You are Not Good at Mountain Biking!

There is a widely held misconception among mountain bikers (YOU).  It’s
that you are good.  At mountain biking.  You’re not.

It’s easy to see why you might think you are, with so many forces
pulling you towards that idea.  Maybe it’s your friend that you can beat
on the trails you like to ride together.  Maybe it’s some obstacle you
used to think was scary, but now you roll right over it.  It might even
be a race you won!  Maybe a whole series.   You might be the fastest guy
in town, or in your whole state.  It might be that you ride the most
difficult trails you can find near you.   Or maybe it’s just the feeling
the have you when you are riding along, handling terrain and doing your
thing that makes you know you are good!

It might be all of the above.

You’re fooling yourself.  You’re not that good.  Your friend has a weak
skills foundation, that’s why you beat him.  It’s much more likely that
you are rolling over that obstacle in spite of poor form, rather than
because of proper form.  It works anyway because of the obstacle.  Try a
harder one with your technique and you’ll likely eat it.  We both know
there’s a trail out there that will make you look BAD.  Did you win that
race because you had the best skills?  No, you just had a better motor.
If it was the skills, you know you still made enough mistakes to lose if
there were a GOOD rider in the race. Your town is small, your state is
too.  The trails near you are wimpy compared to the trails elsewhere.
You are probably getting that great “feeling” when you ride because you
are doing something familiar and comfortable – not necessarily employing
correct core skills on the bike.

You thought you were good for so long because you don’t understand what
you’re missing.  Unconscious Incompetence: it’s when you don’t even know
what you don’t know.  Some people are happy to go through life riding
their mountain bikes like that, thinking they know what they are doing,
because it seems to work on the trails they ride.  We put so much
effort, money, time, etc into mountain biking.  Why fool yourself about
the kind of mountain biker you are?  Be real.   You are not good.  Get
stimulated to learn and improve or you will be like that forever!

It’s because you are self taught in an environment ruled by the self preservation instinct.  Think about it, would you rather wager on a bar brawler, or a trained UFC Fighter?  The guy with focused skills training will win most times.

Don’t take it so hard, though.  Everything is going to be OK.  You’re
not alone.  There are lots of mountain bikers who, like you, are not
good. Take Gene for example.  Gene Hamilton has raced pro DH for over 15
years, and has been the top mountain bike skills coach pro racers for
almost that long.

He knows he’s not good yet.  That’s for sure.  That’s why you can find
him out in some desolate parking lot several times a week, doing his
core skills drills with a purpose.  He wants to get good.  All the best
riders know they’re not good.  Even Danny Hart is already working on
being faster next year.  That’s because those guys have graduated to
Conscious Incompetence:  recognizing their shortfalls and the value of
core skills in addressing them.

When you decide you want to stop pretending to be be good, and actually
get good, we’re here to help.

Creating a Pre-ride or Pre-race Routine for Mountain Biking.

To make themselves feel comfortable and confident, top competitors in many different sports utilize a personalized pre-race (or pre-game) routine to help them perform at their best. Routines are not the same as rituals, a routine is a structured plan designed to help you reach your optimum performance while a ritual relies on superstition to control your performance (things like not washing your “lucky” socks or stepping on a crack). In other words a routine helps you take control of your performance while rituals assume fate (not you) will control your ride/race.

Read more

Angie Really Stepped Up Her Mountain Biking Skills!

Angie, a BetterRide student has been tearing it up since taking her camp in Philly last year. Read what she thought of the camp and watch her videos! It was a great camp with riders ranging from a 14 year old kid to World Champion Sue Haywood all leaning the same Core Skills of mountain biking!

philly camp Angie practicing steeper dh switchback

I Hate Getting Emails Like These From Mountain Bike Riders!

I Hate Getting Emails (and Phone Calls) Like These From Mountain Bikers!

So many injuries!  Three students who signed up for camps and one who wants a camp next year all injured themselves last month! One woman broke her right wrist and her left shoulder and some ribs, another thought he had broken some ribs (luckily they are only bruised but still super painful), one broke is femur and the last got 17 stitches in his leg!

I hate getting emails like these (especially the photo, ouch!):

Hi Gene.
My wife may have not been too clear, considering her condition, when you both talked ….
She’s making good progress, but since her right wrist and left shoulder were broken (along with several ribs), limiting their use and making certain tasks very difficult at this time …..
Thank you,


2 and a half weeks ago I did this to my leg practicing bunny hops in my backyard.  I came unclipped and my egg beaters became shin mutilators.  Haven’t been on the bike since.  I lost some confidence.  Try to explain this injury to the boss.  Hopefully you can view the picture just so you can say dude if nothing else.

Dan's Leg after the bad bunny hop!


Wow, that looks really painful (and expensive)! As he said it also cost him a lot of confidence. Now, not every injury could be prevented with better skill but this one could of been! If you are yanking up on your cleats to do a “bunny hop” you are really putting yourself in danger. I have never seen this bad a cut from poor bunny hop technique, it is usually an endo leading to a head, arm, wrist or leg injury (such a fracture, not a deep canyon opening up!). Simply learning how to ride in balance, in a neutral position, how to do a coaster wheelie and rear wheel lift (again without relying on your clips (which leads to being off balance and/or injuries like this)) would of eliminated this injury and saved Dan from: 1. Spending a lot of money 2. Feeling lot of pain 3. Missing a week or six of riding 4. Loosing a lot of confidence.

Mountain biking does not have to involve injury! Before my injury in July I had not been injured mountain biking in six years! Please take it from me, a 45 year old guy who rides six days a week and races pro downhill learn the correct techniques, drill them until they become second nature and every mountain bike ride will be more fun, faster and safer!