Shouldering the bike: I promise that your pedals will jab you in the sacrum at some point in time, but it’s good to practice lifting the bike from the down tube onto your shoulder, placing your right arm around the front of the head tube and your hand gripping the left drop of the handle bars. This keeps the bike stable and allows you to use the momentum of the left arm to propel you. As a runner I learned that the momentum of your arms will actually match the momentum of your legs and vise versa.
Traction and handling: I haven’t seen a drop of mud yet this season as I’ve traveled everywhere except Portland, OR but I’m hopeful! Practice in as many varied places as you can even when it’s rainy outside. You will begin to get a feel for proper tire pressure, tire choice if you have the luxury and at what speeds you can take corners or technical terrain. Find your limits-crash a little and have fun, it will pay off in the races if you can relax your upper body and just follow the bike.