Cool New Website on Learning Vacations!

Wow, Zach might have out “life” designed me! First he started and built my favorite surf school in Costa Rica in his early 20′s then he starts a new venture reporting on cool learning vacations all over the world! If that wasn’t enough he has a very cool girlfriend sharing his travels with him.

Check out his new project and his interview with me at

My favorite surf, yoga, Spanish and photography school


Update On BetterRide Mountain Bike Students and Coaches

It has been an amazing year so far and I am feeling more fortunate than ever to have such great coaches working for BetterRide and to meet and help so many riders improve and reach their goals. Here is a quick update on life at BetterRide.


Checkout this thread:

I love what they are saying about our head coach Andy Winoradsky and Certified Coach Chris Skolnick!

A few highlights:

“I’ll write a more detailed review when I’m not exhausted, BUT, I will say that:

1) I am already a better rider after the clinic.

2) I expect with some practice of the skills I learned I will be MUCH better by mid-summer.

3) i only thought I knew how to ride a bike. Halfway through day 3 something clicked and everything felt new and better and totally awesome.”


“I attended the Better Ride clinic at Walnut last year and absolutely loved it. Some of the best $600 I’ve ever spent. I agree with the others – it totally opened my mind to a new and more effective / efficient way of riding (especially the cornering). It did more for my riding than any bike or component upgrade ever has!”


Coach Jacqueline Harmony just won the Pan American Championships for the second year in a row!

BetterRide Athlete and Coach Jackie Harmony Wins Pan Am Championships!

more here:


Student finds mountain biking nirvana:

“I wanted to let you know about my recent brush with mountain biking nirvana but first I need to ask you….
We’re home but not before a few days of riding in Tucson. I, like you, spent the last three weeks or so of March sick with a sinus and chest infection so my riding was limited. I felt pretty good when we hit Tucson so off we went to fantasy Island with the hope that my strength had returned. Turns out I was hitting on all cylinders and ripped it up. My main purpose was to look down the trail to where I was going not where I was. I took all the descents out of the saddle and at full throttle with a level of confidence I had yet to experience. My climbs were stong and done with spirit fingers, my cornering was best it’s ever been. I came close to that same place, that nirvana, I reach on those days surfing when the waves are big and glassy with great form and I’m on it. It was truly a brush with mountain biking nirvana and I am convinced that the only way to reach mtb nirvana is to look ahead and the rest will follow. It’s the same in surfing. Idon’t look at my feet or the water at the end of my board, I look at where I want to go and the rest, the balance the weight shifts the balance everything just follows.
Of course I have lots of work to do but to touch mtb nirvana for while was truly amazing. It is why I have surfed all my life and it’s what I want out of mtbing. I have never competed surfing, I am more of a soul surfer and I may not ever compete mtbing I am probably more of a soul biker.
I did a beautiful coaster wheelie over an 18″ drop at a local trail yesterday. It just keeps getting better.
Anyway, just wanted you to know how it’s going and thanks again for the clinic and I hope this wasn’t too new age for you.

All the best,

More students reaching/exceeding their goals:

If you follow our facebook page ( you know I recently did a Core Skills 2 camp with a select group of our students, two pro racers, Graeme Pitts and Trevor Trinkino, and three 16 year old juniors, Luca Cometti, Dylan Unger and Mckay Vezina. Well the three juniors raced the next weekend at the Fontana National and took 2nd, 3d and 5th in Jr. Ex! At the same race Betteriders swept the women’s pro podium with Jackie Harmony winning, Gabriela Williams second and Margaret Gregory earning the bronze medal!

Then Graeme Pitts won the Keysville Classic for the second year in a row! The only other student the Core Skills 2 Camp, Trevor Trinkino has yet to race this season as he is finishing up is second semester as CU Boulder. I expect to see similar results out of Trevor as he is one determined and focused young man.

On the XC side Erica Tingey won the Cactus Hugger and Jen Hanks earned a third place finish! Congratulations to both of you on a great start to the season!

Erica on her way to victory!



Thanks Andy! Your MTB Coaching gets Some Amazing Feedback!

Maybe I should just let our certified coaches do all the coaching! I did my best to only invite riders who I felt were friendly, patient and good communicators to go through our certification process but they all continue to impress me with comments from their students. Checkout these two comments from the BetterRide facebook page ( ) from Andy’s camp last weekend:

Andy thank you so much! The camp far exceeded my expectations. Learned so much. Time to practice. Great group of people. = ]
Cole Johnson
Andy, thanks so much! Me, my dad, Cole, and Chase had so much fun! I’m so much more ready to tackle the race season and put all my new techniques to use on the courses up here! Defiantly the best coach I’ve ever had in any sport and the most I’ve ever learned in 3 days.
Keenan Charlton

That is the second time students have said that Andy provided the best coaching they have ever had in any sport! I am so fortunate to have such great coaches working for me! Thanks Andy!

How To Ride MTB Trails that Seem Overwhelming

It is easy to get overwhelmed looking at the big picture of some trails (“wow, it is just one challenge after another”) but breaking it down step by step makes it much less daunting!

I just got an email from one of our students about National Trail on South Mountain being rather daunting and it is! However, if you break down each challenging step (which from the beginning of the first climb it keeps throwing at you) and how you can do it seems much more doable.

Remember, to reach any goal there is a series of smaller steps and goals you have to achieve along the way. It is easy to look at the whole trail and say, “wow, 1,400 vertical feet in four miles with a bunch of one to four foot step ups, lots of steep loose sections, turns with step ups in the middle, I will never make it” (wasn’t it Gulliver who always said that?)

Instead of taking this negative approach focus more on being in the moment and tackling each step as and when you get to them. Often we are so worried about something coming up on the trail that we mess up on an easy section because we aren’t focused on the present! Can you wheelie while climbing, can you shift your weight over an obstacle, can look ahead the entire ride? If you have answered yes to those questions you can ride most trails. You simply need to focus on each challenge as it comes and if you do this before long you will be at the top of the climb or end of your ride.

A great example of this is climbing National Trail at South Mountain in Phoenix. Not only is it steep, it starts with a four foot high steeply slanted rock ledge and then throws tricky up and over moves and twists at you while you heart and lungs are redlining. It also has big rock steps on flat and downhill sections. Here is certified coach Chris Skolnick showing how by using four simple core skills (vision, body position, coaster wheelie/manual and a weight shift) he is able to get over a big rock.

Focus on one section at a time, relax, have fun and soon you will have conquered that Overwhelming trail!