In our mountain bike skills camps we explain that we didn’t invent the skills that we teach we learned the techniques from the best (and then broke them down into easy to put together pieces that we can explain demonstrate and then get the student to do). We often suggest watching downhill race videos for great examples of the proper techniques that we coach (for all riders: recreational, cross country, endurance, free-ride, all-mountain, single speed and downhill).
Well Mid-West BetterRide coach Chris Cornelison found this great video. It shows Nathan Rennie doing two things that we coach rides to do. Both can be seen in the footage stating at :53 in. 1. Notice how no matter how crazy the trail Nathan is always looking ahead, he never even glances down at the trail. 2. Notice how quiet is chest and head are! He could put a glass of water on his head and not spill it!
Of course mastering these skills isn’t easy, you must first understand how to look ahead and how to stay smooth and in balance and then practice them using drills (just throwing yourself down a gnarly trail will just teach you how to tense up and ride defensively) which is why we are here!
Just Found this “Thank You” email From MTB Strength Coach James Wilson dated 10/1/10
I just wanted to say thanks for all the help with my riding. this last riding season was one of the best ever for me and I can attribute it directly to the time I spent with in February. Learning how to clean up my cornering technique and how to manual totally changed my riding. I’m living proof that fitness is one thing, knowing how to apply that fitness on your bike is another. Every serious rider should take a skills clinic and I think that you’re the best at what you do, thanks again for sharing your knowledge with me. Let me know the next time your in town, I’ve got some cool new kettle bell exercises for you.
It feels great to know that the pro seek out our help when they want to start riding their best. Although 90% of our students are just enthusiasts and weekend warriors it is nice to have the best in the industry seeking us out too.
This guy could use some skills! and a helmet!
Recently, on this site, I’ve been writing about pedals – both “flat” or “platform” pedals (BMX style), and “clipless” pedals (which, oddly enough, are the kind your shoe actually clips into).
Again, and as I stated previously, there is no “better” choice when it comes to clipless vs flat pedals. Both have advantages and disadvantages with more overlap then most riders are aware of (especially if that rider has never taken the time to learn to ride the other system).
So, we have MAINLY two different types of clipless pedals. The first has spring loaded bars that spread apart when under pressure from the cleat on the bottom of our shoe, and then the cleat snaps in between these bars. The bars then hold the cleat in place, and we’re “clipped-in”. Some pedal companies that use this system are Time and Crank Brothers. Some benefits of this system…
The other type of system is essentially a Shimano SPD system. In my experience, I feel that they have more adjustability in spring tension and a different “feel” in terms of “float” (how far you can twist your foot before the cleat disengages with the pedal) and entry. Shimano also has different cleats: single release and multi-release as well as at least one wild-card cleat that was designed for a very limited type of pedal and is nearly impossible to use with any of their other pedals. I’m not exactly positive what Shimano’s story is on their cleat/pedal recommendations, so all I’ll say on the subject is do your research and try before you buy. But, obviously, they’re a great set-up when you get it right. The SPD’s can get finicky in a hurry in bad weather conditions.
Another great thing about the DH set-up is the large amount of rubber on the sole of the shoe compared to the XC’s hard plastic.
So if your priority is power and efficiency, go with a light stiff shoe and a light, minimal, pedal. If you’re riding in gnarlier conditions, you may want something that gives you as much control and peace of mind as possible – even when your not clipped in – such as the DH-type set-up.
And, stay away from the “clipless on one side and flat on the other side” pedals unless they live on your commuter or bar-bike. Fumbling around on the trail for the correct side of the pedal to clip into is inefficient and dangerous … so is riding the clip side with regular (non-clip) shoes. One or the other please – you won’t see any tops riders riding these pedals!!!
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.
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.
[Matt, Luca and Alex]
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!
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.