David was ready and waiting nice and early for his session, so we chatted over a coffee of his hopes for the session. By the time I had corrected his looking and body positioning he was already buzzing and blown away at what he’d learned already.
We then went on to apply both physical and mental skills sets to various sections found on trails. We began with the drop technique and he was worried about the largest one but in a few minutes he was sailing off it easily and knowing why.
We moved to the 6ft tabletop and worked on piecing together his mental and physical skills until he landed perfectly on the transition. After a few clears we took a break for coffee.
We resumed with cornering and the grip David now felt was dramatically more than he’d ever felt. I demonstarted pumping and linking 3 berms together into a jump and David followed suit. He was stunned at how controlled he now felt in the air and was sailing of the large faced jump with confidence.
We moved to steeper terrain and a near vertical drop off to really cement his body positioning and then onto the singletrack trail to work on his fluidity and line choice, especially when linking drops into turns.
Lastly, we moved back to the 6ft tabletop that he was clearing earlier and he found it even easier and then by using his mental skills, he rode the 6ft gap jump a couple of times too.
Amazing progression David.
Mark and Steve arrived as arranged and wanted to work on jumping, drops, steep stuff and maybe even learn to bunnyhop .
The skills check showed looking, body position and footwork errors that needed correcting and a small set up adjustment too.
That then only left the mental skills and what a session it turned into. We worked on the drop technique and then onto the jumping of tabletops, the lads were amazed at how simple and effortless it all suddenly felt.
We moved to pumping and carrying speed through berms and once again , their new skills sets shone through.
After a coffee break, we resumed with various steeper terrain situations including a near vertical drop off. Once the mental skills added up , they both rode them easily.
Onto the singletrack trail and it wasn’t long before they were riding the whole trail and linking the 14 sections contained within it together. Berms, off camber, switchback and flat corners were linked to pumping, pre jumping, steps, rocks and drops.
Before the session ended, I worked on the techniques involved in bunnyhops and that blew them away as they could get over large obstacles that they previously would have to walk or carry over, very easily.
Amazing session guys.
Well, what a trip this turned out to be. My best mate Paul is 50 this year and always said he’d love to do the tour again, so we decided to do it in his 50th year. Myself and 8 friends including my partner Kelly (who drove our bags around to each refuge and set up our rooms) left Chamonix en route to the Col du Forclaz where we were booked in to stay. We rode Le petit Balcon Nord to Le Tour and got the cable car up the Col du Balme. I love the descent down from Le Tour to Trient as it flows beautifully, but the climb up the 4×4 track to where we stayed was a killer in the heat.
Day 2 saw us begin the climb and hike up to Bovine. This took some time and the walkers we met thought we were mad to be going up with bikes, let alone riding down too. Well, what can I say about the descent? It had everything from shale steeps, tight switchbacks, some consequential lines too and we loved every bit of it. After lunch at Champex lac, we continued, following the route Phil had given us. Andy and Stophe (the owner of Contour Cycles ) had plotted on gps and maps. The ridge line and singletrack balcony were a highlight as we rode to La Fouly for a few welcome beers and sleep.
Day 3, The day began cool as we rolled out but by the time we began climbing the Col du Ferret, the temperature was rising and peaked at 41 degrees!! The climb was all done at our own paces and the heat was really beating us up, especially Paul and Lester. The descent was a picture postcard with an awesome backdrop. We choose our own lines down the multiple streams of singletrack and had an awesome pasta lunch at Le Tronchey in the valley below. The afternoon saw us climb up to the refuge Monte Bianco. That climb battered us all. Paul was suffering heat stroke and got in the van for the last 2 miles. When I arrived, I was rung out. I could barely talk but after a cold shower to cool down and some beers I was back to normal :). The storm that night I will always remember.
Day 4, We started early, Lester was too tired to start but joined us later after lunch and the rest of us set off to Col du Seigne. The climb was long, maybe 900m vertical but we took our time and even had time for a very friendly marmot to come say hello. We all loved the descent down. Fast , loose turns all the way down to Chapieux where we had lunch. The the small matter of the road climb up the Cormet du Roseland to the lake where we stayed and drank the place dry! The lady who runs it is a great host and the views from our rooms were breath taking.
The final day has always been my favourite. We climbed for ages. Ross, Llew and Nick were on it and flew up. Myself, Andy, Stophe and Paul made our way up taking time to check out the eagles that were soaring on the thermals and looked back at the lake we stayed in last night. The top of the Col de la Gitte was reached and we descended an awesome, rocky and loose trail to the Col du Joly where we met Kelly and Lester for the best omelettes ever! Phil, who used to guide the route for years for his company mbmb.com joined us for the final half day back into Chamonix as did Lester who was feeling better.
We rode down to Les Contamine and through the parc Thermal to St Gervais. We took the cog railway up to La Vorza where we completed our route back to Chamonix and some very very welcome beers!
We ended our trip where we began, in Chamonix and stayed at Le Vert hotel who do rocking food and awesome beers and wines.
Myself and Kelly spent the last day in Cham by going up the Aiguille du Midi to chill out and dream of our next adventure.
Tony returned today as he wanted to build his confidence more within all of the aspects of his riding. I took him straight to drops, and worked on bringing out the amount of effort he puts in. This allowed him to approach the drops at a variety of different speeds, and still land perfectly.
We moved straight onto the tabletop, and again, once I had him over the gap jump, I started to reduce his speed so he could use his effort to get the same result.
We moved on and I wanted to see how his cornering technique was. Only a small body position correction was required, and he could feel this as he experimented with the top section of the trail. He also rode the drop Into the corner at the bottom of the trail, controlling his speed and making the turn perfectly, and area in which he said he was struggling.
Over to the quarry, I showed him rolling in steeper sections linked with corners, and had him exaggerate his technique to flow through this section. I also demonstrated dropping in sideways, and showed him when this technique would be used on a trail.
I then took him back to three linked berms. He flowed round these nicely, flying off the larger tabletop which followed as well. He had ridden the 7ft gap jump which followed the second corner last time, but now he was able to approach with less speed, and clear the gap with ease.
Finally came the 9ft gap jump in the trees. He had previously been shown this gap and not ridden it, but after I had showed him, he had enough confidence to fly over this gap, landing beautifully on the down slope. To finish off he linked this with the 7ft gap jump he had previously ridden, and the entire pump and jump trail.
Great session tone! See you again soon mate!
Kurt hasn’t been riding for that long, so decided the right way to go about things was to come see us for some mountain bike coaching. I first checked where he was at, seeing the what skills where in place within the techniques that we look for, and I corrected them here.
We moved on to work straight away on dropping and jumping. With his new technique he could see why it used to go wrong when he tried, and was happily riding off the largest drop before long, and also clearing the gap jump.
We had a quick break, then got to work on cornering. I used the hillside first to perfect his technique, and then spent the next hour or so using the top section of the skills trail, and the three linked berms. This covered both bermed and flat corners, as well as tighter and not so tight turns, and he now had to think about his looking, and controlling his speed through the sections.
I showed him the 7ft gap jump which followed the second linked berm. After a speed check he sailed over this without worry, so we moved into the quarry to look at some steeper terrain. Each section I showed him was ridden with control, even dropping in sideways at the end, and he understood the importance of maintaining a correct body position.
Nice one Kurt. Think explode!