Learning to Mountain Bike Over 50: Member Highlight

 

Ryan Leech Connection (RLC) has been teaching people mountain biking skills online since 2015. This article was written by long time member, and now official RLC coach Jeff Neitlich.

I was a ‘late bloomer’ when it came to mountain biking. I bought my first mountain bike at age 48, and hesitated to get on it for almost a year for fear of getting hurt.

At my age, and with people depending on me to provide for them, I was reluctant. I rode it on the street, but avoided ‘real’ mountain bike trails.

When I turned 50, I finally got up the courage to hit a local Washington State trail, and had a total blast. Bouncing over roots, climbing tight switchbacks, going over small drops— who knew!

However, I quickly learned that I had a LOT to learn, and I still wanted to be safe. I started scouring Youtube for ‘tutorials.’ I didn’t find many of them all that helpful to me.

Learning to do a ‘skill’ from a 5 - 10 minute video of a pro...

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A DIY Guide to Building Backyard MTB Practice Obstacles

 

Written by: Patrick Mitzel - RLC member since 2017

Over the years I’ve put a lot of effort into creating MTB skill features to help me progress through certain skills and progressions found throughout Ryan Leech Connection's online courses.

I find it hard in my usual work week to take the time to drive to a park to session MTB skills. Having MTB features in my yard allows me to have quick practice sessions whenever I feel the urge.

Some of the features have been heavily modified as I have increased my skill level or realized the design could be improved. For each of the feature types, I have provided the path to the RLC lessons that could make use of that feature.

I put this article together because I thought it would be helpful to other MTB skill enthusiasts and hopefully it can inspire some feature builds and help you save some time. 

Want the complete guide? Download it here

 
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Indoor MTB Skills

 

Balancing in the living room - hopping off a curb - manualling down the street - bunnyhopping ledges at the park - ummm tight switchbacks down your stairs?!

 

In times like these, it's important to have a fun focus, a challenge, and one that you can do close to home - or even IN your home!

 

This is where my online skills coaching website can help :-) Change your perception, even if just for 20 minutes a day, from fear and worry, to belief in your ability to learn some fun and useful new MTB skills! Then allow these good practice vibes to spread...

 

Here's a list of skills and attributes you can practice to keep yourself occupied in a positive way:

  • Balance skills like Track Stands, Hopping and Rocking
  • Bunny Hops
  • Manuals and wheelies
  • Front wheel pivots

Along with these mountain biking skills, our website offers valuable MTB specific physical and mental skill practices, such as:

  • Physical fitness (strength training, pilates, and mtb specific workouts)
  • Yoga
  • ...
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Practice strategy: spontaneous wheelie visualization while walking the dog and pushing a grocery cart

 

[Author: Griff Wigley, RLC Coach]

During Ryan Leech's recent Facebook Live broadcast, New Year Visions (video excerpt below), he gave a little tutorial about 3 types of practice areas:

  • Mental
  • Driveway/home
  • Trail

Within the mental category, he detailed 3 types:

  • Conscious reflection on practicing the skill/technique,
  • Spontaneous visualization
  • Subconscious practice

I started working on the RLC 30-Day Wheelie Challenge course a couple of weeks ago with a very different approach than when I first attempted the course 3 years ago. I'm using an in-depth practice regimen that includes rigorous video review during and after each session, as well as extensive journaling and pre-session planning.

And I just experienced spontaneous visualization in two different settings, featured in the above 30-second video.

  1. Walking the dog
    While out walking our dog on a snowy paved trail near our house recently, it occurred to me that come spring, I'd be doing some of my wheelie practice...
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Top 9 Tips for Improving MTB Skills

Adding new MTB skills to your quiver looks so easy in the videos. Yet some riders struggle to make real progress. RLC Ambassador, Carl Roe shares the secrets. 

When I signed up for my first MTB skills clinic in 2014, I’d been mountain biking for 7 years and thought I had the sport pretty much figured out. But I quickly discovered that a high level of fitness, a good bike, clipless pedals, and familiarity with my local trails was masking a dark secret: My technique was terrible.

