Mountain Bike Coach Reviews Keep Pouring In

Two emails from one of our latest mountain bike camp taught by our newest BetterRide certified mountain bike coach, Andy Shabo.

“Tale of the broken gear and my better ride clinic
First thank you to Coach Andy Shabo. Great job teaching and helping each of us in the group understand what we were working on. We had a great time learning and riding. The skills training and the sessions on the trail were fantastic to tie the drills to the trails.
At the end of day two, I wanted to go ride a trail that I had not ridden to my satisfaction. I missed climbs, wasn’t smooth and didn’t accomplish what I wanted to on my first attempt (Before the clinic). Using my vision, I road the first / warm-up trail with confidence and smoother than I had ever ridden. Now I was ready for the redeem myself ride.
I entered the trail that I was going to redeem myself on, went a ways into  the trail and bent my climbing gear. It was unusable as was the next hardest gear. I walked the bike to the bottom the hill, got the chain up to a granny gear and climbed the hill with “stuff” in it. An accomplishment for me. While I could have probably finished the trail in the granny gear, I decided to go to the first usable gear in the middle of the cassette. This was not a climbing gear for me and certainly not with technical elements.
Riding the trail with this new challenge, forced me to rely on my new skills. I simply had to use vision to ride the trail and stop micro managing elements that really didn’t matter. At the base of the next short climb, I became determined to ride the rest of the trail in this not a climbing gear. Using the skills from the morning, I was able to carry speed into corners and up the short burst climbs like never before. I was getting over the obstacles in the trail, even while climbing. The end of the trail came and I was able to reflect on how much I had really learned and was able to apply at the end of day 2. I completed the trail riding smoother, making all of the obstacle and climbs that I missed before the class,  without the gear(s) that I thought I needed.
The rest of the clinic was excellent. I am looking forward to practicing these skills to make my trail riding more fun. While it really stunk to bend a gear, the experience really made me realize how valuable the skills and teaching really is. Andy was fantastic.
The attached picture is the gear bent in the cassette
Thank you
Rick Borden
Manchester clinic 9/6/2013 to 9/8/2013″
"I just wanted to drop a line about this past weekends class in New Hampshire.  It has been a few
days since the class has ended and I have been able to get out and ride and do the drills.  I have
noticed a huge improvement in my riding ability and my longevity on the bike.

Give huge kudos to Andy Shabo for his patience and constant reminders about sexy elbows and vision.

I wish I had taken this class 10 years ago.
Andrew J.

I would like to thank Andy too as without his coaching and enthusiasm we would not be able to help as many determined riders improve! Thanks Andy!

3 replies
  1. Randall Maddox
    Randall Maddox says:

    Got home Sunday night and was stoked. Set all skills areas within a few blocks of our home in a downtown area. Did skills Monday and today. Vast improvements. Set up a bunch elements that I can incrementally better on. Today I pedal wheelied over 2 stacked RR. About 12 inches. Left pedal hit 1st time but I made it. The proceeding 2 times were really smooth with the help of some positive self talk. This stuff works! Thanks.

  2. Dean Williamson
    Dean Williamson says:

    Hi Gene,
    Thanks for the thought provoking and discussion inspiring article!
    After reading comments from Lukelus, Ric, Greg Mazu, PTBA Member, Ffelix, Itgotweird, and Dawn; I now realize that it’s even worse than I had previously thought!
    Their comments also helped to add some understanding and perspective to IMBA’s recent abandonment and throwing under the bus of the Sedona Mountain Bike Club, an IMBA chapter with over 70 members. The Sedona incident was so bizarre and unwarranted, that it prompted me to demand and receive a full refund of my IMBA dues, dating back to the day I joined. I felt then, and still believe that my payment of membership dues to IMBA had been accepted under false pretenses.
    Prior to reading your article and all of the comments today, I was already all too well aware of IMBA’s propensity to build wheel chair accessible “mountain bike trails” as well as their penchant for dumbing down formerly great, intermediate and expert level trails in the name of “maintenance”, “safety”, “flow” “sustainability” or “co-operation with land managers”.
    It is my belief that the original trail builder(s) should get to determine the routing and level of technical challenge of a given trail, and that obstacles or features should neither be added or removed by others. To place a cheater rock (or handicap ramp, as I like to call them) in front of a rock ledge step up, pry a large rock out of the tread of the trail, sledge hammer something flat, or create a bypass around an obstacle all qualify as trail vandalism in my book. If a section of trail is routed straight down the fall-line, and changes over time from being rideable, into a huge, deep, un-rideable, boulder filled erosion rut and maintenance nightmare, that becomes a different story. But if a section of trail is far too challenging, or has a level of exposure that is too much for someone to handle, they should either find another place to ride, walk that section, or better yet, take a Better Ride skills clinic or three, and learn how to properly ride that section of trail!
    I also believe that trails are art. To me, they are 3 dimensional, interactive sculptures, which are only complete when they are in use. Using this “trails as art” perspective, let me share an analogy with all of you: First off, NOT EVERYBODY IS AN ARTIST, and likewise, NOT EVERYBODY can build a great, or even a good trail. If a really great, properly designed and well built trail, that is fun and challenging to ride, can be compared to a masterpiece like the Mona Lisa; which was created by a single great artist; then perhaps we could compare a club “trail work day” to the third grade class painting a mural on their classroom wall. Like the third grade mural, some parts of the club built trail will be really amazing, while other parts of it will frankly suck pretty badly. Now, compare that to a trail built to IMBA guidelines. What kind of art uses guidelines? Yes, that’s right, coloring books! And last time I checked there were no pages out of coloring books hanging on the wall of the Louvre beside the Mona Lisa…
    So, if you want really great trails, have them built by a single great trail artist, like the trails that Brent Thomson carved out of the rocky, jagged mountains surrounding Bootleg Canyon, in Boulder City, Nevada. If you want moderately interesting trails, with a wide range in the quality and style of the construction, get your local club to build them. And if you want crappy, generic, soul-less, coloring book style trails without too much coloring outside the lines, turn your trails over to IMBA… just be prepared to pay a huge pricetag in both terms of $$$ and future land management control and choices!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *