Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Sunday, 14 November 2010
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
A quick change of the route and we managed to have lunch at my house to warm up a bit as the cafe down at Roman Lakes hasn't got any indoor seating area yet.
Thursday, 4 November 2010
Keith had phoned me the day before asking about how much fitness was required for the course and I reassured him that we would take it at a slow pace and that there would be frequent stops anyway. As it turned out I was the one struggling to keep up with him at times! As well as being way above normal fitness level for a pensioner, he also did very well on the technical aspects of the course and had a great attitude to having a go at stuff! He had a slight mishap at the very end of the day when the tyres gave way on some slippery leaves and he landed heavily on his shoulder but I'm sure he will be back on his bike soon.
Mike warned me in the carpark that he had a very cautious approach to technical stuff, preferring to get off and walk it rather than ride it and that despite a previous skills course had failed to progress on the technical riding front. I like a challenge and was expecting to have to spend a long time trying to convince Mike to ride stuff. But I was wrong! Often Mike and Keith were looking at each other smiling in "Does she really mean we should be able to ride that???"-kind of way when I demonstated stuff. However when they had a go using the techniques I showed them, they found themselves in full control and not being scared. By taking them on harder and harder terrain and making them repeat everything several times, especially Mike seemed to find a confidence that had been lacking previously in his riding. Being very local to Cannock Chase I'm sure he will be out soon riding all the things on the Monkey Trail he previously prefered to walk!
Monday, 1 November 2010
Saturday, 30 October 2010
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Husband and wife, Phil and Sarah, came to do a course to improve their off road riding. Phil had ridden road bikes for years and also some off-road riding, while Sarah was relatively new to riding off road (although very good at negotiating potholes on her daily bike commute). Her confidence grew as the day went along as she found it quite easy to put the techniques in place (apart from turning left!). Phil did really well on the technical and steep climbs and apart from not remembering to have level cranks (bad habit which is easily picked up if you ride on the road a lot), he quickly mastered things such as front wheel lifts and rocky descending. It was a wonderful day despite a couple of mechanical problems that thankfully could be worked around and my continuously streaming nose that necessitated frequent stops to get the tissues out. I can only thank them for their patience!
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Thanks for a great course yesterday. I went around Bakewell today and the first challenge was 5 big steps and 2 walkers watching. I went down them looking like I knew what I was doing. The rest of the day went well doing about 17 miles mostly off road. I would recommend this course to anyone.
Friday, 8 October 2010
I'm loving the Chase. Only completed Follow The Dog so far, but your course gave me he confidence to tackle the 'Weirwolf Drops' first time out. The people I ride with, who have been riding for years, were very impressed. As even some of them haven't done them yet!
Changed my pedals straight away when I got back from your course as well, what an ubelievable difference they make! Just changed my tyres yesterday as well, but haven't ridden them yet.
Really enjoying it!
Wednesday, 6 October 2010
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
Neil and his son Matthew had come for a two day session (beginner and intermediate) and couldn't have picked two more opposite days in as far as weather goes. Sunday was even wetter than Friday and it didn't stop raining, mostly really heavy rain, for the entire day turning every path to a river and making every surface slippery. Thankfully they both had done a bit of off road riding previously and we were able to do all the core skills as well as some jumping practice during the Sunday. Mostly it was about getting them to look in the right place and get moving about on the bikes more as well as riding very rocky terrain. Monday was as sunny and glorious as any summer day, complete opposite of the Sunday so I took advantage of Neil and Matthew's skill level and fitness and took them out for a proper Peak District ride, taking in massive climbs as well as very steep, rutted and rocky descents to push their skills to the limit. Matthew showed incredible determination during the climbs and got used to riding over rocks and ended up going faster and faster as the day progressed with a larger and larger smile on his face. Neil also pushed the limit and rode stuff he normally not would have considered riding. The trails were very flooded in places and traction was difficult on some of the climbs but it was more than compensated for by the beautiful view and warmth from the autumn sunshine!
