Yesterday I attended a 3 hour mt. biking clinic at the Valmont Bike Park with instructor Lee from Lee Likes Bikes. Wow did I learn some stuff. One of the things I realized is that I LOVE mt. biking because it is rad but not because I am very good at it – usually when I am riding I am cranking and hanging on and not very clear on what I am doing most all of the time. Lee taught us how to have an “attack stance,” where we balance on the pedals at all times with our belly buttons over the crank and our hips back and low and our elbows bent and out and our torsos low to the handle bars and our hands very lightly touching the grips. Try doing that! it is like doing chair pose on a moving surface on the balls of your feet! After a while I got the hang of it. See picture below – notice my elbows are not really out, need to work on that.
The next thing we worked on was stopping. Lee taught us to brake efficiently and quickly and then get back to riding, no more dragging down a hill with the breaks on. SO, follow gravity move your attack stance back and down as you brake to keep your center of gravity over the cranks and brake hard.
On to turning: stay over cranks again and lean the bike away from you – the wheels and the bike will automatically turn with the radius of the tire. LOOK where you are turning, and even turn your hips in that direction. This was an awesome feeling but scary, I felt like I was going to lay my bike and myself down on the dirt.
we took on the pump track to finish the clinic. Here we learned to aggressively push down on the pedals and handlebars when the terrain moves down or slopes down, and pull up when the terrain is up hill. Remember to keep your body in the attack stance, over the cranks!
I’ll be spending a ton of time on my bike this summer retraining my neurons to ride a bike differently and letting go of bad old habits. Thanks to Lee and all the clinic attendees for a great day on the bike!