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Private clinic

Catrin2011-09-04 15:23:34 +0000 #1
Today I had a private clinic with a great coach. She claims that I am not, technically speaking, a true beginner but more of a beginner-intermediate. We had several hours of parking lot/grass drills where she had me doing some pretty cool stuff that I didn't think I could do

No hopping though, working on internalizing more basic skills before I go there.

It was >96 degrees, and the drills were pretty much in full sun - we started at noon. By the time we headed for the trail I was pretty much wiped out and only lasted about 20 minutes on the trail before I got nausea. It was a fun 20 minutes though

Have been fighting the nausea thing these past few days on the bike - I think it is from the heat wave, it is just too hot.

I did stop/fall over more than I would have liked, but I've a better understanding on why. I've a problem taking those skills from the drills and actually applying them on the trail - but that will come with practice and more time on both drills and trails. I think it was good we spent so long on the drills though. when I was at the larger clinic last month there really were too many in my group to slow down and focus on those things I needed help with.

I swear she could read my mind, even behind me she could tell when I was looking down the trail or right in front of me

indysteel2011-09-04 15:34:24 +0000 #2
I'm glad you got a lot out of the session, although it's too bad it was so hot. How exhausting in the full sun.

I'd love to hear more specifics about the drills. Maybe you could elaborate when you have some time.
Catrin2011-09-04 15:37:22 +0000 #3

Originally Posted by indysteel

I'm glad you got a lot out of the session, although it's too bad it was so hot. How exhausting in the full sun.

I'd love to hear more specifics about the drills. Maybe you could elaborate when you have some time.

Sure - I am just so tired right now that I could just about drop. A beer and Camelbak cleaning session - will post details in the morning
indysteel2011-09-04 15:39:44 +0000 #4
I fugured as much. No hurry; Just when you have some time and energy. Go have that beer!
Nick2011-09-04 16:10:07 +0000 #5
Thanks for sharing, Catrin! Sorry to hear that the heat was overwhelming. I'm glad you got to spend time working with a great coach, though. I plan to do that in August. I look forward to hearing about your drills and skills. What did you enjoy the most, what did you hate... and what was most challenging?
Catrin2011-09-04 15:50:25 +0000 #6
It was a great afternoon, though I didn't realize how hot it was because the humidity was a bit lower than it has been and I was so focused on our drills. Sorry in advance for the book below

Nick - I am very much a beginner, I don't know what level you are, so this might not be too useful for you - just wanted to say that at the start. Indy, I hope this is helpful. I must say that I liked that park!

My coach is great, she knew where I was starting from since she was one of the instructors at the women's clinic last month and knew that my group was too large to really take advantage of the instruction. She did say they will take a different approach next year that should help.

We started with the same drills from the clinic. Neutral and Ready positions, Front/Aft/Sideways bike/body separation. I did fine with all of those aside from the sideways/windshield wiper movement. That last one is just plain difficult for me and I need to keep practicing it.

Next we worked on steering and weaving between the cones. At first we started this on pavement, then we moved the cones so I was crossing between pavement, gravel, and grass. Next came circles - both directions.

The last part of the drills session was the most fun

We were in a deserted linear parking lot that had a range of surfaces. Off in the grass were two somewhat crumbling rock ledges - quite small - only a couple of inches off the ground and the height varied. On one ledge the height of the ledge varied from ground level to just an inch or two - on the parallel ledge the height was more consistent - probably 3-4 inches off the ground and the edge was sharper. The ledges themselves were about 4-6 inches in width.

We didn't do any hopping since I am focusing on more basic skills right now - and the ledges weren't so large they required that anyway. So we did a series of drills that involved riding over the ledges, starting with the smaller parts and moving to the larger - eventually riding in circles that had me crossing both ledges - part of which had me riding through a gap in the ledge that was barely wide enough for my tire - the ledge was just tall enough/sharp enough that she didn't want me to try and ride up it. Worked on having proper body position coming off the ledges and remembering to pedal going up them - I want to stop pedaling for some odd reason.

We took two small breaks during the drills from the heat. Don't know how hot it actually was, but her thermometer that had been lying upside down in the grass read 120 at some point - obviously it wasn't THAT hot, but it was D*MN hot! I didn't really feel it though until my stomach started complaining.

The very last thing she had me do before we took off for the trail was to ride down the ledge. That sounds like a small thing, but I've a problem riding a straight line on the trail, but was able to look well down the ledge I was riding and rode perfectly straight

She also had me working on a few other things dealing with basic bike handling - pedaling while standing and a few other things.

We made it about a mile on the trail before I bailed and we took a shortcut back (down a grassy hill that gave a good chance to practice some of the same skills). I did have to stop a lot, fell a couple of times but me and bike are fine. I now understand better what is going on - I need to look further down the trail and actually use the body positions that I do so well in the drills. She said my form with the positions and bike/body separation (outside of the sideways movement) are all pretty good - I just have to make myself use them on the trail

I will hit the trails again ASAP and this time I am going to do things a little differently. Instead on focusing on riding the entire trail all at once, I will give myself permission to session it. I will give myself targets - "ok, I will go from here to there without stopping" - then when I get there will decide if I want to go back and re-ride that section before continuing.

In the end, I think confidence is my biggest issue right now. She said that, technically, I am not a beginner - I just have to transition those skills to the trail. Having said that I would think that is the absolute sign of a beginner, but I trust what she says. She also took a bunch of videos with her phone to prove to me what I was able to do - looking forward to seeing those for when I start doubting myself.

I had fun - though a little frustrated with myself that I only lasted for 1 mile on the trail.
Nick2011-09-04 15:59:52 +0000 #7
Sound like a really great session, Catrin! I'm not sure where I fall in terms of level -- I rode a lot when I was younger, and am getting back to biking after a 20 year hiatus. Some things are very easy for me (such as the windshield wiper movement you describe), and other things are really hard. After taking a mtb clinic, I realize that I have a lot to learn in terms of technique and proper skills. So hearing about your skills training is very helpful :-)

It sounds like the weaving and the ledge work were fun and challenging! I'm sure you'll gradually get the hang of applying all this to the trails. As with most things in life - practice makes perfect, smiles.
indysteel2011-09-04 16:42:13 +0000 #8
It sounds like you had a productive lesson, Catrin. Hopefully you'll have a chance to get back on the trail soon for more practice. DH and I went to Brown County this morning. We started at PL and then took the North Gate Connector for a bit. I really wanted to session the rooty ascent on that trail, but it was just. so. hot. It's just goinh to have to wait for milder temps. From there we rode back down to the parking lot. The "descent" that once scared me is a piece of cake now, and I didn't feel the need to ride my brakes. Yay! We then did Limekiln each way. I love that trail; it has a bit of everything. I noticed today that I'm moving around obstacles a lot more and picking better lines. By necessity, that means I've moving around my bike a lot more. I'm still having a mental/physical block over getting my front wheel up. I'm going to have to work on that in a big way.



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