Sunny Day for Coaching MTB Skills

March 17th, 2014 by

  With the trails drying out and the sun shining it was a good day for coaching. Barbara and Ian ride a lot on the road but are getting more into mountain biking. They are planning to do the off road Coast to Coast route this year and wanted to pick up some tips and techniques to be able to flow through the trails and ride for longer. With the welcome and briefing about Swinley and the ground nesting birds covered we went through our basic safety checks (M check), helmet checks and a bit of bike set-up before heading out to the trails. Starting with a little warm up and a slight climb we briefly covered the basics of climbing/gear changing smoothly before focusing on the control position, braking and bike set-up. Brake levers adjusted to assist with the under rotation of the wrists. Basic cornering followed. With changes to the body position, “dropping your outside foot” and “looking” helped Barbara & Ian start to flow around the corners. We corrected a few habits, and got them to move away from their saddles and lean the bike. P1130468P1130462 Once they were happy with the concept of being balanced around the corner, we then moved across to the single-track 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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All Day Session with Rob

July 30th, 2012 by

Rob rides regularly in the local race scene, including the Gorricks and Southern XC Series. He’s been finding that while he has the fitness to keep up on the fire roads and straighter parts of single-track, when things get technical, the other riders were pulling away from him.

As always 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 brake levers to enable easier reach.

Basic cornering highlighted the issue that Rob was staying in contact with his saddle, for most of the cornering, which was restricting his cone of movement.  We spent a bit of time focusing on getting the balanced position for the corner, as well as using the hips and heels to increase the corner grip and control.


After linking the four corners together, we then focused on line choice, through the corners, and how you can broaden out the corners and use the berms to your advantage, and not have to brake so much through the corners, allowing you to flow smoother throughout the trail. (more…)

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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 😀

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A chilly pairs session

February 3rd, 2012 by

Karl & Ian A freezing session today – a balmy 0deg C – Karl and Ian had ridden at Swinley a few times before, but mentioned that they were struggling with the bermed corners, and maintaining the speeds. After basic bike and kit check we headed out towards the trails. Initial 30mins was spent assessing and correcting basic body positioning, bike set up, braking techniques and cornering. Once we’d removed a few old habits, and got them thinking about how they were riding we were then on the linked corners in the single-track. (more…)

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Pairs Session 29th Dec – Neil & Jason

December 29th, 2011 by

Great Pairs session today at Swinley, the weather held off and the trails were

not the normal mud fest for December. Session focused on body position, cornering, and looking. We started at the

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top of the Full Nine Yards, sessioning the

first 4 corners. Progressing onto Stickler and the tight switch-back. More to follow …

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