Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Beginners course that turned into intermediate course!

James had booked in for the beginners course but with a lot of experience of mountain biking already, I suggested we would do the intermediate course but with extra emphasis on core skills. The luxury of being the only person booked on the course is of course that it can be tailor made to suit the individual! He happily agreed. Once we got up on the hill he quickly got the hang of difficult descending, timing drop-offs and smooth speed control, which was good since the weather yet again was against us. Today it was even snowing! After lunch James cleared the boardwalk of doom, thanks to his nice drag braking technique and good balance! Not surprisingly he had a BMX background which really showed in the bunny hopping and jumping and his overall very good perception of what he was doing on the bike and what slight changes might be needed to achieve perfection!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Intermediate course 29/03/10

It is about time to have some before after photos of a group!

Before: clean, happy, energetic with slight nervousness in the air but ready to go!

After: Muddy, wet, tired, relaxed, even happier and thoroughly bonded as a group!
Lots of skills learnt and even more to go home and practise on! Martin, Angela and James showed that even despite the horrible cold, wet and windy weather, fun can be had on bikes!

Beginners course 28/03/10

Ross, Paul and Peter came and together created a great group for skills training, in the nicer than forecasted weather. (Although it didn't feel quite as warm as the picture seem to be saying looking at Ross's bare arms and legs! Brrrr!) They all quickly soaked up every technical detail and we had the opportunity to add on some of the intermediate stuff to keep pushing the boundaries. No crashes, but Paul after having easily rolled off the largest drop-off decided seconds later due to an "SPD moment" to take a dip in the wettest and muddiest puddle just minutes before the end of the course finish, just to make sure he didn't return back clean!

Monday, 22 March 2010

Boardwalk success!

For the first time since starting the intermediate courses a participant finally managed to ride the boardwalk! The boardwalk is in my back garden and was built to my specification to be a bit difficult......understatement! It is very difficult but thankfully not scary as it is only just above ground level. I have been wondering for a while now whether to try and make it easier, but thankfully Brian showed yesterday that it can be done! No photos of it which is a shame!

Got a photo of him riding the largest drop-off on the course. It is quite amusing seeing peoples faces when they first have a look at the drop. I can see it in their eyes that they are seriously in doubt whether they want to have a go or not. Brian was no exception! Once they realise that the technique is the same as for the smaller drops and they try it out, this one doesn't feel much harder and the enthusiasm is written all over their faces!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Getting quite busy!

Today was the fourth day in a week I was doing a skills day! Despite not covering miles and miles during the courses I can actually feel my fitness improve!

Earlier this week I had the oldest participant so far who was 72 years young! A rugged and experienced mountaineer, he was adding off-road riding to the numerous adventure activities he has experience of and very well he did too. Despite having to use one of my bikes as it turned out his had two broken spokes he did both steps and drops and some climbs in between! And didn't fall off once!

Today I had the pleasure of having Martin on the course (pictured) who is later doing the mountain bike leader training at Mountain Bike Instruction. His aim was to make sure there were no gaps in his skills knowledge before doing the leadership course and I'm glad to say he did very well through out the whole day and hopefully will have good use out of his newly aquired skill of lifting his front wheel over the most evil looking obstacles on the climbs!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Dry trails!

A week without rain and plenty of sunshine made for a glorious day with in some places even dusty trails! Dave came to brush up on skills lost during a long time of not mountain biking while Dean & Greg came up from the south to learn to ride some more technical terrain having started to ride off-road six months ago.
Greg showed that with the right technique you can use a rigid bike (no suspension) for even the most challenging obstacles! To sample the regions rocks we went up and then down one of the characteristic slabby hill climbs of the Peak District and I got the distinct feeling it was more popular going down it rather than up it! Dean and Greg stayed for an extra day to take in more of the regions mountain biking and practise their newly acquired skills and I'm sure they'll miss the rocks when they return home!