Mountain Bike Skills Session with Sally

October 18th, 2013 by

Sally has previously been riding canal paths, wide tracks in the New Forest etc but has recently found the new Blue trail in Swinley Forest. Some of the trail features were proving a little tricky and thought a 1:1 lesson would be a good idea. We began the session with a quick briefing about Swinley Forest followed by talking about the bike set up and completing a safety check before setting off. To start with we went through the “control/ready for anything position” on the bike. Off the saddle, balanced over the centre of the bike letting it move around beneath us. Sally got to grip with this in no time and felt it made a huge difference to feeling in control riding along the trail. We then started moving our weight around the bike to introduce where her body position should be to gain the best traction from our tyres when we want to turn. Before climbing up part of the blue trail we went through how to change gears smoothly as well as the technique to use for getting to the top of climbs. As we rode to the next bit of trail Sally was starting to automatically get out of her saddle to smooth out the trail and have more flow. Moving on to cornering we started with a simple one just to get the basics correct. It took a few attempts to get her body position correct but Sally was soon looking confident leaning the bike over.

Sally - 1st try. Footwork good but more lean needed on bike

Sally – 1st try. Footwork good but more lean needed on bike

Sally - Better position on bike for cornering

Sally – Better position on bike for cornering

Moving on to the four corners gave Sally the opportunity to practice making the quick transition from a left hand corner to a right hand corner whilst controlling her speed. It also introduced the importance for looking down the trail and accentuating the lean of the bike to get it around tighter corners. (more…)

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MTB Skills Coaching with Adam – 11th June 2013

June 15th, 2013 by

Adam used to do a lot of road riding but with the roads being quite unpleasant to ride on due to too many dangerous and impatient car drivers he decided to start riding off road. Like many of us once you have tried mountain biking you love it. Adam booked up a skills session as he had started competing in a few mountain bike endurance races and wanted to learn a few tips to get faster and more efficient on the trails. We started back to basics to iron out any bad habits he may have picked up. The first skill we worked on was his body position on the bike…..”control” or “ready for anything” stance and how to adapt this to get round corners. Straight away Adam found it much easier to move the bike around by being out of the saddle and shifting his body weight. By adjusting the position of his brake levers also helped with braking. We covered cornering next, starting simple to get the technique correct. Adam was pretty smooth cornering to the left but needed to work harder on the right hand corner as he tended to dip his shoulder and not shift his body weight over enough. The 4 corners gave Adam the opportunity to practice making the quick transition from a left hand corner to a right hand corner whilst controlling speed. Adam worked well through the corners and looked confident moving away from the saddle and leaning the bike over more as the trail tightened so he could get the best grip. P1120386P1120393               Once the 4 corners were mastered it was on to “Stickler” with the many singletrack corners to work through where you need smooth pedal strokes to transition between each corner and focus ahead. Here we also introduced a bit of pumping so we could gain free speed

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just by using the energy we put into our bikes. P1120405 Adam was using his footwork well to corner but did start going back to his saddle whilst in the corners so we worked on getting out of that habit before we moved on to a bermed tight s-bend to put all the earlier work on cornering into practice. P1120400P1120408                 To manage these corners well and to keep a good flow and momentum it was important to be focused, looking for your exit, footwork and leaning the bike. Adam’s first attempt took him a bit high on the first exit because he was not looking far enough around the corner for his

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exit which made it more difficult to keep momentum and tackle the second corner. He needed to scan all the way round the corner to the exit, turning his hips (steering with his belly button) and leaning his bike over. Whilst coaching we watched a few other riders come labouring through these corners having to pedal and waste energy. One rider fell off purely from the fact of being sat in his saddle, entering the corner too fast, not in the correct body position and not looking. Luckily he didn’t hurt himself but it gave us a good example of how not to corner! So with a few more coaching points Adam was coasting around these corners with ease whilst conserving energy but not losing any speed. P1120413To practice pumping the trail a bit more we rode a section of “Tank Traps” without pumping, then re-rode it pumping. Adam was getting more efficient at this skill and could feel the free energy and acceleration he was getting. On the way back to the car park we looked

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at how reading the trail ahead can help build up a picture of what may be ahead. At the end of the coaching Adam was much more relaxed in his shoulders/elbows, his footwork was good and he felt he was gaining speed and cornering far more efficiently. Good luck, practice and enjoy 🙂

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1:1 Session with Dan before his trip to the Alps

July 30th, 2012 by

Dan has ridden at Swinley a number of times before, so knew a few of the trails. He’s going to the Alps soon so wanted to just get a few pointers on his skills before hitting the mountains. We covered the basic safety checks and briefing before heading out to the trails. We spent a short while just focusing on the control position, braking and bike set-up; adjusting the

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brake levers to enable easier reach. We discussed the idea of the platform for your feet, and how you adjust this as the terrain become steeper, while still focusing on the “under rotation” Basic cornering followed the braking exercises; here we corrected a few habits that Dan had picked up, with straightening the leg out and pushing the body back over the back of the bike.

Missing the hip shift, so unbalanced.

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