Getting ready for the Alps

I coached Mike last year before his holiday and today him and 6 of his riding buddies came to develop their riding further. I worked on correcting the small things in their riding that have a huge effect overall. Drops, jumps, gaps, stepps, pumping cornering and linking larger jumps were all covered during the awesome session. A cracking way to end a fantastic weeks coaching

High5!

Pre Alpine coaching

Mike, Richard, Ted and Bob wanted a tune up before their holiday in Morzine. I ran them through the skills check and found body positioning and looking needed work. Then we applied their corrected skills sets to various sections. Jumps, berms, drops, Gaps and pumping were all covered. Brilliant progression and smoother riding was the result of the session.

High5 guys!

 

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Tour du Mt Blanc

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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!

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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.

From Switzerland

 

Paul and his 11yr old son Cam live in Switzerland and came over for a skills session to help with Cam’s xc racing. The skills check showed they both needed footwork, looking and body positioning worked on and then the mental skills also. We started with Endo’s to show how simple that technique is and then we moved to the drop technique. They were both surprised at how easy they all were once they used their new skills sets.

Onto cornering and then to linking sections of the singletrack trail together. Pumping, rock gardens, steps, drops and jumps were linked to flat, bermed, off camber and switchback turns. We took a break as I know all too well that kids get tired quickly even if they remain upbeat.

We resumed with linking drops into corners and then onto pumping and absorbing multiple sections of a trail to maintain speed and railed through three berms that followed.

What a pleasure it was to coach them both and I look forward to the future riding updates,

High5!

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Arni and Fish’s session

Arni and Fish were waiting for me when I arrived as they beat the traffic as they made their journey across the country. We shared a coffee and chatted about their expectations for the session.

I began with the skills check and set up changes and that made an immediate difference to their control of the trail as it would proved as soon as we applied their corrected skills to various features.

Drops were first up and they were soon landing perfectly from the 3ft drop. I moved to the steep sections as they were going to the alps this coming friday, so I wanted to prepare them as much as possible. I demonstrated various ways of riding a near vertical drop off as well as riding alpine style switchbacks. When it came their turns they were surprised at how simple and controlled everything felt as even the steep switchbacks were manageable.

We moved to cornering and that really hit home with Fish as he felt the grip of his edge much like his snowboard. I demonstrated linking three berms together and then it was their turn . They were riding with confidence born from control.

We took a break and resumed with jumping and developing pop. The 6ft tabletop and then gap jump was used and they were soon sailing into the hertfordshire skies.

I then covered pumping and absorbing sections of trail and they linked the three berms into the line and the large faced jump to finish .

Lastly, we moved to a larger gap, 9ft in fact,  to work on speed and effort to get the distance. After a good few goes it was clear they were tiring mentally and our session came to a close.

rad session, High5!

 

 

 

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Father and Son alpine prep session

Alex bought his dad Bill a mountain bike coaching session with myself as a xmas present. The hot sun greeted us and the skills check revealed to me the missing skills that needed work before we moved on through the session gradually applying both mental and physical skills to techniques such as cornering, drops, jumps, pumping, steeps and steep drop offs as well as linking berms and carrying speed.

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