I’d fallen into the trap of thinking that the more I rode, and the fitter I got, the better I was. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Here are my Top 9 tips to developing better skills:

Pre-skills training: all speed, no technique

1 - Come Back to Earth

Step one: Acknowledge your actual ability level.

Have you noticed how new riders are beginners for only a ride or two, before promoting themselves to “intermediate”?

This is where the illusion begins. But...

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New Year Visions - LIVE Broadcast

 

The RLC Team is pumped for 2020!

This is from Ryan's first LIVE broadcast - a test for future live events from the trail, where Ryan will be providing coaching based on specific trail features and situations.

Happy New Year everyone!

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Advice for Beginner MTBers

Mountain biking is a sport that takes many years to master, so seeking skills coaching early in the journey is important for later progression and safety. But there's so much to learn and so many courses on the RLC website that it can be a bit overwhelming. New members often ask me "where should I start?"  Let's answer that question: 

Suggested Course Order

1. A great place to get started is exploring the Welcome Riders section. Introduce yourself to other members and learn about how the site works. This section will answer many of your initial questions.

2. The first course I would suggest looking at is Trailhead Tip Traps. These lessons offer advice on how to avoid the tip traps you'll encounter when taking advice from well-meaning riders at the trailhead. There's no practice exercises to do, just lots of thought provoking concepts. Don't be led astray by generic trailhead advice! 

3. The first course...

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Online Practice Jam Gets Results

In early July, 50 riders registered for a month-long Online Practice Jam focusing on the Baseline Balance Skills course. They had the opportunity to work on their track stand, hopping, and rocking skills with each other and several RLC coaches and ambassadors via a private RLC community forum.

This Jam was led by Griff Wigley (Coach) and Kai Ashbee (Ambassador). When they weren't busy running the Jam, they practiced right alongside the other participants.

What is a Jam? 

If you're not familiar with the RLC Online Practice Jams (this was our third), here are the basics:

  1. Jams are time-limited events done in a private online forum.
  2. A small, focused group along with a common goal has been proven to help members turn their practice intentions into actual practice sessions.
  3. At the start of a Jam, everyone posts what they plan to practice, how often, where, etc. Throughout the Jam, everyone posts updates. Posting videos of practice sessions is encouraged.
  4. Feedback is...
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Tune Up Mini Course - Sample Lesson!

 

I'm always adding content to the site, whether it be a full-size course that covers a key skill, or a themed course that tackles a specific aspect of mountain biking. This mini-course's theme is: UP! I created it with two goals in mind:

  1. To focus on the 'UP' part of your skillset: ledges, climbs, and even energy levels. In mountain biking there is so much attention on going DOWN, and I didn’t want the UP to get left behind!
  2. Practice Inspiration: Each lesson is unique (rather than a step-by-step course) and offers insight and general drill ideas, along with links to other RLC lessons that relate so you can continue to practice at whatever level you're at!

I hope you enjoy this free sample lesson. Checkout the video above and the notes below...

Sample Lesson (#2 of 5) - Magic Acceleration

Magic acceleration is an essential skill that's easy to learn and highly effective. So much so that it works like magic, well almost....

Lesson Notes 

You weigh...

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Online MTB Coaching Rocks

Ryan Leech Connection offers the most detailed MTB skills progressions available. Compare our 40-part Bunnyhop Masterclass with a free 5-minute YouTube video and you’ll quickly see why RLC members succeed where the majority of riders fail. It’s not for lack of trying, it’s simply a lack of meaningful progressions to follow. 

But there’s more to learning a skill than just following a series of progressions, no matter how detailed they are. Everyone gets stuck at some point and needs feedback to correct a movement pattern, or even just encouragement that they are going in the right direction. And this is where online coaching really comes into its own: ask a question or post a video and receive detailed feedback anytime during the learning process. You are not alone. 

This feedback comes in two forms. Ambassadors provide general guidance from the perspective of a fellow student. They know what you’re going through because...

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