Lon Cullen, Owner/Lead Instructor

Lon Cullen's experience, training, and continued professional development: 
 
  • Wilderness First Aid
  • (2014) Invested in a day of private lessons from an instructor from Colorado.  Emphasis was on technical climbing and descending, and on body positioning on all-mountain trails near Birmingham, Alabama.
  • (2015) Earned certification as a Professional Mountain Bike Instructor (IMBA level 2 equivalent).  Required 3 days of training on cross country trails in Whistler, British Columbia.
  • (2016) Invested in 4 days of private lessons on how to teach and ride better.   Emphasis was on jumps, drops, cornering, steep rock rolls, and other advanced maneuvers on intermediate and expert level downhill trails at Whistler Bike Park.
  • (2017) Invested in 4 days of learning how to teach and ride better.  Emphasis was on cornering, bunny hops, manuals, wheelies, stoppies, and other advanced maneuvers on cross country trails near Brevard, North Carolina.  
  • (2017) Earned Ninja Mountain Bike Performance Instructor's Certification.  Emphasis was on high speed cornering, pre-turns, jumps, drops, steep transitions, and other maneuvers on cross country trails near Ellijay, Georgia.
  • (2017) Invested in 3 days of how to teach and ride better.  Emphasis was on advanced jumps, advanced drops, and cornering on enduro trails near Boone, North Carolina.
  • (2018-9) Three private lessons with Neko Mulally (2018 American National Downhill Champion).  Neko also placed fourth even after breaking his chain out of the gate at the 2014 World Championship.  Lessons were on advanced drops, carrying speed, bermed cornering, and selective braking on some of the steepest descents in the East.  For more info on these lessons I invested in, go here.  
  • Each year I study under at least one instructor/coach/rider in the industry who I believe will help me the most to become a better teacher and rider.

My Story:

I have been riding just about anything with two wheels now for over 45 years--from BMX, to moto hare scrambles to mountain bikes.  However, in 2011, despite many years of experience, I suffered a major mountain bike accident that damaged the vertebrae in my neck and blew out my knee. This opened my eyes to the need of improving control in my riding.  I have since then invested myself in developing techniques to ride safely without sacrificing any of the joy of the sport.  I believe that good riding should be accomplished with technique, confidence and skill--not just luck. 

Having an earned doctorate, I have served as an instructor in both youth athletics and adult academics.  I have applied my instruction skills to a sport that I am passionate about…mountain biking.  I have been riding the classic mountain bike trails from the old growth forests in Oregon, to the deserts of Nevada and Arizona, to the ski lift trails in California, Utah, Colorado, and West Virginia, to the Adirondacks Mountains in New York, to the mountainous coffee plantations in Costa Rica, and the hundreds, no, thousands of miles between.  I have studied with numerous instructors over the years and have applied their combined wisdom to my own riding and teaching.  I am eager to share what I have had to learn the hard way.

Coaching Women:  I actually fell in love with coaching when, as a purple belt, I volunteered to coach a kid's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu club.  I noticed how the girls had more of a tendency to listen to what I had to say than the boys.  That became even more evident when the girls started to "tap out" the boys.  I have found the same thing to be true as I have coached mountain biking.  Often-times women pay more attention to the details than do men because most of them know they can't always just "muscle it."  Coaching girls and women in the sport of mountain biking has been rewarding for me because most women really care about getting the technique perfect.

Each year, I try to do at least one private lesson with Neko Mulally, the 2018 American National Downhill Champion.

3rd place, 45+, Coldwater Enduro

Racing & Difficult Terrain:  While I do not have an extensive racing pedigree, I do understand the pressures and concerns associated with racing.  I have raced Cross Country and have podiumed in Downhill, BMX, Super D, and Enduro.  I placed 7th at the 2017 Enduro National Championship.  I have raced a few of the steepest and most technical Enduro courses in the East. Of the racers who were 50 years or older in the master's division at the 2018 Windrock Enduro, I placed 2nd with zero crashes.  I've gained valuable insight from all these experiences.

 

I've retired from hitting bigger lines that have huge consequences.  But I continue to instruct successfully riders who are wanting to increase their technical abilities on or off the race course.  We are reminded when we watch sports that division one NCAA football coaches can't catch or run as well as their players, but they certainly can instruct their players to become better than what they already are. 

50-54, Downhill, Snowshoe Bike Park, WV
Same podium position in the 50+ Windrock Pro GRT
12 years old
50 years old; road gap requiring a 17' trajectory from take-off to landing.

My Strava calculated I was going 33 mph when I hit this step-down the first time.  If I did not go that fast, I likely would not have cleared the knuckle, which was about 32' out.  Not making the transition would have been catastrophic, as this scenario has been demonstrated by other riders.  I know that hardly any of my clients are interested in checking this feature off their list, but just about all my clients want to learn how to execute drops and step-downs safely.

The techniques I've learned in bike school apply both to cross country and downhill trails.

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