Saturday, 30 October 2010

Private session 291010

Tony and Kathy had started mountain biking this spring to have a sport to do outside of skiing season. Living in Sheffield they had already encountered rocky terrain while riding in the Peak District and also had experience of trail centers. We started the day putting all the basics in place and both of them found it a bit of a revelation just how much of a difference adjusting your weight on the bike can make. We also went through braking technique, tight turns and other core skills before moving on to some of the very challenging terrain available to practise on around here. They both managed to ride the rocky drops very well and were set for a faultless score card when poor Tony encountered deep wet mud as his front wheel dug in and threw him right over the bars! Apart from being covered in mud (with at least a kilo of it stuck to his helmet!) we finished the course with the last descent and returned to the car park mostly in one piece!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Beginner course 241010

On this gloriously sunny but cold day I had the pleasure of meeting Jen and Tim who came to get more confident on technical terrain. Jen had done quite a lot of riding before which showed as she was very comfortable on the bike and despite some initial hesitation at some obstacles did really well on everything! By making her aware of when and where to adjust your weight on the bike and where to be looking while riding  her confidence grew throughout the day while the terrain became harder and harder. We also added useful techniques to her toolbox such as power assisted front wheel lifts and tight turning skills. Unfortunately we only had the pleasure of Tim's company for about an hour in the morning as a freak SPD releasing incident left his lower back in painful spasms as an old back problem flared up. He was hugely disappointed to have to cut the course short (as were both Jen and I) at this point but I'm very much looking forward to seeing him again on a different day when his back has recovered sufficiently.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Beginners course 181010

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

Beginner course 121010

Robert and Chris were blessed with beautiful sunshine all day long making it extra nice to pick up some new mountain biking skills. They weren't complete beginners but had very little positive experience of technical terrain. Skills were quickly absorbed and their confidence grew while the terrain became harder and harder. Despite Robert claiming that he wasn't very fit, it didn't stop him blasting up some properly technical climbs! Chris was at first quite hesitant about one of the harder and very technical descents at the end. We had plenty of time for him to have many attempts and steadily he cleared more and more of the tricky bits and rode it excellently at the end. Both guys also did really well on the last drop off, with Robert unintentionally taking the most complicated route down I've ever seen but doing it in great style!

Hi Emmy
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.
Thanks again

Friday, 8 October 2010

beginners course 071010

Peter's bike looked amazingly clean and the reason for this was that it had never even touched the ground, being completely brand new! Peter had never been off road before but thankfully had plenty of experience of being on two wheels (roadbike and motorbike). He was a completely blank canvas and found adopting the techniques and applying them on harder and harder terrain very easy. I don't think he actually realized how well he had done as he doesn't have anything else to compare it with!
John on the other hand had a lot of experience, but found that he lacked confidence going over large rocky drop-offs after a bad crash up in Scotland. Even though his technique was already very good he found the beginners course useful as it went back to basics and allowed him to rebuild his confidence back up to his normal standard during the day. Towards the end of the day he was flying down the tricky descents braking the speed records!

Hi Emmy,
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

1 to 1 course 061010

Glynn booked a one to one skills day as his riding skills were already very well developed from years of riding in the Peak District. He came to work on specific things of which very steep descents was one. His desire to have a go at harder and harder stuff pushed the boundaries of what I normally would throw in on a skills course but it was needed to satisfy Glynns ambitions. Apart from a local grumpy farmer calling us "stupid" (he obviously couldn't see that we were in complete control of our descents!) it was a pleasure to work our way through the increasingly steep slopes. Glynn also wanted to know more about how to jump stuff so I introduced wheelies to practise holding the bars straight while in the air and bunny hopping to get him to use his body to shift the bikes position while in the air. Being very good at speed hops (he jumped at least a foot high) starting to bunny hop felt quite alien to Glynn but we managed to put the basics in place, enough for him to go off and practise on his own. It is a shame we haven't got any tabletops or man-made jumps around here but since the courses focus on mountain biking in natural terrain we made do with a one foot drop to jump off, trying out two different techniques. And finally I have to thank Glynn for making me do an endo, something I'd never thought of trying before and it was quite cool and not as difficult as I thought it could be!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Two days with Neil and Matthew

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

Beginners course 011010

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!