Monday, 25 June 2012

Intermediate course 23/06/2012

It was lovely to see Matt again 4 months after him having done the beginners course and to see he had thoroughly got to grips with all the things he learned on the previous course. He was joined on the intermediate course by Nigel and Anthony, both with a lot of mountain biking experience. For all three the core skills required only minor tweaks and we were able to progress to intermediate level straight away. This consists mainly of stretching the skills to cover situations when the terrain present with many things happening at once or when relying on speed is impossible. For both situations track standing is invaluable as it gives the rider the ability to control the bike even when at a standstill instead of freezing up and dismounting.

The rest of the day was spent putting the frills on the riding by introducing bunny hopping and pumping the bike allowing for much more control over the front and back wheel separately. This was naturally followed by getting the wheels off the ground by doing jumps off a smallish drop. Up until the last descent we had had two punctures which by normal standard is a lot but compared to Thursday's puncture fest (5 punctures!!) wasn't too bad, but I spoke too soon as by the bottom of the hill I was the once with a flat rear tyre! All in all a great day with plenty of laughs and despite the really wet trails (some were like cycling through rivers!!) we ended up not too worse for wear back a the cafe.
Hi Emmy, Thanks very much for the photos and the reminder of the fun and enjoyment we all had on Saturday! Cheered me up following the depressing football last night. From my perspective, the day more than exceeded my expectations and the clarity and openness of your instructions and advice was very much appreciated. Thanks to you, I came home with a whole host of new ideas and techniques to put into practice on my local trails here in Sheffield and in the Peaks which I will be doing so, starting this evening as I tear up my rear lawn trying to get my rear wheel bunnies up!!! Thanks again for a very rewarding and very enjoyable course, made all the more pleasurable by the company of Nigel and Matt. Guys, if you are ever in my neck of the woods and fancy a day on the Peak District trails, please let don't hesitate to let me know. Kind regards all - and safe riding! Anthony

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Intermediate course 21/06/2012

Grey, drizzly and clammy would be one way of describing the day, but the participants more than made the day an absolute treat! I have always thought mountain bikers as being nicer than the average people based on my experience running the courses and today proved no exception. Toby and Chris turned out to be superb company and very quick learners. We were speeding along ticking one thing off after the next, until Toby got his first puncture. Thankfully the rain had eased off and it was nice having a leisurely chat while sorting the wheel out. It was only 10 minutes until his next puncture and we starting to think it was a bit funny! Add to that one more puncture from Toby and two for me and we had used up all the available inner tubes! Thankfully by this time we had accomplished a lot. By the end both Toby and Chris had evolved from being good bikers to being excellent bikers and not just being passengers on their bikes, but using the bike, pumping the trails and jumping off things to make riding more exciting and engaging! To top the good finish off even the sun came out and it started to feel like a proper summers day!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Beginners course 190612

What a lovely day! Fiona was what I would describe as a proper beginner without any kind of off road riding experience having just bought herself a mountain bike. It is always interesting to have people without any experience as it is impossible to tell in advance how well they will do on the course. Not only do they have to get to grips with being on a new bike, but also simple things such as setting off and stopping still demands concentration and combined with being on very unfamiliar ground makes for a very steep learning curve. The reward is massive though, as they suddenly realize they can actually ride quite difficult stuff and slowly (or quite quickly in Fiona's case who mastered power-assisted front wheel lifts pretty much straight away!) getting to grips with the different techniques that are required for different situations.

We started with the very basics and made sure the positioning was right from top to toe and (while Fiona tried to keep it all in her head!) added more and more stuff as we went along! At one point in the afternoon Fiona let me know there was no more room for new things so we began the route back towards the cafe making full use of her new skills and confidence. I am absolutely certain it won't take Fiona many rides to absorb and perfect the things we practiced and for her to confidently ride all the superb trails near her home in Hayfield!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Intermediate course 100612

We were so lucky with the weather! It was sunny and warm and despite 3 days of solid rain even the state of the trails wasn't too bad! It was a pleasure to meet Anna again who came for the beginners course before Christmas and also to meet Ian. Both were keen bikers wanting to put the little extra touches to their mountain biking skills and give themselves a confidence boost.

As always the intemediate course started with a steady long climb, interspersed with power assisted front wheel lifts training, wheelies and trackstanding to break it up a little. Once up at the top we had a play around in the quarry which is ideal for demonstrating the need to look in the right places as well as having to cope with very narrow and steep descents.

Just before lunch we started breaching the topic of "pumping" the bike and to demonstrate the extra boost (and to force them to stay away from the breaks) they rode a 500 m undulating section without breaking or pedaling and found the advantage (and fun!) of pumping the bike instead.

After a lovely pub lunch in the sunshine it was back on the bike (and I'd be lying if I didn't say my legs felt somewhat tired on the first climb!) and off to do bunny hopping and jumping as further illustration of what you can do by pumping the bike and both participants were very quick learners. As usual we finished with the Vertical Drop of Doom where Ian decided to give a complete demonstration of the different body positions that can be used (two of which didn't work very well but didn't put him off in the slightest!)

Thanks Emmy. I'm so pleased I went on the course. With a lot of practice I'll hopefully master some of my nemis' of riding! Whilst the prospect of some obstacles was scary you had a way that made it seem possible. You're very clear at explaining things and bring great fun into the course as well. I'll be recommending you to my friends again!
Ian's big crash at the end still has me laughing... ;)
Thanks and all the best, Anna