XC Racer Reviews
The reviews on this page are from riders of all levels that have completed BetterRide Mountain Bike Skills Coaching, Camps and Clinics.
Read what Ross Schnell said about training with Gene in his blog.
I learned more today than in the last 10-11 years of just riding” (in a rushed 3.5 hour lesson, BetterRide camps are 19-22 hours over 3 days!)
I’ve been wanting to pass on a personal success story. Before your mountain bike camp in Indiana with Coach Andy W. I participated in my first mountain bike race in Copper Harbor, MI. I placed 6th in my age group (over 6 min. behind 3rd place) on a very technical course. Considering the field, I was happy with the results. My goal after the BetterRide camp was to be in the top 3 in the same race with a similar field. With my new found skills I placed 1st this time with 2nd place over 7 min. behind. I tore it up! Attached are a couple of pictures. Thanks, I’m always telling people that no matter how much they think they know how to ride a mountain bike, they owe it to themselves to attend one of your camps. A year later I still practice my skills every time I’m out.
BTW, a while back you suggested some reading material. I chose Body, Mind Mastery by Dan Millman. (in audio book form). Not only do I feel it helped my mountain bike skills with things like, how tension is counter productive and how the “opponent is not the enemy, but instead the teacher” it also helped me in my own personal life. Good recommendation!
Keep up the good job.
The results are starting to trickle in as I have the time to ride some of my local rides that I track my times on. I’m astonished! My descending time from the summit of Chimney Gulch to the Beaver Brook cross over dropped from a personal best of 6:51.0 to 5:46.0, for the bottom section it went from a personal best of 13:42.0 to 10:12.2. Considering that I really haven’t had enough time to practice a lot yet, I’m stunned at the improvement. I can also say that I felt more in control than I used to and I cleaned a section I’ve never had the balls to even try before. Again Gene, I can’t thank you enough. The camp was great. Your ability to break skills down into digestible parts, watch riders and help them refine techniques, your humility and sense of humor make you a world class coach. I’ll be taking your next level two clinic this year and probably a refresher next year.”
Just wanted to give you an update and let you know that I am starting to experience the delayed effects of your camp. I knew when the camp ended that I was leaving with some new skills that were helpful immediately. But I also knew there were other skills that were going to take more practice, patience and time. Well, I’m starting to see them. I’ve been practicing descending the way you instructed us but until the last couple of weeks, I knew I was still faster descending the way I always had – I was just more comfortable that way. But in the last couple of weeks, it all kind of clicked. I’m not winning any downhill races – yet – but all of a sudden (and it really did seem to happen pretty suddenly) your techniques took over and instead of just using them at low speeds only when I thought about it, I was using them all over the trails and feeling pretty comfortable. Now I find myself only reverting to my old techniques when I come into a corner already off balance. Anyway, thanks, it’s a great feeling – can’t wait to use them on race courses this year!
I took your Neshaminy clinic in June. I wanted to fill you in on my race results. I raced all season in the Midatlantic Super Series in Women’s Sport. It was my first season racing and I’d been riding for a year and a half. I won the overall championship! I am so happy that I won! I will be moving up to Elite next year.
I’ve been doing the drills you taught for 20 minutes, twice a week. I almost always preride my race courses. I work on hard sections to figure out the best lines. Since the clinic, I have noticed that my balance has improved tremendously. I can track stand with little movement for 20 seconds. This has helped me keep control when I’m slowly going over logs or rocks on the uphill. I’m proud to say I go pretty fast on rocky downhills. On the ones that aren’t that hard, I can really fly and keep my speed and just flow over them, taking the best line. On the really scary ones with huge rocks, I can use my balance and body position to stay centered over the bottom bracket and go through with more speed than before. It’s still not fast enough, and I often get going too slow and then have to stop to avoid an endo. I go back and work on those sections until I get them down. I have found that your vision techniques have really helped me when I get into one of those situations where I’m convinced I’m about to crash. I line up for the hard part, then I force myself to look farther ahead (looking to victory) and get over the thing.
Some specific accomplishments…. besides winning the season…..
-I railed this 2 mile section with fast flowy downhills, banked curves, tight sections, some rolling hills, interspersed with some tough technical parts, and ending with a sharp right turn on big rocks, down into a rocky dip, over an uphill log bridge, and then out of the steep dip on hard packed dirt, with two big roots at the very top! I flew through the whole thing! It was perfect. I passed a whole bunch of slower people during it. I also passed 3 on the younger Sport Women that I’d caught (they started 2 min earlier). I had 2 Elites on my tail through the whole thing. I even passed 1 competitor on a very rooty curve. At the end of the section, the Elites passed me on the next long climb, and the one guy said, “NICE riding!” I glowed for the next 10 minutes!
