Michael & Neil’s Skills Session

March 18th, 2012 by

  Michael and Neil decided to make the most of the good weather we are having and booked on a pairs skills session. Both of them are experienced road riders/triathletes so very used to handling a bike on tarmac but realise that handling a bike off road is a different kettle of fish! Although they have been riding mountain bikes for about a year they wanted to learn the new set of skills needed to be able to flow fast and smoothly through singletrack. The morning began with a safety check

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on our bikes and a quick chat about the kind of tyre pressure required for off road riding. After reducing the psi in their front tyres we headed out to the trails. Knowing that both Michael and Neil were used to sitting comfortably on their road bikes the first thing we covered was the body position to adopt when mountain biking. When riding off road technical trails it is essential to get your body position/footwork correct so the bike can move freely beneath you so you are poised and “ready for anything” the trail may throw at you. Both of them grasped this quickly so we moved on to some braking practice and introduced the basics of cornering. To begin with we rode a flat wide corner to get the feel of getting the outside foot down. Michael and Neil had no trouble with which foot to get down round a corner so we quickly moved on to a singletrack section of linked corners. Here I got them to concentrate on moving their body weight and leaning the bike a bit more. It was then a quick blast on the Full Nine Yards to reach Stickler 2. Using one of the larger sweeping corners it

was time to put their new cornering skills in to practice. The first few times through were a bit clunky but with a few coaching tips they were riding it with a lot more flow. Next we looked at a tight “S” bend which highlighted the importance of looking. With Neil and Michael soaking up all the information well it was time to take in a few of the flowing trails and headed to the expert mountain bike area. Here we covered a bit about how to descend on narrow, loose terrain in a controlled manor. Having descended from the highest point in Swinley in was time to go back up so climbing up the wall with no run up certainly got the lungs burning. After catching our breath it was time to finish cornering with a blast down Deer Stalker which is always great to ride and start heading back to the Look Out. On the way we stopped off at the pump track to show how we can make riding more energy efficient by learning how to pump. Both had a few attempts and were getting to grips with it and with a bit more practice I am sure they will be enjoying coasting through bits of trail saving energy as they go. Thoroughly enjoyable morning. Great to meet you both and hope you get a chance to get out on the trails soon to practice 😀