Last year I did a trip from Barcelona to Innsbruck with my friend Thomas. It was a 10-year reunion for the trials film 'CRUX' that we released on DVD, just before YouTube came on strong. It was popular in mtb circles and cutting-edge riding at the time.
I had mixed feelings about doing this trip - I was VERY busy running RLC and I also had low desire to take risks to do cool things in front of a camera for others' entertainment (and inspiration), which had, of course, been the basis of my 20 year pro career.
But as you can see from the film, it was a beautiful journey, with loads of fun riding spots, and Thomas is an incredible rider to behold. I learnt a lot about myself as a rider on this 'pro' gig and it really confirmed my purpose and passion for running RLC. This is definitely the right place for me to be investing my time and energy. Hope you enjoy!
Manuals are on every mtn biker’s wishlist. Probably why the Manual Masterclass is one of our most popular courses. So we’ve recently slotted in this awesome little exercise, which integrates all the components of the initial lift. It’s a great drill, and one that will hopefully get you experiencing that crisp, smooth feeling described. Give it a go!
Focus: Reviewing all the components of a manual front wheel lift
Action: Isolate and experience each of the key movements that trigger a manual front wheel lift.
Curiosity: How can each of these be blended so you're not relying too much on just one - for example relying too much on pulling the bars.
Graduate: Once you've experienced the blending and crisp timing of the stomp, the leg extension, the hips shifting rearwards and the hands pulling on the bars.
There are three components to a crisp manual front wheel lift
We choose to mountain bike, it’s an awesome elective in life. It’s a risky sport, on a spectrum from low to high. We [can] choose, moment to moment, where on the spectrum we ride.
“The risk drives a little nervousness before every ride - and associated excitement of being immersed in a zone where nothing else exists and all my stresses in the world fade away.” SB
Risk is a complex topic, it begs for respect, attention and honestly. How you experience and deal with risk is personal, and can be a powerful teacher not only for your approach to riding, but for learning about yourself as a human navigating life. *Of note, all quotes are from students of my online skills courses.
“Risk and MTB riding go together and risk is part of living and creating a meaningful life.” RW
If the signals that risk attempts to communicate are ignored then there is a big price to pay. In my experience, risk wanted me to wake up, not just for clearing a section of trail,...
If you've been on your bike a lot, chances are your hips are tight! Well, desperate times call for desperate measures. To open up those hips we're gonna use a 1-2 combo of ball pressure and targeted stretches to truly make space. The benefits are enormous: with open hips you'll be able to fully lean that bike into corner, enjoy more freedom in your spine, and simply feel more mobile. Are your tight hips looking for relief? Then get them ready for some pressure! - Jeff Mah
What the heck is a practice jam?! On June 3rd, 2018, I'll be offering one in Canmore, AB, and here's a short interview where I share the philosophy behind it.
How does the Practice Jam differ from a Skills Clinic?
In this new jam format you choose what you want to practice based on your skill level and goals and my coaching will be personalized based on where you’re needing assistance or are stuck. A standard skill clinic typically moves everyone through the same drill sequence. The only group coaching I’ll be doing at the jam will be centered around the philosophy of practice and progression. The social aspect is a fun addition - usually a clinic is coach to student, but in a jam format I’m encouraging student to student interaction for sharing tips, guidance and encouragement.
Will we be going on a trail ride?
No trail riding as that usually takes a lot of time with a low amount of coaching opportunity whereas it’s amazing how much practice,...
Over 300 thoughtful quotes were submitted in response to my question: 'What role does risk play for you while mountain biking?'
I've highlighted a few below, it's a potent dose of wisdom on the topic. Having read through each submission and taken notes, I've begun work on a more in depth blog post on this topic. So for now, I hope you appreciate this lovely range of perspectives.
If you decide to read through all of these, please share any patterns or themes you notice in the comments below. Ride ON!
Risk to sport is like spice to cooking. Without a little to flavor the stew the result is awfully bland. That said, the difference between “a little” and “too much” is very small and extremely worthy of our careful consideration. M.S.
...I ride today in a manner such that I know I will be able to ride tomorrow. K.G.
I'm 71 and love the rush, but always consider the recovery time that will take away future riding time. It's a...
Devon Balet shares the secrets to surviving an extended period off the bike
492 days since I’ve ridden my mountain bike.
Spread out on a large concrete picnic table, everything is within reach: cameras, water, coffee and food. A cool breeze blows over my laptop as I punch away at the keyboard with a canyon-edge view above the Colorado River and Ruby Horsetheif Canyon. Over the past 500 days I have learned how to slow down.
I still haven’t put my leg over a mountain bike for one simple reason; my body wasn’t ready. People would ask me when would I get to ride again, as if there was a defined date. The bone that I broke, the scaphoid, is one of the smallest in the body, and one of the most crucial for a proper functioning wrist. I put hours into rehab and therapy for my hand daily.
During the 500 days I also withstood two more bouts of hand surgery. My wrist is now held together, and totally immobilized, thanks to a titanium plate and eight screws that...
Having reliable access to the rear wheel lift technique, which is the ability to lift your rear wheel off the ground without any slope or front brake influence, is crucial for confident technical trail riding. This is lesson 13 of 36 from the new Tight Switchback & Front Wheel Nose Pivot course.
Bowl theory is at work here, which is the muscular tension felt by connecting your hands and your feet. This fluid but secure connection prevents your feet from flying off the pedals when you jump upwards.
Devon Balet recounts his first year off the bike after a minor accident. The reality of an unexpected injury can suddenly change everything.
As the anesthesiologist wipes my neck with an antiseptic wipe, I pull back slightly. The sudden cool catches me off guard, making me jump.
“Oh, sorry Devon. I should have warned you it would be cold,” replied the caring doctor, but I say nothing.
Looking past my outstretched legs, I watch as my parents walk out of sight towards the waiting room of Vail Surgical Center; the assistant draws up the Versed from a vial. This medication would in essence wipe my mind clean of what was about to happen. The anesthesiologist continues to prep my neck and shoulder for the nerve block to be implanted in my shoulder.
As I watch the assistant flick the full syringe, clearing it of air bubbles, everything suddenly rushes down on me like the crash of an imploded building. Every emotion and feeling comes to light. Every...
Each month the RLC Team of Coaches & Ambassadors selects the best MTB videos from YouTube. Each selection comes with a thoughtful write-up about why the video fits with the RLC motto of Trail-Bike-Body-Mind-Flow. A new collection is published monthly exclusively for members of Ryan Leech Connection, but we wanted to share a sample of what it's all about here.
So grab a cuppa, and enjoy some amazing scenery and stunning landscapes from the February selection, courtesy of Ambassador, Gianluca Spini.
"These places are my mountains: the Alps. And the protagonists are from Innsbruck (Austria) and belong to a group called Vertrider. It is a different way of understanding the Mtb, which they call Alpine Freeride, where the key is a combination of technical challenge, mountain experience, the accurate estimation of risk, and of one's own abilities. The challenge is to be able to descend from the top of a mountain as far as possible, without setting foot on the ground on paths not...