This Email from a BetterRide MTB Skills Student may Make You Mad!

A warning to you, if you have a big ego you might not want to read this. I heard from many people the Whiskey Off-road had super technical sections and half the field or more walked a lot of the course. Well Elaine and many of my students rode right by the walkers. They weren’t more daring, just simply in balance and in control, way to go Elaine!
Elaine’s email:
Hi Gene,

My husband, Zac, and I took your DH camp at Bootleg back in March and wanted to give you an update. I had been working on the skills on my local XC trails (Fantasy Island and Starr Pass). I figured otherwise if I only practiced on DH runs I’d hardly get any practice in.

Earlier this year I did the Whiskey off-road in Prescott. I was doing the 25 miler for fun, as I had never done it before. Took my camera along to take pics during the ride and everything. At the pre-race meeting they said we would have 2 really long downhills to ride in amongst all the climbing. So I was really looking forward to that! The trail was super crowded and I stood in line on the climbs for about 15 min before the stream of people got going again. Good thing I was only doing the event for fun and wasn’t racing and worried about a time.
I got to the first downhill and it was awesome! This was the first time I had to practice the new body position I learned in camp. No more stretching out over the rear tire. I had the elbows out, back flat, chest down and even though it felt a little strange because I was still getting used to it, I told myself to trust it and stay in that position. The trail was very loose with scree, but my rear tire was planted. Everyone in front of me was steering around the water bars and I was going straight over, passing when I could. I was watching the XC riders in front of me and it was scary. They were twitchy and all over the place and I just stayed in my body position, at some points at almost a track stand while I waited for them to get over an obstacle.

At one point the trail opened up onto a ridge down the mountain. Everyone in front of me was walking but I stuck to my guns and started down the hill. I called out to those down below “rider up” and they moved off the line as I rode down. Everyone was standing with their bikes as they hiked down and I rode by, and it felt like I was in my own personal World Cup and they were spectators on the side of the trail. It was awesome! I totally cleaned the DH and felt like a rockstar as the other riders watched.

Anyways, that has been my highlight moment so far. We have a couple of trips planned this year up to Sunrise and a week at AngelFire, so I’ll be practicing more skills.

Hope all is well with you!

Take care,


If you want to ride like Elaine or simply improve your mountain bike riding, invest in yourself instead of your bike and sign up for a camp today.

4 replies
  1. adam
    adam says:

    Elaine that is awesome. We took that camp together in bootleg so glad to hear you and Zac are ripping it up. These camps are the gift that just keeps giving.

  2. janey
    janey says:

    that is fricken awesome! I don’t know Elaine but I am so thrilled to hear about other women in this sport! Way to go! – btw I took the class in Madison recently and don’t have time to tell a long story but I will just add that this camp is simply the best! I am so much more confident in my ability. I cannot imagine trying to mountain bike without these essential skills! Great job to Andy!

  3. Rob
    Rob says:

    This is a perfect example of how DH riding skills enhances XC riding skills. As with a lot of people, XC riding is the first thing we all do because it’s (1) affordable and (2) it’s easy to get into. From there the progression is AM, FR, DH and even DJ. All of which will enhance your riding skills and it doesn’t matter what your main discipline is. I love riding technical DH and that is where the years of riding technical XC helped. DJ helped me in both XC and DH riding. I’m still an XC rider at heart and I love (and appreciate) when I see an XC rider tackling the same course/trail as a DH rider! Learning the various techniques will only make you a better rider. Nice job!!

  4. Robert Coombs
    Robert Coombs says:

    Good going Elaine, sounds like you had a great ride at Whiskey Off Road. I live in Prescott Az and have done Whiskey since 2004,50 miler 4 times and rest 25. It is a pretty tech ride but beautiful and lots of dh and xc.
    I agree with you on the waiting part as this was the first year I had to wait at least 10 min to get on the first trail. Bummed me out as I do all of that tech stuff and rock dh. The riders that can not ride the tech parts should get off trail for others.
    I have talked with promoter and suggested a staggard start when we have that many riders to help clear that.We’ll see next time….
    Nice to heare Elaine that your training helped!
    See you next year!


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