Team Raven flies

Team raven guys Tim, Josh, Luke, Graham, David and John made the journey to me from Bath and on arrival I wasted no time and started with the skills check. I found looking, feet and body positioning skills were missing and I made the necessary set up changes and set to work.

We began with applying the simple skill set, both physical and mental, to the drop technique and the ease of it all surprised them all. In 20 years Graham had never got his wheels of the ground and now it all changed. I was even able to show why the same skills enable riders to move the bike in the air and style it too.
From there I moved them onto the skills trail and I broke the 14 sections contained within it down to bite sized chunks and began working on gradually linking them together.

I demonstrated basic and a more advanced pumping technique and why you use this energy to connect to the trail. We used the gained speed to ride the following berm and flat corner and their new skill set meant that they were already becoming smoother and more controlled, the speed came naturally. I added a rock garden and two more corners into the mix and again, they all rode them easily. Now that they were linking six sections of the trail together using the identified braking zones I was able to add in a fly out jump and corner with a step in the exit and I showed why you would apply the skill set again to absorb sections to gain control. soon they were linking drops into corners too and they began riding the entire trail end to end. First they did it alone and the flow really came to the fore and later they rode as a group. This was cool to watch as they all rode with a big smile on their faces and felt confident as they committed to each section.

Lastly, I moved them onto the 6ft tabletop and gap jump. They now looked apprehensive but as I demonstrated why the skill set applied here too their fears disappeared and in no time at all they were sailing over the tabletop and some even rode the gap side too, styling it in the air!
They rode it well into double figures each before tiredness began to show and the session came to an end to smiles all round. After my week away in Chamonix learning to snowboard it was great to get back to what I love doing and this was the best way to do so.
Great riding guys!

Overcoming Dom’s fears

Dom loves his riding but came to me as he feared airtime and anything steep and was recommended by another rider to come to see me. The skills check revealed all I needed to know and I set up his bike for him too so he could feel in control. I could see he needed looking and body positioning worked on and the rest was psychological.
We began with the drop technique and to Dom’s surprise, all three drops were easy with his new mental and physical skill set.

I began with pumping techniques and using this energy to connect to the trail. He then used this free speed to ride the berms,flat,off camber and switchback turns , rock garden, jump and drops. We worked down the trail methodically always adding the previous sections to the next and linking them via their correct braking areas.

I worked hard on linking drops into corners too and he was now riding larger drops than ever and also linking them at greater speed into corners.
After a few runs we had a break and I moved onto my new singletrack with more technical features. We started with a steep roll into a berm and Dom didn’t think he’d ride it but using his mental skills questions he rode it smoothly and in control. I showed him some more of the trail and he carried speed through a berm to ride up a bus stop.

Dom, then rode it all together and was surprised that not only did he ride it easily but he felt fluid and always in control.

Finally, we moved onto a steep drop that can be rolled and also dropped. This really was a big fear for Dom but in a short time building up on other, smaller roll ins he not only rolled down it but also used his drop technique to fly off it too , landing 5ft down the drop.
The session ended there as Dom was physically and mentally tired.
Great session Dom and I’m looking forward to seeing you again.

January’s singletrack skills public session

Charlene, Lee, Neil and Mark turned up as arranged at the Herts skills area for the session and I soon set to work. They all had various degrees of experience with riding off road but the skill set is the same regardless. I found footwork, looking and body position faults that covered up any good habits in their riding. I changed their set ups and they were amazed at the difference it all made.
The first technique We applied their new skill set to was drops. They found it so easy as they landed perfectly. Charlene was amazed that she got off the ground at all and the boys all began flying off all 3 drops.

From there we moved onto the skills trail and I showed why their skill set, both mental and physical applies to everything you come across on a trail. Pumping was used to connect to the trail and the speed gained was carried through the following berm and flat corner. They could all feel the massive grip change and Mark was smiling as he rode each turn chatting to himself as he went. We moved to the rock garden, berm and switchback turn. Charlene once again stunned herself as she was convinced she couldn’t ride them but found the whole affair simple. Lee and Neil were now tearing along with smiles plastered across their faces.

Next we used the fly out to pump and develop speed to easily control riding up steep, short slopes and by a subtle change in application Lee and Neil were jumping up it too.

I worked on drop offs and linking them into corners with braking control and line choice and the riders could roll or use their drop technique as their mental skills dictated.
Even the rain couldn’t dampen their spirits and in fact it made them feel the difference in grip and control their new skills sets brought.
They then began riding the trail end to end. One by one at first then as a group and each run was so fluid and confident compared to the riders they were when we started.
Tiredness, both mentally and physically brought the session to an end.
Loved it!

Steve’s return after 2 years

I coached Steve 2 years ago at Woburn and late last year he broke his wrist whilst riding something he’d ridden tons before and this had effected his riding mentally.
The skills check showed me that all of the physicality from our first session had embedded perfectly and that I could now work on his body position in corners and that I had some work to do on his mental skill set.
We began with drops and although Steve rode all 3 drops I could see a protective mechanism was there as residue from his crash and Once I can find it I can remove it.

We moved onto the skills trail and I used the top half to begin with. I developed his pumping more from our first session and we used the energy gained to ride the following berm, flat corner, rock garden, berm and switchback. I enhanced his body position and he could feel the effect of weight distribution on grip.

