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Stop being a Mountain Bike Bigot!

In 12 years of coaching mtb skills I still cannot get over how closed minded mountain bikers can be! “Oh, he is a single speeder, they always…”, “damn downhiller’s with 8″ of travel, of course they can ride that section, no skill, the bike does all the work, bet he can’t climb to save his life”, “look at that idiot on that fully rigid bike doesn’t he know…”, etc. Well, we are doing the exact same sport! Riding bicycles off road and guess what? The Core, Fundamental Skills are All The Same no matter what kind of mtb you are riding!

Cornering on a downhill bike is fundamentally the same as cornering on a full rigid bike. There are some advanced skills you can add with 8″ of  suspension travel and cornering on a fully rigid bike is harder (because no matter how smooth you are you will have less traction on a rigid bike) but the fundamental, most important skills are the same.

This is true with jumping, climbing technical sections, descending technical sections, riding a bike!

Why is this important to you? Because if you want to improve you can learn a lot from riders that are different from you. The skill it takes for Greg Minnaar and Mitch Ropelato to corner so well is the exact same skill all mountain bikers need, regardless of the bike they are on or the label they give themselves. Think about it, if the best downhill racers in the world need those skills to corner a bike that has way better traction* than most non-downhill bikes, those skills must be extra important on a “xc” bike. So an “xc” rider can learn from the watching a rider like Steve Peat corner even though Steve is on a different mountain bike.

*Downhill bikes have longer travel/better working suspension (which keeps the tires on the ground better than non-dh bikes), downhill bikes have wider tires with likely less air pressure (producing a bigger contact patch), softer rubber compound tires (which grip way better than harder rubber but roll slower, wear out quicker and cost more) and more tread patterns designed for hooking up on the surface they are riding (providing more traction than a general purpose tread pattern).

So open your mind and stop labeling people/riders/things. You can learn from our examples/videos/coaching even if the example we us is on a much different bike that yours.  We are fortunate enough to coach many of the best races in the world in all disciplines of mtb racing and we teach them all the same core skills (although in our downhill camps we don’t teach climbing skills as climbing on a 40lb bike isn’t much fun!). Yes, we taught singlespeed World Champions Ross Schnell and Sue Haywood the exact same cornering skills in the camps they took from us as we taught World Cup downhill racers Mitch Ropelato and Jackie Harmony in their downhill camps.

BetterRider wins Crankworx Dual slalom! 3 BetterRiders in Final!

Check out this video from the Dual slalom at Crankworx! Great to see 3 BetterRiders in the finals and one of them winning the event! Bummer to see two of them going up against each other in the first round, Cody Kelly is a ripper and he had to face Mitch Ropelato in the first round! They are good friends and I have had the pleasure of coaching both of them, great kids as well as great mountain bikers.

BetterRider Lear Miller races current 4th place overall World Cup Downhill racer Danny Hart in the first round!

BetterRider Mitch Ropelato Beats World Champ Greg Minnaar!

Great weekend of racing at the Triple Dip at the Sol Vista Bike Park! Three fun and challenging tracks, tight racing, great organization (stats and timing went off perfectly) and great prizes (thanks to the town of Granby and SRAM).  Three downhill races on three separate tracks made for a great weekend of racing.

The Pro men’s class saw a different winner in each event and some tight racing. Mikey Sylvestri through down a super fast run to win the first race on Stranger (last years Amateur National Champs track), World Champ Greg Minnaar won the chainless race on Cheese It to Ashley Larry (one of my favorite training tracks) and Sick Mick battled though broken ribs to win the final race on Drifter to Lemonade (last years Pro National Championship track)

What a great event for BetterRide racers!  BetterRider Mitch Ropelato finished 3rd behind Needles and Sick Mick Hannah and just ahead of 3 time World Cup Overall Champion (and BetterRide assistant coach) Greg Minnaar in the final race to secure 5th overall in the 3 race format.  Brian Buell earned a solid 8th place and Joey Schussler was 9th (I think).

Mitch, Needles, Greg, Mick and kids, Mikey

In the Pro Women’s class BetterRiders Julie Olsen and Jackie Harmony earned  3d and 2nd place overall behind US power house Jill Kitner!

Julie, Jill, Jackie

In the 15-18 year old open class BetterRider Luca Cometti won the final race with BetterRide alumnus Alex Willie in second and BetterRider Matt Branney in 3rd! Luca earned a second place overall finish and Alex finished 4th overall.

All BetterRide Alumni Podium, Luca on top, Alex in second and Matt in 3rd!

In the old guys class, I managed to place second in all three races and earn 2nd overall behind Quentin Splauding of KHS. Shawnee Mac won the second race and finished just behind me in third. BetterRider Joe Dodds earned an 8th place overall finish and Jason Krause race to 10th overall.

 

I am already looking forward to next years Triple Dip!

Shawnee, Q and me

Updates from BetterRide students w/photos!

First two emails from a students with some great photos and then some updates from all over the world!

Gene,

Here’s a couple of pictures that I mentioned I would send from Joe and my trip to Moab two weeks after our Palo Alto camp.  The first one, hopefully, is demonstrating the uphill body position, and the second one shows me looking way ahead.

Cymantha centered on her bike and looking ahead!

And here’s a link to a short video that was taken on the Sovereign Trail.  Notice how I do a little pedal wheelie on the second rise of the rock!
http://youtu.be/lHFPQ7pKuvc

Thanks again for the camp.  I recently road a local trail in Auburn that I
hadn’t yet ridden since the camp and I rode the downhill sections faster and
in more control than ever!  Pretty cool.

Cymantha Fredrickson

 

Hey Gene,
Saw the pic you posted from NJ. Looks like a great turn out. Matt and I finished 24 hours in the canyon at Amarillo TX. Yesterday  We won first place in the 2 man 24 hr Category. I think we finished out with 21 laps.  My ride went well need more time with night riding. That 3am lap was tough to get started. It was a blast met some great guys from Austin. Next race in two weeks in the Enchanted Forest near Gallup. Never been out there but the guys from bike works say it’s great riding. Talk with you later take care. Rick  (Rick is 6’8″ and just started mtbing this winter! He decided to master the basics first my taking 4 camps this winter and it seems to be paying off as he now rides many sections of trails much more experienced riders can’t and he is winning races against much more experienced riders (and being 6’8″ and over 240lbs he isn’t winning on fitness alone!)

Mitch Ropelato won the US Open GS, earned 11th in the downhill and then went to the World Cup in Scotland and took 47th in the DH! Not bad for a 19 year old!

At the same races Pan American Champion Jackie Harmony took 3rd in the GS and 4th in the Downhill!

Meanwhile at the Chile Challenge in Angelfire, NM BetterRides also did quite well.

Gene,

Just thought I would let you know I won my Cat 2 age group at the Angel Fire XC today.  Half the course was downhill and I am sure that your instruction last week helped get me down the mountain in first place . . . I kept saying “look” to myself to remember to look through the corners.

thanks for the help.

Philip Hantel

In the Downhill, BetterRiders were all over the top 20! Joey Schusler took 3rd, Brian Buell was 5th, Trevor Trinkino was 7th, Naish Ulmer 9th, Andy Proctor 14th, Jon Widen 16th and Sam Stevens 17th

Congratulations to all the Betteriders out there exceeding their goals!