After a few weeks of poor weather it looked like the Ladies Beginners Mountain bike course was going to be rain free! Fingers crossed!
Holly had been given a gift voucher and although had ridden off-road several times before was keen to learn the proper technique to off-road riding. Liz is fairly new to mountain biking and was looking forward to learning the skills necessary to have fun riding 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 headed out. Firstly I followed them riding the Green trail just so I could see how they got on before we headed into the forest.
First thing we covered was 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 when braking. Holly and Liz could feel straight away that knowing a few basic skills made them feel more confident on a bike, especially when braking.
After this we covered the most fundamental skill to off road riding…….. the body position. Sometimes its referred to as the “attack” position”, I 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 riding. Before long they were both looking more flexible and relaxed and I could see their confidence growing.
Next we moved on to cornering. Firstly I got them all to ride a coned slalom course so I could see how they rode before giving them tips to make cornering much smoother and easier. It took a little time to get them both confident getting away from their saddles and leaning the bike away from them.
They both worked hard on this technique around the cones so we then introduced a couple of sweeping corners. Here we could work further on the technique of speed control, footwork, body position and looking. Both Holly and Liz were looking far more confident manoeuvring their bikes around and started flowing smoothly round the corners.
Next we covered gear changing and the basic technique to climbing with a smooth pedal stroke. Both ladies used their gears effectively to make it to the top of the climb with ease. With a quick breather we talked about descending and the body position which should be adopted to feel confident going downhill.
With lots of enthusiasm to learn more we headed to another area of the forest and introduced linked cornering. The section we used had a series of bermed corners on a gravity assisted piece of trail so body position, speed control and looking were all crucial. At first the ladies struggled a bit with getting their looking and footwork right as the trail took them a little out of their comfort zone. However, after a few tips and attempts their confidence grew and they started cornering with more flow.
To end the session we rode a small section of the Blue trail to see the improvements in their riding from the mornings Green run. Straight away it was obvious that they were both more confident. Automatically getting in the “ready for anything” position as they tackled the trail. They both flowed through the trail with good speed and eased around the corners.
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