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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 11-21-13, 10:46 AM   #1
Niloc
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Cowboy or step through?

Which do you prefer? Or do you use both and decide depending on the situation?

I went to my first clinic last night (after my first race two weeks ago) so I'm pretty new to it. The clinic was great, an instructor pulled aside the beginners and our small group spent like 40 minutes going over dismounts, remounts, barriers, shouldering etc all the technical aspects that you don't use in regular road riding. I got some great hints and tricks I wouldn't have learned on my own or by watching youtube videos.

I guess the step through has fallen into disfavor among the elites, but our instructor, an experienced veteran, uses both, depending on the situation. The step through does seem like a smooth and elegant method to hurdle a barrier on flat ground went you want to approach and complete it at maximum speed and aren't too crowded. The way he did it there was very little change in his pace as he completed the maneuver. Anyways it was fun to practice it.

He said he'll use the cowboy when dismounting at the base of a run-up or a stretch of boggy mud or sand when you have to shoulder the bike and run and often there's a bottleneck of other riders.

Anyways I'm curious.
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Old 11-21-13, 11:06 AM   #2
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"Cowboy" is faster than step-through in all situations and that's why you shouldn't bother with step-through.

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Old 11-21-13, 11:34 AM   #3
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I usually just cowboy. I don't think I'm graceful enough to bring my leg through consistently. Some folks do a modified where they step down with their right foot even with, or just slightly in front of their left foot. Not enough video of my dismounts and remounts for me to know for sure how goofy I may look.
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Old 11-21-13, 12:12 PM   #4
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Step through is great until the time you don't get your left foot unclipped. Then it's not so great.
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Old 11-21-13, 01:41 PM   #5
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With all that's going on in a CX race, having to decide which way to dismount seems like an added layer of unnecessary complexity. At least to my simple mind...

I like to employ the "cowboy" in all matters of dismounting.

I should also point out that I'm new to this and i dismount on the right, so I clearly shouldn't be taken seriously.
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Old 11-21-13, 01:55 PM   #6
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i dismount on the right
So does Kevin Pauwels so you are in good company.
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Old 11-21-13, 02:43 PM   #7
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i dismount on the right
In spite of the use of the term "cowboy", it's a bike, not a horse. Get on and off in what ever way works for you.

I have three goals when I race CX- 1) Don't crash- 2) Finish the race- 3) Finish in the top.......... heck, who am I kidding? - just don't be last.
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Old 11-21-13, 04:40 PM   #8
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ok that's 5 for cowboy, 0 for step-through.

I can see it making sense to pick one method and stick with it. Cowboy does seem more foolproof. And at my level foolproof is good! Step-through did seem more graceful and I could see if done well, gives you a better running start. But hey graceful doesn't win races.

I could work a lot more on getting faster, managing corners, etc and make bigger gains than spending a lot of time tweaking the dismount. But hey I may as well pick a method and work on it during my daily riding.
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Old 11-21-13, 05:22 PM   #9
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step through requires a different frame. an Oma, not an Opa.

I can mount my Brompton and Bike Friday with a step-through motion.
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Old 11-21-13, 05:50 PM   #10
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step through requires a different frame. an Oma, not an Opa.

I can mount my Brompton and Bike Friday with a step-through motion.
very funny, do you take those out on the 'cross course?
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Old 11-21-13, 05:55 PM   #11
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Sure, to the Beer Tent .
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Old 11-21-13, 09:08 PM   #12
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Step-through did seem more graceful and I could see if done well, gives you a better running start.
But it doesn't. Your left foot is behind your right foot, so your second step is slower than if you just did a cowboy dismount.
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Old 11-22-13, 02:46 AM   #13
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Oh hell, I'll ask..........

What da hell is "Cowboy"?

Is a bunny hop = a cowboy?

And yes I tried to find ANYTHING on youtube and couldn't find a thing.
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Old 11-22-13, 07:31 AM   #14
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The "basic" technique that is discussed is cowboy, and the "advanced" technique is the step through. Watch closely and you can see the difference.
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Old 11-22-13, 09:22 AM   #15
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It's almost 2014 and people are STILL talking about the step-through?!?!?!?

Off top of head, the three fastest guys through a set of barriers are Trebon, Tim Johnson, and Wellens. Do any of them use a step-through? No. Does Sven effing Nys use a step-through? No.

Please, enough of this nonsense.
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Old 11-22-13, 10:12 AM   #16
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I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride. (Actually it's scandium, but that just doesn't flow.)
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Old 11-22-13, 11:40 AM   #17
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I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride. (Actually it's scandium, but that just doesn't flow.)
this song has been in my head on repeat since yesterday...
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Old 11-22-13, 11:52 AM   #18
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I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride. (Actually it's scandium, but that just doesn't flow.)
Mine's lugged and double butted...
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Old 11-22-13, 01:01 PM   #19
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Oh OK, cowboy = shouldering?

I couldn't help envisioning in thread above a cowboy carrying his horse over an obstacle!
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Old 11-22-13, 01:19 PM   #20
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I realized recently that my self-taught through observation dismount was a step-through dismount. Due to several near-misses (and one direct hit) on the barriers, where I was lucky not to be injured, I examined what I was doing and did some actual research on technique. Turns out the pros aren't doing a step-through, precisely because of the problem I had: if your cleats don't release smoothly, you could be in for a world of hurt. So I switched mid-season to the much safer no-step-through dismount. Currently, yes, I am slower, but that's because I've had very little practice with the new technique. Even if I'm never as fast with without the step-through, I don't care - it's simply not safe. But I'm sure that I will end up faster, losing the step-through means you can hit the ground closer to the barriers. My problem is that I'm new to the technique and a little shy of excess speed at the barriers after a few scary experiences.
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Old 11-22-13, 01:23 PM   #21
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Oh OK, cowboy = shouldering?

I couldn't help envisioning in thread above a cowboy carrying his horse over an obstacle!
Only really hard core cowboys carry their horse when the horse isn't up to the terrain. But, no, "cowboy" just refers to unclipping your left foot without bring your right foot through between your left leg and the bike. Personally, I unclip the left foot as I'm dismounting, but I hear some people unclip their left foot before swinging their legs over.
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Old 11-22-13, 01:52 PM   #22
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I hope I'm not the only one who's plowed into a barrier because he couldn't get his left foot out of the pedal in time. D'oh!

Last edited by caloso; 11-22-13 at 04:43 PM. Reason: pedal, not barrier
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Old 11-22-13, 02:44 PM   #23
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No sir you are not the only one.
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Old 11-22-13, 03:53 PM   #24
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I hope I'm not the only one who's plowed into a barrier because he couldn't get his left foot out of the barrier in time. D'oh!
I prefer to flop on the ground and roll into the barrier. Usually my foot comes dislodged around the time the bike slams into my hip, and then I can just get up and hop the barrier as originally planned. Smashing into the barrier gets you over quicker but sometimes you have to go back to retrieve your bike.
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Old 11-23-13, 10:10 AM   #25
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The only time I see people stepping through is at a clinic. I've tried it and don't like it so I cowboy all the time.

As for the driveside dismount I think it is a great technique to learn, especially if you have short legs and a tall bike, at Marymoor on the velodrome banks and Monroe on the hill it was way easier for me to get on/off on the right.
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