Sunday, 30 January 2011

Beginners course 290111

Lovely sunny day, but very very cold! That didn't put Jo off coming from Lincolnshire to attend the beginners course. It was immediately obvious that sport and the outdoors were Jo's big interests and she was completely fearless. Made my job quite easy as I could just point her the right direction and off she went! Most things were mastered at first attempt, even the power assisted front wheel lifts that sometimes can take a little while to master she immediately got the grasp of.

She confessed to being prone to brake a lot but it didn't take long for her to gain sufficient confidence to pick up more speed which in turn made the descending easier and a habit of braking too much was overcome. She had recently fitted her SPD pedals and at times struggled to clip in and unclip so to encourage her to stick with the pedals I taught her to do speed hops to take advantage of being clipped in.

Right at the end we took a lovely singletrack short cut which finishes with a very daunting series of drops which was the final challenge. Not many people have the courage to try it straight away but Jo decided to use the skills and confidence she picked up during the day and rode them very successfully. Despite the freezing conditions it was a very enjoyable day.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Beginners course 090111

Arriving at Roman Lakes, the starting point for the course, I immediately recognized Jennifer and Neil! We must have met at least 2-3 times on the trails in the last year and it was an absolute pleasure to spend a day with this lovely pair. It was immediately obvious that climbing wasn't a problem for either of them although Jennifer found it helpful leaning  forwards more to be able to use her lowest gear better. We also spent some time learning how to do power assisted front wheel lifts to further enhance their climbing abilities.

When it came to descending it was a matter of making them more relaxed and able to move their weight around on the bike. Steps and drops were quickly mastered by both of them. Neil had to concentrate on keeping his cranks level (common for people who also ride a lot on the road) while Jennifer was doing everything right but needed to build her confidence up on rocky descents. She gradually got there and managed to ride some particularly rocky trails very smoothly.

It was clear from the start that they enjoyed talking about skills and thinking about the benefits of small adjustments to where you look and bodypositioning, which made for a very interesting day with lots of good discussions about the physics of riding a bike!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Beginners course 060111

After a cold and snowy Christmas and New Year the ice had just left the trails in time for the first beginners course of the year. Gary had owned a really nice bike for the best part of two years but never got around to using it until now. And use it he did!  We started gently with the basics and Gary's old skills were resurrected and new ones quickly aquired. As usual the downhill bits were more appealing than the climbs and Gary certainly did the most of the descending and seemed to fly down most of the hills, rocky or not! The bike got a bit of a hammering losing both lights and mudguard but thankfully Gary himself made it through ok and can already call himself a proper mountain biker, mud and all!