January 19, 2012 Tony Doyle

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!

Comment (1)

  1. I arrived at the Herts skills area a little later than planned, to allow the rain clouds to disperse and we started the day with a coffee and a catch-up of events since we last met.

    Tony quickly put me through the basic skills check, to see how my cornering, body position etc had changed/improved since last time. I was glad to hear that the basics had become nicely embedded.
    Herts feels familiar to me due to regularly reading this blog, but the field is much larger than i imagined its also steeper than it looks so you dont need much of a run in. Tony demonstrated the drop technique (perfectly – this will be a theme) and i had a couple of runs at the middle one. I landed fine, lived tell the tale as it were, but Tony spotted where i was going ever so slightly wrong. Now on a rollable drop of this size, it was never going to matter, but taking that same technique to a bigger drop was going to cause problems.
    With a very slight change to my body positioning, i re-rode the drop and could feel the difference, i then moved up to the larger drop, probably between 2’6″ and 3’0″ measured vertically. This i landed perfectly, as if it wasnt even there.
    I assumed that i would then move onto the tabletop next to it, but tony doesnt like to dwell in one place for too long and so with a change of tack, he walked me through the top section of the skills trail. As with the drops the pictures dont do it justice in terms of the energy available from the trail, I could see where i wanted to pump and what i would need to do with my footwork and so tony worked at getting my body position correct so that i could get more grip and energy from each section.

    Now ive always been a wheels on the floor rider. Up till ten years ago i had only ridden tourers and the approach to the fly out is exactly the kind of thing that makes me nervous. Through controlling my approach speed on the first few runs, i proved to myself that i wasnt actually going into orbit when i left the lip, in fact i wasnt going to go near the hawthorn bush never mind clear it.
    We then worked on linking the sections together. Jedi spotted that i was prone to losing concentration due to minor seemingly trivial distractions and he did his thing to control this. Even so my technique was getting a bit wobbly, so we stopped for a quick bite and a coffee.

    On returning, i felt stronger and fresher again and while i wasnt perfect, i could see where I was coming up short

    So onto that table top, its 6′ across, lip to lip and as i said earlier, the field is sloped enough that despite the sticky conditions, you would continue to pick up speed. Jedi took me right back to basics, controlling my speed each run so that i could concentrate on my form, with each run i felt more and more at ease, getting my timings right and feeling what i would need to do to clear it, the smile on my face only increased during all of this and nearly split my cheeks when i first felt the rear wheel touching down on the downslope, one more run and then i was happy and keen to move across to the gap side.
    Same distance, but certainly not rollable. I sailed it, whoooosh.

    Now i can jump.

    Moving back up the field to what is referred to as pump and jump, I had a play and by now it felt like playing. I toyed with my speed and body position to gain speed from the trail or get my wheels off the ground. I could have done this for hours.
    After a dozen runs at this we moved on again to a lovely singletrack section, the low sun and a tight corner caught me out a little on my first run and pushing back up the hill for another try, i knew i was tired, the adrenaline of my gap jump had dispersed and I was happy to end the day on a high

    While i came down, Jedi gave me a tour of some of the other ‘equipment’ that he has available to teach on, kids stuff, big kids stuff

    Words really dont do the day justice, best christmas present ever – thanks Kathy, Mum & Dad
    Cant wait for my next ride, probably wont!

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