How can you resist? You have the skills, and the lines you imagine are just waiting there to be ridden by YOU. They speak to you and say "I'm ridable, come play". You ask yourself, 'What could go wrong?' And whatever comes to mind needs to be dampened by another question, which is, 'What could go right?'. If you stay open, creative and curious, then fun optional lines will begin to show up everywhere. Ride ON!
By Molly Hurford - Coach & Ambassador
You’ve already signed up for the Ryan Leech Connection (RLC), so you’ve taken the first step towards improving your bike skills. But unfortunately, just signing up doesn’t guarantee results: you have to show up consistently, both in terms of watching the skills videos and moving through the courses, and actually getting outside to practice. Whether you’ve been training for years already or you’re a complete newbie, there are a few ways to get the most out of your membership. Let’s dive in!
Make It Easy
Why don’t people get outside to practice, or watch a new video every day? Because life gets in the way. The bike is dirty. I forgot my password. I got sidetracked checking email. Set yourself up for success instead. Have your bike and necessary gear (helmet, shoes) by the door so you’re always ready to get outside at a moment’s notice. If you’re the type of person who gets...
Retreat: My annual two-week screen-free holiday is over and new riding adventures await, more on that below… My online business is a labor of love - I pour huge amounts of computer time in to operate it. If you’re logging loads of screen time have you considered an extended break from all things electronic?
Ideas: For me, ideas flow differently when I’m free from the constant information stream of the internet. I used paper to capture my thoughts and dreams instead of with apps like trello, keep and slack. Stress busting bike rides trigger different thought patterns too, but disconnecting completely for a couple weeks is totally refreshing!
Vanlife: Turns out that it's in the best interest of my customers and sponsors to create video content on a variety of terrain types and trail networks ;-) ...So why not live and work on the road for extended periods of time? I have a new truck and a camper unit being built for it. Truly a mountain bikers dream...
From August 20 - September 3rd I'll be on my annual unplugged retreat, free from all things electronic. I highly value this time offline with my family, in fact it was on this retreat four years ago that I conceived the idea for the 30 Day Wheelie Challenge.
I recorded a Summer Update video, one take and first try ;-) In it I provide some reflection of the past year and some insight on where things are heading - it’s about 7 minutes of me rambling on about RLC!
The coach and ambassador team is ready to go in lieu of my absence, so keep firing away questions and reflections. I’ve also prepared a new skill drill challenge which will be shared next week!
High Fives Everyone!
Netanel is a venture capitalist and a mountain biker, or, as he says, maybe the other way around! He leads a busy life working and riding all over the world, and lives in Israel with his wife and five kids.
Interview by Coach Elaine Bothe
Hi Netanel, thank you for spending time with us. Is your name pronounced like it's spelled? Is “Net” your nickname? Yes, it’s short for Netanel (Nathaniel). My wife thought it was too long so she cut it in half. Plus it goes well with my business ;)
That makes sense since you are a global businessman. Where did you grow up, and where are you living now? I grew up in Malmo, Sweden but have lived in Helsinki, London and Palo Alto, CA. Now I live in Israel since 2001.
I enjoyed reading your blog MTBVC.com, especially your adventures and the story of Bill Tai and his kite surfing site, but what does the VC stand for in your website name? VC? It’s short for Venture Capital. So I call it The Mountain Biking Venture...
When students submit their practice videos I can provide much more accurate coaching feedback when compared to written questions. This video is a compilation of just some of those videos students submit.
Skill development requires practice, patience and persistence. To add some flavour to this compilation I asked some of the riders to submit a quote that helps with their dedication - I hope it inspires you to get outside and practice!
We all have different relationships to risk throughout our mountain biking life. Below is my experience and I'd love to know about yours in the comments below...
For over 20 years, I maintained a high riding standard for my entertainment based film segments. My integrity as a pro survived based on my ability to maintain that standard and manage high risk riding lines consistently. Risk was worth it, and has served my career well.
My pay cheques relied on it. Nail that line. Perform that show. Over and over. Body & mind in sync and on-board for the ride.
Throughout a recent filming trip to Europe, I felt the momentum to maintain my filming standards. Each time I was faced with the possibility of riding a cool but risky line I was conflicted. When I tried to ride the line my body just wouldn’t do what I knew it should be able to do, or I chose not to ride the line because all I could see was the increased potential for crashes and injuries. It was a...
Have you ever raced or does it scare you? Consider racing just to ride as your goal! You’ll challenge yourself, your skills and your fitness. Where else but a race can you enjoy following a stranger who’s just a little bit faster than you or share your secrets with someone a little slower? You’ll discover new trails and meet new riding buddies. You’ll try features you might not otherwise, and ride in weather you certainly wouldn’t ride in otherwise.
When I started riding, my closest friends were more interested in road riding. I had one or two mountain biking friends, but I felt embarrassed to ride with them as they were so fast.
So I signed up for my first cross-country mountain bike race. I went alone. It sounded like a fun excuse to go ride in a place I’ve never visited. To get there I drove to the middle of nowhere through ice and snow, turned right, and then drove another 30 miles.
I found a lot of comfort out on the course. In a race...
An inspiring and useful course completion report from Renzo who just finished The 12 Ride Flat Pedal Challenge. Thanks Renzo!…
Completion Reflection Questions and Answers from Renzo:
1) How would you describe the increase of connection to and with your bike from Ride #1 and now after Ride #12?
a) Before starting the flat pedal challenge, I would have described my connection to my bike as a good combination of line choice assisted by being clipped in, with the “clipless” (man, I hate that paradox) aspect providing forgiveness for flawed technique. I was “one with the bike” in a more literal, mechanical sense due to being grabbed by the clipless system. That allowed me to force the bike into following me instead of working with it to achieve a goal in a smoother way.
b) Currently, I’d say I’m “one with the bike” in a more metaphorical or spiritual sense. I’m more aware of the feedback that I’m receiving through the...
Written By Coach Elaine Bothe from the Ryan Leech Connection Team
“Should I or shouldn’t I?” Enjoying challenges, building skills progressively and assessing risks are part of what makes mountain biking so fun. But how do you decide if a feature on an unfamiliar trail is within your skills or comfort zone? This article isn’t going to teach you dropping and jump skills (we’ll save those for other sections on this website). We will help you build your own assessment tools and how to decide whether to try a feature or save it for another day!
Learning good drop technique, building up to the big ones slowly and investigating a drop before sending it will be safer and more fun when you are ready!
Is it rollable? Many small drops and jumps are rollable, which makes a trail more enjoyable to riders with a variety skills. When I’m checking out a new feature, I’ll walk it, look at it from the top and from the bottom first. I look for odd...