We moved down to the bottom half of the trail and I worked on the fly out jump to get Steve used to getting into the air again and linked it to a corner with a step on the exit, berm , off camber turn, drop and bermed corner. Steve was now flowing nicely and was relaxing more and more on the jump and the drop too. We rode the trail end to end and it was so fluid and fast but I could feel him comfort braking as he approached the drop into the berm and this was something we worked on before once again riding it end to end with way better results.

I moved us onto the 6ft table top and gap jump and had to work hard on Steve’s mental skill set to enable him to commit to his physical skills and clear the tabletop. Once he had cleared it the smile grew even wider as he rode down to the gap jump and sailed over that too. Now Steve was back and pushing his riding along sweetly.
We moved onto the pump and jump trail and used his pumping through various undulations to gain enough speed to jump a 9ft tabletop.
Our session ended with a run down my new singletrack and Steve declared mental tiredness and called the session to a close.
Awesome riding Steve!

Gary’s 1 to 1 skills session

Gary has been riding for 2yrs and wanted to know the best way to do stuff before he’d developed too many bad habits. Over a coffee in the cold of the morning, we chatted about his past sporting experiences and his aspirations for the session.
I began as ever, with my skills check and I could see Gary needed body positioning and looking skills missing. I totally changed the set up of his Santa Cruz Nomad and then off we went to apply the new skills to the drop technique.

Here I went through the four mental skills questions that I teach riders to always ask themselves when faced with a new section and Gary applied the physical skills too and sailed through the air landing perfectly. He said he could feel the difference totally as it all required less effort.
We moved onto the skills trail and I showed why the skills applied to pumping and how to enhance the trails energy using this technique .

Gary then used this gained energy to link in the following berm, flat corner, rock garden and further two corners. The new body positioning really enhanced his grip in turns too and his confidence grew. We added a fly out jump, corner with a step on the exit and worked on line choice when linking drops into corners. Finally, Gary was riding the entire trail end to end and was so smooth now as a result of the session.

Gary was beginning to tire mentally and I knew we’d have just enough time for me to teach him to jump tabletops. Gary said that he had always slowed right down and rolled over them but a short time later he was sailing over the 6ft tabletop with commitment and confidence.

Gary called an end to our session after riding the table top a good few times as he was done mentally. Great session and I’m looking forward to his on going development.

Over coming fears when riding

Tracey had the session given to her as a gift from her husband Martin and we had to delay the session back in December when she broke her ankle while running. On arrival today, we chatted over a coffee and chatted about the effect breaking her ankle had on her overall confidence.
I started with the skills check and found that Tracey sat down in corners and had footwork and looking faults too. I changed her set up and showed her why I had done so and the control she now felt was vastly different to before.
I corrected her braking technique and then we applied both the mental and physical skill set to the drop technique. I worked hard on the mental side of Tracey’s riding and the yells of joy when she flew through the air could be heard for miles. The new found confidence in her riding was shining through already and after a few more runs we moved on to work on pumping and cornering.
I used a mound on the trail to show why pumping generates free speed and Tracey linked the following berm and flat corner to it also. Now her cornering technique was so much better than before but the rock garden was a complete block when I showed Tracey it so I moved past that onto riding up steep short slopes and riding down steps. Tracey used the four mental skills questions that I teach to decide whether she could ride them and then fluidly rode both sections.
Now she was believing in herself and wanted to go back to the rock garden and in a short while, Tracey rode them and immediately said how easy it felt as she was in control all of the time.
Our final technique was to pump undulations on a trail and generate speed from them to ride the next. Tracey was smiling all the time now as she felt in control and rode with a renewed confidence.
Our session ended when her ankle began to ache and she was tiring. Great session Tracey and I look forward to your updates.

Mark’s mtb skills session

Mark made his way to me from Reading way and on a crisp, cold morning we started with my skills check. During this time I made set up changes and found looking and body position faults that needed correcting. We moved to our first technique, drops and I showed why the mental and physical skill sets applied. Immediately, Mark could feel the different that his new skills were making as he was landing perfectly and effortlessly.

From there we moved onto the skills trail and I broke the 14 sections down into bite size chunks so Mark could focus on small segments before joining them together. Pumping was the first technique and we used the gained free speed to link in a berm and flat corner. Marks body positioning was something he could feel as he generated a grip he hadn’t had previous to seeing me. I added in a rock garden, that Mark required his mental skill set to ride and linked them to the following berm and switchback corners before going back to the start and joining them all together. I moved down to a fly out jump and showed why the skill set enables simple airtime and we linked that to a more technical corner before once again, returning to the top and linking all the previous sections together using the correct braking areas.
I moved onto the end of the trail and worked on linking corners and drop offs together by line choice and braking technique which took some work but soon We were riding the entire trail end to end and the fluid control and new found confidence shone through on each run.
We moved onto what would prove to be the final technique of the session, jumping tabletops.

It took Mark’s new physical but also his mental skills to be applied correctly but as commitment to his push blossomed he sailed over the tabletop with a big smile on his face. A few more clears and mental fatigue began to show and the session ended to keep him safe.
Great session!