-I beat one competitor who had beaten me before. She beat me by 4 minutes in the past. She’s from the area and very familiar with the final race course. On that very race course, at the end of this season, I beat her by 30 seconds.
-Although my nemesis still beat me by a huge margin at the last race, I found out that I made up 40 seconds on her on the rocky down hill. The race was up the mountain and then down the other side. She is 9 minutes faster than me and she did it on the climbs. She’s more fit. Well, I can get more fit! But I now know that I am much faster on the downhills, and on the rocks! So, once I have fitness to match hers, I WILL beat her! I have a long time to train before next season.
So, Gene… thank you for the clinic. I still tell all my riding buddies about it. Especially how you break down the mechanics of everything that you teach. I let them know how you explain the physics behind the techniques. I tell them that the learning environment you provide is the perfect way to learn something, practice it, and really get it.
I’d love to take a refresher course (part 2) if you do one on the East Coast. I keep in touch with Mike, Orlie, and Jim. I think they’d do it too.
Tonight was the first night of practice cyclocross races. The cornering techniques I learned in you camp last weekend rock on the cross bike. I was able to carry speed through the corners and off cambers that I could only dream of last year! I was actually found myself cranking up the speed before the corners instead of braking. Nobody else is using this technique. I found my self keeping pace with stronger riders just on cornering skill alone. Imagine after I’ve a had a few weeks to practice.
I had best time of my life on a mountain bike at your camp, and look forward to doing another one next spring.
Just wanted to show you what your lessons made me do this past weekend! If you click on the photo or link to the photo album look through the album and on the 2nd page, bottom row, there’s a great shot of me doing what you taught me to do with my elbows-totally Brian Lopes style. I was impressed to see myself doing that-a big change in my riding style and I know it’ll make me faster in the long run.
So thanks and I may have some time coming up where I can make it to one of your camps-I’ll let you know.
Thanks for the e-mail. By the way, after completing your camp in Arizona, I dropped 5 minutes off my previous best lap time at the 12 hours of Temecula mountain bike race (59 to 54 minutes). Obviously, this was a significant breakthrough. I’ve also noticed that by being a smoother and more efficient rider and by decoupling my body from the bike, I exert less energy and travel faster. “Looking to victory” works like a charm. Most importantly, the basic skills I was exposed to in your camp (and continue to develop) have made mountain biking more enjoyable.
I just wanted to let you know that I’ve had big improvements in my racing this year after taking the betteride course (about 10 minutes improvement from last year). I got 2nd place in the beginner category at Eldora, then placed 15th out of 35 in the Sport category at Winterpark in my first ‘sport race’. I passed people on the downhill for the first time in these two races, and am feeling much more confident on the downhills (I hit 31.5 mph max on a tight singletrack in the Eldora race).
Your camp gave me the confidence to go out and try a few races this summer. My first race was in the beginner 40 to 45 age class in the “Point to Point” cross country race in Winter Park. While I certainly did not break any records – I at least had a respectable finish and more importantly had a total blast. My second race was a Super D (much more my style in that there is MUCH less uphill cranking) at Winter Park where I got a second place finish in my age group. 3rd race was a Mountain States Cup Super D race in Copper where I came in tenth. Again no records but still having a total blast. My friends the same age as me think I am crazy doing this stuff but I think they are crazy to be sitting on their arses. Again, thank you for giving me the confidence to go out there and try some racing and hopefully in the near future I will be in another one of your camps!
Thanks again for holding the camp last weekend. I was finally able to get out and ride yesterday on the falcon trail (loop that goes around the Air Force Academy). There are two sections that I have had problems with in the past. One is a tight turn with two drop offs that are oddly spaced and the landing slopes off into some bushes. I’ve ridden the trail a dozen times and walked that section most times. Once I tried it and endo’ed into the bushes. When I rode it yesterday, I cleared it with confidence. I kept repeating to myself “Do or Do Not – There Is No Try” I relaxed, saw the line I wanted to take, found my balance and went through the section very controlled – it was great!
The next section is a steep switchback climb with a ton of sand. I have never made that turn, although I have tried to every time I’ve ridden the trail. This time I approached the switchback using the techniques and strategy you taught us. The result – made it! No problem!
The last thing I noticed is that the whole ride was smoother. I focused primarily on the vision techniques – and body position skills. The ride felt slower than what I normally ride, but it was actually six minutes faster! Absolutely amazing!
Thanks again, you were a great part of my succees for 2005. I had the best year of my life. Part of which at the age of 52, I entered numerous mtn bike races, podiumed 5 times and won the Texas Mountain Bike Racing Association series for my division.
Your instruction, professsionalism and emails went above and beyond all expectations.