (the secret is in the cinammon) I’m not wild about cauliflower.  As cruciferous vegetables go, it...
  2. Short Track for Rookies: Dedicated to the Speedy Recovery of Colby Brooks Short track. PIR.  My first mountain biking race.  Seventh mountain...
  3. Sweet! Free Tires! (Second place in Cyclocross Magazine’s “Spirit of Cyclocross” Essay Contest) We interrupt our regularly scheduled protein and pull-up report to...
  4. Putting Boot Camp Fitness to the Test: First Cyclocross Ride Sal and I headed out to Forest Park last night...


  1. Do we get to see a pic?

  2. I’m still trying to get the remount going on my ubertall VF as well :) Good work!

  3. So, I am totally not a runner, not a fitness girl, not anything. This year I decided to try something new…signing up for my very first half marathon. The furthest I have EVER run in my life is 3 miles in freshman gym class. That’s it.
    I am so inspired listening to you learn a new sport, I’m ready to try, at the ripe old age of 33!

  4. I love that movie. Congrats on the remount!

  5. I’ve had a really tough time learning the remount. I finally made a breakthrough by thinking about launching off the right foot.

    I checked out some YouTube videos of pros remounting and I noticed they were launching off their right foot. I took some screen grabs and posted a some of the shots here (along with a stick figure remounting animation, and subsequent fall):

    Congrats on the new bike!

  6. So, I’m trawling the net looking for advice on nailing this darn remount and I saw “the-secret-to-the-cyclocross-remount” by my fave (that title is reserved for who I am repling to :) ) blogger…

    So the only advice you can offer (or Sal can offer) is to be patient??? My inner thigh is black and blue!!!

    Maybe I should watch that film. Are there any clues in there?

  7. Watch everything you can get your hands on, ask people for tips, look at instruction videos online. But – at the end of the day?
    Repetition repetition repetition repetition.
    There’s no black magic, just practice (not patience, practice!) : )

    My breakthrough moment came when I started doing the remount from the drops instead of the hoods. I don’t know why that worked but for some reason it helped me get my hips in the right place.

    Of course, that was after about 100 slow walking practice attempts. All the people who teach it recommend starting slow to get your footwork down and then gradually increase speed.

  8. Thanks :)

    I’m watching… U-toob… wend… 9-ball diaries… USGP footage… everything i can find.

    It’s coming. But still…
    out of 10 tries

    1 – I nail it
    2 – It nails me
    7 – that damn douple tap really bugs me

    it’s moving in the right direction.

    Practice and patience, it’s still 4-5 months til the start of the season :)

  9. I love this post…the visualization of you out there practicing over and over and over again is excactly what I do when the autumn crisp nights arrive. Kill the double tap by launching from your left foot.

  10. This is funny as hell. I was doing these same laps last night until my crotch turned into hamburger. Then I found this site today.

  11. out of ten my stats are still the same
    but… I can run faster than most and do a smoking dismount.

    I’ll keep trying though.

%d bloggers like this: