Thursday, 22 March 2012

Beginners course 220312

What a glorious day Paul chose to come from Nottingham to brush up on his off-road riding skills. It was very easy teaching Paul as he so quickly grasped everything from body positioning and braking techniques. Since he was the only one on the course (and physically so fit that we were miles ahead of schedule) I threw in some intermediate skills on top of all the beginners once, which he also quickly mastered.

 I often find that people who don't ride a lot with other mountain bikers assume everyone else are much more skillful and braver than they are. So was the case with Paul but by the end of the day I tried to make sure he realized that he had achieved a very high level as he effortlessly rode things that many of my friends would never dare to ride!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Beginners course 170312

Despite the forecast promising horrid rain all day the sun shone on John, Anthony and me pretty much the whole day apart from 10 minutes of rain and hail. It was lovely to show them our local trails as John who lives less than a kilometer away had up until now not discovered the fantastic bridleways and cheeky forest paths that forms such a fantastic network on this hillside. Anthony who is from nearby Manchester also hadn't been to the area before and was pleasantly surprised how beautiful the countryside is, coming out towards the Peak District.

The day progressed remarkably smoothly and we finished well before the scheduled time as both participants despite being very new to mountain biking mastered everything pretty much on their first attempt and with big grins on their faces! It is especially nice to see people suddenly realize that you can let your bike roll over just about any obstacle you find in your way by using the right technique. Today this revelation instantly resulted in higher speeds and more confidence in both riders. To make sure the higher speeds didn't result in more crashes we also put some time in practicing emergency stops as well as how to deal with skidding etc. Toward the end, as usual, I presented them with harder and harder terrain to allow them to try out their skills to increase their experience and confidence until it was clear that it was time to round the day up and finish on a high with a last descent back to the car park.

Hi Emmy
You may remember from last week that I was taking part in an adventure race up in Grizedale forest this weekend. 
It was a fun event (even if some of the run sections were a bit steep!) and the tips I picked up from my lesson last week were really useful on some of the tricky downhill single track stuff. I felt much more confident and relaxed. 
Thanks again for your helpful tips last week. 

Monday, 5 March 2012

Intermediate course 030312

The rain was lashing down as we set off from the car park in the valley and started climbing up the hill. It turned into horizontal snow by the time we reached the top and the trails were full of greasy mud. Did this mean that we had a bad time? Absolutely not, thanks to Greg and Catherine whose enthusiasm wasn't curbed by a minor thing like rubbish weather. Thankfully we could warm ourselves with cups of tea in front of the AGA in my kitchen halfway through the day!
As usual on the intermediate course we covered different techniques that aren't strictly necessary for mountain biking but will allow you to progress your riding much further once you have mastered them. One of these is track standing which both participants very quickly got the hang of, the other is bunny hopping where both of them almost immediately were able to lift both front wheel and back wheel of the ground. But we also put in a mix of challenges involving tricky climbs, power assisted front wheel lifts, drops, narrow steep descending and very tricky turns.
Towards the end we put the bunny hopping practice into good use for jumping off stuff and particularly Greg (as I predicted seeing his absolutely fearless personality earlier in the day) took to it like a fish to water and certainly made sure we ended the day on a high!