I Feel Like a Kid Again – I'm Catching Air at 44

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At RLC, we wanted to learn what acquiring skills looks like from our members' point of view, so we asked some of them. Here’s one from a long-time RLC member, Michelle Roe.

I'm Michelle, I work full time for the NSW Government in a policy role, and live in North-East Victoria, Australia.
 
I bought my first mountain bike in 2007. It wasn't until 2015 that I really started to progress my skills when my husband and I first jumped on board with RLC. When I started, I had no idea what rocking, hopping, manualing or any specific skills were. Now I do, and I love it.
 
As a ‘child-free’ couple, we were looking to bring back some childlike fun into our lives and RLC hit the spot. I am having more fun now than ever on my bike. And I’m catching some air at 44. Sweet!

What skills have you made progress in recently? 

Definitely jumping. I now enjoy clearing small and medium tables and have begun to experiment with longer tables and small or lower consequence gap jumps.
 
I dove into the Jump with Confidence course in November 2017. I found the journey a challenge. Like most members, it was hard to find a good beginner table. I settled for using a longer table at the local BMX track. This wasn’t ideal and I had many practice sessions that ended in frustration.
 
I had my first break-through when I finally found a good beginner table with a nice run in. That was in May 2018. The fore-aft movement pattern was much easier to commit to when I could see the landing and when the landing matched the take off-ramp.
 
 
 

What were your biggest lessons, breakthroughs or "aha" moments on this journey?

My first breakthrough was in May 2018 - I was delaying my stomp cycle until much later than I thought I needed to. For those new to jumping, the stomp cycle is one of the first progressions in the RLC jumping course.
 
I went from not getting much height to getting loads of height, simply through committing to a late stomp cycle. I also focussed on stomping perpendicular to the ramp face rather than stomping down vertically. I noticed that when I did this my soles matched (were level with) the take-off and stayed that way until I was airborne. Only levelling off when the bike was above the table.
 
These adjustments identified by the RLC coaches made a world of difference in my riding.
 
 
My second breakthrough was in October 2020. I had taken a break and had regressed. I posted videos for feedback, got some great advice and encouragement from RLC coaches and members, and got my mojo back. 
 
I got the nerve to ‘improve’ my bowl theory to land slightly front wheel first, rather than my usual both wheels landing simultaneously. It was pretty amazing how steep/tipped forward it felt. The result was incredible.
 
My third breakthrough was also in October 2020. I finally got the courage to hit a long jump of around 7 metres (21 feet) long and took advice to link jump features together more.
 
It was amazing. It was probably the first time that I really felt that at higher speeds the compression happens without an aggressive stomp. It’s more important to sink or compress and then to stand or extend strongly on the take off rather than stomp aggressively.
 
 
My fourth breakthrough was in December 2020 at a pump track in Tasmania. It included some sweet tables and I landed them so much better when I totally relaxed and held no tension in my arms.

What aspects of RLC were most helpful to you on this skills journey?

Without a doubt the videos and coaching advice, and the accountability that comes from connecting with members. I found it really useful to take my own video and then compare it to footage in the lessons and I found it invaluable to receive feedback when I posted my videos, especially from the coaches and members who are more advanced than me. It is really motivating to receive encouragement from other members.
 
I feel motivated to keep practicing when I get good advice and want to show that it was worth their while in taking the time to share their wisdom with me.
 

Interested in Becoming an RLC Member?

Over the last 5 years, RLC has helped thousands of riders reach their goals. We’ve received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from our members and we’ve seen them make some serious progress in their skills. 

Click to LEARN MORE.

 
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