Sunday, 3 April 2011

Beginner's course 030411

I absolutely love proper beginners! Today I met Neil who had ridden for about 3 months and Michael who was off road for the first time on his brand new bike! Thankfully both knew how to ride a bike very well but also were completely open minded to learning all the core skills from scratch.

Michael's only experience came from watching videos on Youtube and with similar go-for-it attitude he showed no fear and rode everything without a moment of hesitation. When trying things for the first time and using the right techniques things seem very easy, it was therefore quite a good thing that Michael experienced a few crashes, not to put him off, but more to illustrate that it is quite a common occurrence to fall off when starting to ride off road and that is happens to all of us in the beginning. Thankfully he suffered no ill-effects and quickly got back on his bike for more action, even riding the big rooty drop in the end!

Neil on the other hand had already done his fair share of falling off in the months before the course and showed a slight tendency to want to use his brakes slightly too much. This improved for each time he rode an obstacle. First time slowly and cautiously and the second and third time allowing himself to gain more speed, building on his confidence each time until he was descending fast but in complete control. He also quickly mastered the power assisted front wheel lifts, a technique he hadn't been aware of until today, and with it managed climb best part of the slabby climb more aimed for the intermediate riders. He also rode the rooty drop, pushing the boundaries of what he would consider ridable further.

For both Michael and Neil knowing where to focus while riding proved possibly to be one of the most important skills they learnt on the course as it is crucial not only for turning but for descending, drops and singletrack too and absolutely essential if you want to be able to ride faster!

I'm very pleased with the progress of both these riders today having mastered everything on the course (and it is quite extensive!) and already look forward  to seeing Neil in June for the intermediate course and hopefully Michael too in the future!

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