Monday, 30 July 2012

Beginners course 30/07/2012

As it is school holidays I took the opportunity to take my son William out with his friend Alfie on a beginners course together with Anne who was wanting to learn a few more skills after a cycling holiday in Turkey. Despite the ages varying from 12 years to 58 years the whole day went incredibly well with everyone really pushing the limit of their potential the whole day.

Anne was amazing and really developed quickly from just being comfortable riding gravel roads to doing drops and rocky descents in a very confident fashion, and enjoying it!

Alfie was the miraculous dismount ninja, with having quite a few scary moments when he decided to bail over the bars landing on his feet! He was gradually getting used to shifting his body around on the bike and rode all the steep steps and rocky descents confidently at the end.

William despite being the smallest took the advantage of being on home territory and having had his mother shouting advise from the last 4 years of riding and did me very proud by riding everything beautifully. I just hope it has inspired him to come out more often for rides rather than just one or twice a year!

Great day despite the rainy weather (and the rubbish photographer!)

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Intermediate Course 26/07/2012

Mark was back from Hong Kong to visit relatives and had decided to pack as many adventure sports into his holiday as possible. The result of which was visible by both wrist and ankle being tightly bandaged as he arrived in the morning! Thankfully this didn't deter him from coming on the course and despite a few problems with certain foot positions he did really well trying out the different techniques present in the intermediate course.

Jim who had already been on the beginners course and not fallen off once made up for it today! With plenty of spills to try and catch up with Mark on the injury department but thankfully nothing serious! Through out the day he kept mastering more and more techniques without having the slightest hesitation to try new things.

As usual in the morning we concentrated on situations where you need to be ahead in your mind to cope with several things at once, such as tight turns after drops and tight turns on tricky terrain, and also did power assisted front wheel lifts over big steps. I presented them with situations where speed wasn't an option to make them find their inner balance; particularly important for navigating very steep and narrow singletrack.

After lunch we concentrated on bunny hopping and its application in jumping etc and also practiced cornering on loose ground before returning back to the cafe way earlier than anticipated due to very fit and speedy participants and a very efficient lunch at my house rather than visiting the pub. Fantastic day with lovely weather and great participants!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Beginners course 21/07/2012

Military precision is the term I'd use to describe today's beginner's course! Not thanks to me but thank to Paul whose military background was an advantage when it came to learning mountain biking skills. Even though he mostly was giving orders when in the army he excelled at obeying instructions as well and pretty much nailed every detail on the first attempt! I was quite surprised when he said that some things he would not have thought that he could ride before coming on the course as he was riding everything extremely well. Look forward to seeing him again in September for the intermediate course!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Intermediate course 15/07/2012

I can immediate tell when I meet a fellow mountain bike addict and as soon as I met Sally I knew she was also one! She was on a works trip from Australia traveling all over the globe but couldn't cope with not doing any biking while being away, so booked a course! We were lucky to have nice weather (poor weather Australian standards but hey what can you expect with the worst British summer in history!) and the trails were slowly drying out from the recent floods.

Sally was at a stage where she was ready to move up a level even though she hadn't been mountain biking for much more than a year and the intermediate course was perfect for this. Being unafraid of speed and rocks, it was trying out some of the more narrow tracks that she hadn't encountered so much back home, that pushed her limits. These were soon done and dusted with as she wasn't one for giving up!

Track standing, wheelies and bunny hopping were all techniques where progress was made and she already wished she wouldn't have to wait until getting home to try them out more and practice; and I can just see her jumping off every little step, rock and ledge with a big smile on her face once she gets back home!

Fantastically pleasant and fun day, nicely finished off with some refreshments in the pub waiting for the train!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Beginner's course 13-07-2012

The fact that it was Friday the 13th didn't put Jim off booking on the course and as it turned out it was great day with no mishaps (apart from car trouble!) Having done some off road cycling already it was mainly to put the small details in place, such as slight changes to foot positions and showing him a few tricks to try and stay relaxed on the bike.

Every course I do I seem to talk more and more about how important it is to be relaxed as it is the key to being balanced and confident on the bike. By encouraging participants to look further ahead, asking them to relax their arms to let the front wheel go where it should go and making sure their body position is right, it is then just about exposing them to harder and harder terrain.

Jim picked everything up pretty much instantaneously and after only a couple of goes on obstacles he was getting things right and increasing his skill level as we went along. The rooty drop was no match for him at the end and he was pretty much ready for the intermediate course!