Saturday, 2 October 2010
It wasn't the coldest day or the windiest but it certainly was the rainiest! Unbelievable amounts of rain fell and my backpack slowly filled up with water as the zip had decided to finally break! Gayle and Russell were wonderfully enthusiastic and thankfully very fit so we managed to complete everything on the beginners course as well as a few intermediate course things despite the horrendous rain. They did have to deal with very slippery conditions and paths that had turned into streams but still enjoyed themselves which bodes well for their future in mountain biking, but not only that, they also managed to apply all the right skills to ride very difficult terrain while making it look really easy. Despite the roots looking really slippery on the last drop off, they didn't hesitate for a second and rode off it with ease and in control. Great day despite the weather!
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Today I was joined by two very cautious women, Emma who only got a bike in July after 20 years of not cycling and Sarah who had fallen off her bike twice, both times resulting in fractures. The key was to gradually build their confidence up, sort out body positioning and other core skills. Sarah confessed to always going very slowly but found that with the right technique increasing her speed wasn't difficult. We progressed on rockier and harder terrain and steeper slopes and at the end she tackled the drop-offs and even enjoyed it! Emma had to get used to her saddle being higher and a new way of getting on and off the bike, something that sounds trivial but off road can be quite hard work. She had no problems with riding steps and drop 0ffs and also got faster and more confident as the day progressed. I was so proud when they both rode down the last descent which has plenty of scary features such as rocks, boulders, drop offs, mud and water. They looked really relaxed!
Thank you so much for the couse today. I've learnt so much about controlling the bike by weight distribution and I feel so much more confident tackling tricky downhills using the techniques you taught us. I only bought my bike 3 months ago after just over 20 years without one, so you must be a good teacher! I'd recommend the course to anyone wanting to build their confidence and learn some key skills.
Your blog post is a very accurate account of the day! I found it really challenging, but you were so patient and encouraging. I managed to do stuff that I would never have imagined myself doing, and what's more, it was fun!
A great day, in a great location, with a great teacher - thanks!
Sunday, 26 September 2010
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Monday, 20 September 2010
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Tuesday, 31 August 2010
Despite a wet start to the day, the sun eventually appeared along with very strong winds which nearly saw me ending a demo headfirst into a quarry! Dawn, Colin and Stuart had joined Chris and James from Saturday’s course to build further on their riding techniques on the intermediate course. Despite the groups mixed experience level (Stuart had been riding intensively for 5 years and Colin for 15 years, while James still was finding the mtb geometry completely different to the BMX he was used to) everyone managed to ride everything and most techniques were grasped quickly although obviously not perfected (nobody learns to wheelie in 10 minutes!). By the end of the day the group were fully aware of the "physics" behind mountain biking being able to put weight on back resp front wheel in bunny hops/front wheel lifts as well as beginning to compress the bike to make it light or heavy and the importance of smooth and constant speed. James and Chris had improved quite a lot since the day before despite their legs being very tired from biking two full days in a row. Dawn refused to be beaten by any climb while Stuart made everything look ridiculously easy!
Thanks for a great couple of days training, you've given me the
confidence and knowledge to try stuff I certainly wouldn't have before.
If I'd have attempted some of those descents we did on Sunday before I
would have certainly been off the bike loads, so I am really pleased
with the progress in a short time frame. I've already been practising
track stands on the back yard and will be out putting some of the other
skills in practice tonight.
Monday, 30 August 2010
After a few weeks holiday it was nice to get back to coaching again, although the weather could have been a lot better. Braving the rain showers Chris, James, Suzanne and Hef showed great enthusiasm and picked up lots of new skills as we attempted to ride harder and harder terrain. The morning was spent putting in place the core skills such as bodypositioning and where to look along the trail etc while in the afternoon there were plenty of opportunities to put the skills into practise! Everything was made quite a bit harder by being covered with really slippery mud! They all were confident enough to ride the big drop-off at the end!
Monday, 2 August 2010
Stuart booked his whole family in for a skills course as his boys were getting more and more fond of mountain biking. The boys picked up the skills very quickly and the same for the parents, so maybe it is genetic! It was particularly rewarding hearing the youngest at the top of the longest climb saying "I'm in love with climbing but I don't know why!". No participant has ever said that before! They are now practising their newly found skills around the Peak and will be back on Friday for the intermediate course!