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.
Pre-skills training: all speed, no technique
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...
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...
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.
If you're not familiar with the RLC Online Practice Jams (this was our third), here are the basics:
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:
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....
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...
When coaches coach, they often exaggerate their body positioning to get their point across.
These exaggerations can cause confusion, and the common cue to ride in attack position leaves many hopeful mountain bikers misinformed.
The general cues for this 'attack position' are:
Have you ever seen this ‘exaggerated attack position’, or been taught it? Looks aggressive right? However the only time you’d need to get into what might otherwise known as a ‘tuck’ position is when you’re on a super smooth and straight trail and you’re trying to reduce air drag!
So for the majority of riding situations this is a rare position to be in, and very limiting too.
You see, our ankles, legs, hips and arms need to be available as our primary suspension, and when set up properly they have way more travel...
It certainly wasn’t that simple for me. There’s a big difference between the mental ah-ha you get watching a tip video versus actually learning it.
Most tip videos are designed to get as many views as possible, so they need to be visually entertaining and mentally stimulating.
So make sure you know if you just want entertainment or if you’re engaged and ready to practice.
The truth about skill acquisition is that it takes time, usually a lot of time, because:
I attempt to be realistic in my courses by providing:
There is no magic formula or...
Have you ever felt like your brakes are too powerful?
Or that your brakes don’t have modulation?
If so, then this article will explain why.
I’m going to use wheelies as context, but the theory can be applied in other circumstances too.
First off, brake modulation is when you're dragging your brakes, somewhere on the continuum between off and on.
In order to feel modulation for wheelies, your rear brake needs to be loaded, and this load is dependent on your Float Zone Weight Distribution.
For example, you WON'T be able to experience modulation when:
You’re in the front of the float zone or lower, or in other words a position where your front wheel wants to fall down forward when you’re not pedaling. If you add speed to this, then any hint of rear brake will throw the front wheel down without any chance to experience modulation. (Great for when you’re training your finger to rear brake habit).
Modulation during wheelies is...
Winter is prime time for cross training and refining your skills - it just requires some creativity.
Russ, one of our coaches, shares some great ideas in this video.
Do you have any winter practice ideas or suggestions to help inspire others in this community?