Mountain Bike Skills Clinics & Camps for All Levels

It’s as easy as riding a bike!  Or so they say....  Whoever coined that phrase never yard-saled on a rocky descent.  Cornering well is an art, and difficult to master without feedback from an instructor.  Jumps are a whole other story.  Braking efficiently...  Little of this is intuitive.  In fact, often our intuitions are dead wrong and will get us into trouble fast.  And riding more is not the answer.  Years of practicing bad habits leaves a rider with really good bad habits. 

Some riders do pretty well without any instruction.  A few people really are naturals.  But the unfortunate truth is most riders get by on a mix of bike skills picked up as a kid, the wisdom to avoid the really tough stuff, and of course, luck.  Luck will eventually always cash in for expensive medical bills and months off the bike.
 
The cost of mountain bike  skills instruction is less than the sales tax many riders have already paid for their bikes and equipment over the years.  Plus, there is something about when you wear out one bike, taking your skills with you to the next one.  Skills training is a great value when compared to many other sports.  You name it; monthly coaching for dance, wrestling, gymnastics, martial arts, they are all much more expensive than the expense of at least one lesson or camp.  Sports franchises pay their coaches millions of dollars because they believe a good coach is invaluable, yet for years I know I was more apt to pay heavily to save a few grams on my bike's weight than I was to pay anything for mountain bike instruction.
 
So much can be gained from watching "how to" skills videos.  However, there is no way to know what we are doing or not doing on the bike without the trained eye of a coach assessing us and giving us feedback.  I've experienced this "ah ha!" moment myself when I thought I looked a certain way on the bike, and one of my coaches videoed me and showed me I was doing something totally different.  Then through slight adjustments of what my coach showed me, I began to break bad habits and begin better habits.
(Rider Unknown)

We all want to ride down more difficult terrain.

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It's easy to dismiss big downhill features found in bike parks and say, "I'm never going to do that."  But the reality is the exact same body positioning, selective braking, trail scanning, and timing that are used for bigger lines are also used for the more challenging roll-ins on some cross country trails. 

The feature pictured to the left is called "Drop-In Clinic."  It is a double-black diamond section of trail in Whistler with a 5.6 level climbing pitch.  The person in this picture is not me.  However, under the careful eye of one of my coaches, I tackled this feature twice in the rain on a 150 mm trail/enduro bike.  You can tell how steep it is by the fact that my coach completely disappears in front of me when he rolls down it (Begins about 1:30 into this video.) 

I can teach you the same things that my coaches taught me so that you also can tackle the trails that you want to ride down, whether they be more difficult or less difficult than this one.

We all want to get a little air.

Drops are something that every mountain biker would like to be able to do. The more aggressive the head angle of the bike, like on this singlespeed with an 80mm fork, the less room for error.  Most cross country race bikes (regardless of the price) have a similar aggressive head angle which can make them twitchy when going off drops of any size.  That's why it is even more important to get the technique right when one is riding an XC or trail bike.

The principles of doing drops without eating rocks and dirt are the same, regardless of whether the drop is 6 inches or 7 foot tall.  No we won't be going off any big drops, but we will make sure that everyone knows what is supposed to be going on when it comes to a drop so they aren't just guessing out there on the trails. It's funny when young aggressive riders say, "Just send it," but those of us who can't afford to miss work because of a serious injury know "just sending it" is not wise. 

(Rider Unknown)

The drop in the top left of this picture on the left is the world famous "A-Line" drop.  Notice, the rider in this picture is a "girl."  Many of the girls in Whistler are much better riders than most of the male riders I've run across in the States because they have undoubtedly invested in many hours of good skills coaching.  Just as someone who takes golf seriously and wants a better swing invests in a coach, so do great riders.  Nobody, male or female, just knows intuitively what to do perfectly off of a drop, especially considering there are different types of drops.  Good skills instruction removes many of the doubts so that we as riders are not guessing.  Removing doubts increases confidence, and there is no better weapon out there on any trail than confidence.  I would have never dropped the A-line drop on my trail bike had I not invested in more than one "drops" lesson before I tackled it.

Katie, one of my students, catching some nice air.
Finding the balance point for different descending positions
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