Ladies Beginners Course 1st September 2012

September 26th, 2012 by

A slightly overcast morning in SwinleyForest for the Ladies Beginners Course but the sun did make an appearance! Catherine had ridden at Swinley before but is fairly new to mountain biking. She wanted to learn the basics to enable her to go mountain biking with her husband. Louise and her daughter Tasmin where new to Swinley and mountain biking and wanted to learn how to ride safely off road. After a safety check on our bikes making sure they were in good working order and making a few adjustments to brake levers so they were easy to reach we cycled out into Swinley Forest along one of the fire tracks. Firstly we covered gear changing and the basic technique to climbing. After a few minutes playing with gear changing and pedal stroke we rode a small climb using our gears as we went. All of the ladies used their gears effectively to make it to the top of the climb. They all found that gear changing and a smooth pedal action

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is a good thing to master to make hills easier. After this we covered the most fundamental skill to off road riding…….. the body position. Sometimes its referred to as the “attack” position”, I

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prefer “ready for anything/control” position which does what it says………you are in control and ready for anything that you may encounter on the trails. It took a few minutes for them to really feel at ease in the “ready for anything” stance as they had been used to sitting on the saddle when cycling. Before long they were all looking more flexible and relaxed and I could see their confidence growing. Following on from this we then talked about braking and the best way to brake efficiently and in control. We did a little exercise with braking to show how important it was to have your body weight in the right place. The group were quite surprised that knowing a few basic skills made them feel more confident on a bike. Cornering was next. First, I got them all to ride a coned slalom course so I could see their current technique and any bad habits they may have. It also gave the group a bench mark so when they rode it after my coaching they would hopefully be able to see an improvement in their riding. All the ladies worked hard to get the technique correct on a flat sweeping corner and when they revisited the cones they all rode the course much better which was great. With lots of enthusiasm to learn more we headed to another area of the forest and introduced linked cornering on a small circuit. At first the ladies struggled a bit as we introduced a narrower trail which had corners in quick succession. With a few more tips and plenty of go’s they were putting their new skills together, linking the corners well. To end the session and as the groups confidence had come on so well I thought I would challenge them a bit further with a “trail feature” they may come across in the forest i.e.: a “roll” in. We started small to build confidence and to get them use to adjusting their body position correctly. I then gave them the choice to move to a slightly steeper roll in. They were keen so after a quick recap of body position they had a go. With a bit of feedback on their riding, each time they road it they looked more relaxed and confident. A very enjoyable morning and for me as a coach it’s lovely to see the confidence grow in all of the riders as the session progressed. Hope to see you out on the trails soon. Have fun 🙂