Time: We have to start on time so that everyone in the camp is getting his or her money’s worth. Camps start @ 9am October thru April and @ 8am May thru September and end late afternoon, with a 30 minute lunch--please bring your own lunch, water, and snacks. (Note: Oak Mountain is on central time; but of course we will always go on the local time for wherever I'm teaching.) In Ground Control 1 and 2 we work mostly in the field until shortly after lunch. After we spend more time in the field after lunch, we hit the trails. The whole day usually takes 7 hours, including lunch and the trail rides. If you have to leave early and you can't make it on the trail ride, then you will not miss any new material. You will, however, miss some personal feedback and fun on the trail.
Bike Maintenance: Please make sure your bike is working properly before the camp or private lesson. If you're not sure if your bike is in good shape, then it would be wise to take it to your local bike shop so they can make sure all the spokes are tight, headset is tight, brakes are working properly, shifting properly, etc. As much as I would like to be able to, I won't be able to work on bikes during the camps because there are other customers who will be counting on me to teach them skills. Please bring any tubes, pumps, lube or tools you may need for your bike during the day.
Fitness Level & Equipment: Very basic fitness level and basic bike control skills are requirements for "Ground Control 1." You should be able to ride a beginner trail without having to stop frequently. I recommend if you do not have a dropper post, then you have a quick release seat collar or an Allen wrench to loosen the collar in order to raise and lower your seat. This will help you tremendously on some of the techniques I will teach (especially in "Ground Control 2.") If you have already been fit for your bike, then you might want to write your measurements down the night before and/or mark your rigid seat post with a Sharpie so that when you raise your seat back up you can return it to your original settings. I try to offer two trail rides after the main teaching component is completed after lunch in Ground Control 1 and 2. I focus the first trail ride towards beginners, and it is a "no drop" ride. I will give more advanced students things to work on during this easier trail ride, so they too can be getting something out of the ride. Then after this easier ride is complete, I will lead the more technical and fit riders on a longer and faster pace ride. If clients are out of breath or struggling to keep up during the "no drop" ride or if I deem clients don't have the fitness or skills for the second more advanced ride, then I will advice them to call it a day or to practice skills on their own on easier trails. My goal is for all levels of riders to have fun!
Helmets are required. Flat pedals and shin guards are not required, but I recommend them for any camp/lesson, especially for "Ground Control 2." The reason for this is that so many skills/maneuvers can be conquered with fewer consequences when one can just step off. For example, I've seen some riders have an unpleasant experience when they have crashed even in a field because they couldn't get unclipped while trying to pull off the manual or wheelie. It might also be a good idea to put flat pedals on your bike a few weeks before the camp/lesson in order to allow your brain time to get used to them. (I'm not trying to convince anyone that they need to continue to use flats instead of clipless once the camps are over.) The most common questions about gear that I receive are about helmets, pedals, shoes, pads, and droppers. I try to answer these questions on numbers 1,5,7,9, &10 on this link: here for gear recommendations.
Cancelation: Please understand that space is limited for each camp. If you cancel, then I will lose potential for that spot. If you cancel within 6 weeks (4 weeks for Birmingham camps), then there can be no refund, but I will definitely work with you to be a part of another camp.
Refunds: I can't offer refunds, but if you do not believe that I have done a good job, then I will donate the money you have paid me to buy a bicycle(s) for a girl(s) in Cambodia or India. If, however, you believe I have really helped you, then I ask you to consider donating a bicycle(s). This truly could change a little girl's life. And if this happens, then we all win!!! Check it out: bicycle donation. This donation would be tax deductible.
Weather: Inclement weather does not cancel camps. There is more flexibility when it comes to private lessons. Please bring a shell in case of rain and be prepared for any condition. I will do my best to find places to ride near our meeting location. You can keep extra gear and supplies in your car for easy access in case they are needed. If there is a cancelation because of weather, then it will be at the instructor’s discretion, and I will alert you by email as soon as possible. Unless there is something like a tornado warning, I don’t cancel camps. Because often times there are people traveling from out of state to attend a camp, I treat camps like most regional and national races—that is we ride!! Of course there may be some times when we find a pavilion in order to let a thunder storm pass. In that case we will continue to make use of our time by getting the “book smart” part of the curriculum out of the way. Then we will venture to a field or parking lot that handles moisture best. Of course, we will never ride on any trails if they are closed. We also could do a delayed start of the camp. And the trail ride portion of the camp could be cut out or shortened. If you are not comfortable riding in a particular weather condition and don't want to take the camp because you are afraid you will crash, then I don't want you to feel forced, and I will do my best to make sure can join another camp in the future. There have been some weekends we have had to deal with rain and sleet, but we still got a lot of good stuff accomplished!!
Liability: If you would like to read my waiver ahead of time, then it might save us a little time before the camp or private lessons. No need to print the waiver off, as I will have hard copies for each rider to sign. I will do my best to make sure every student is as safe as possible, but of course I can't control every dynamic. Please bring whatever you need if you are allergic to anything, including bee stings. Most importantly, you are the boss for what you do and don't do. If there is any section of trail or maneuver that makes you feel uncomfortable, then PLEASE DON'T DO IT. The last thing we want is anyone getting hurt. Also we won't be trying any features with huge consequences because if anyone gets hurt, then it doesn't just ruin the experience for the person who gets hurt; it also ruins it for everyone else who invested in the camp. Younger students are welcome, but 16 is usually the youngest I allow, unless the legal guardian is also taking the camp. Please contact me if you have a young student, and we can talk about the possibilities.