I had a good one-to-one coaching session this week at Coed y Brenin with Teresa, who wanted to improve her technical climbing skills and learn to conquer drop-offs.
We first looked at movement around the bike, shifting bodyweight to aid balance, and focussed on some basic skills including the manual, powered front wheel lift, and rear wheel lift. The manual and rear wheel lift in particular depend on using the upper body to achieve momentum forwards and backwards on the bike, so it’s really important to feel comfortable shifting weight around.
The manual translates nicely into the technique used for the drop-off: using body weight to push the bike forwards over the edge of a drop, keeping the vertical movement to a minimum and thereby smoothing out the landing. We found some nice steps on the Minotaur trail for some practice of this technique.
On to some red graded trails we looked at the rocky steps on Pinderosa. These steps (particularly the first one) require weight shifting to help lift the front wheel and then, once the front wheel is up, to pull the back wheel up and over. Momentum, power, speed and gear choice all play an integral part too. There’s a lot to think about for such a seemingly simple trail feature.
The same can be said of berms, of which there are some superb examples on the new blue-graded Minotaur trail. Entry speed, line choice, pedal position, pedal weighting. acceleration control, looking through the turn to the exit – all need to be considered to ride the berms as smoothly and safely as possible.
Towards the end of the session, we headed over to some of the steeper sections of red and black graded trail (Lurch and False Teeth), and looked at how weight distribution and body position on the bike can help when descending steeply. Control is key here – riding these sections slowly and with good control, allows you more time to think about line choice and find pick your way through to the exit of the section.
Teresa went away with plenty to think about and lots to practice. I’m sure she’ll be nailing those sections with confidence and aplomb in the very near future!
If you’d like a one-to-one or group coaching session, please drop us a line.