/ MTB training

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JimR - on 20 Jul 2017
On a recent outing I became aware how inept I am on the mtb when I walked the bike up trails and then walked it down again , falling off twice in between! Any recommendations on courses worth doing to improve skills or should I give up and stick to gravel tracks and roads?
L Lifeismeaningless - on 20 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

Where abouts are you based? There are a number of really good coaches about these days. If not, try and get to a trail centre that builds up technicality in the grades, some trail centres rate things as black because they are long but not especially hard and things.
JimR - on 20 Jul 2017
In reply to Lifeismeaningless:

I'm based in flat Cambridgeshire but happy to travel to the Peak /Yorkshire
jethro kiernan - on 20 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

Recently did a skills day with the local MTB club
Really worth it and you can take away a lot of the practice exercises and use a car park park whatever to practice.
Most of it is about getting your weight right on the bike, and loosening up and giving the bike room so you can move it around underneath you whilst keeping your head up and reading the trail ahead.
Plas y Brenin do skills days
It is also worth checking out the global mountain biking network on YouTube for some basic skills drills
Good luck
dsh - on 20 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

I was ok at riding but mostly getting by on brute force and ignorance. I did a skills clinic and my riding improved massively, next time out on the trails was like night and day. It's all about weight distribution/body position on the bike.
Murderous_Crow - on 20 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:
Some good replies here. And coaching will surely get you right. But there are a few things you can sort for free on your own first.

Ensure you drop your seat enough on technical ground.

Get your brake levers set for one-finger use without having to reach excessively or extend the finger to catch them. Your index finger should naturally rest on the lever somewhere near the last joint with no undue effort. This will improve braking performance, and positively affecting everything else in cornering and adjusting for obstacles. No more snatchy braking! Remember you can adjust the brake levers in and out laterally, forwards and back with the adjuster screw, and axially around the bar to get the perfect position for when you're hanging in your usual riding approach position (neutral, elbows and knees soft, head up).

Experiment with tyre pressures - a drop of just a few psi can yield big differences in grip and the feel of the bike, esp. in the wet. Going carefully and progressively down. If using tubed tyres be aware of risk of pinch flats, esp. on rocky ground or if you're a bit on the larger side. So don't go mad and drop pressures to 17 psi straight off

Some basic things there in terms of setup, but for me there are three things which helped more than anything else to improve my riding:

- the concept of looking all the way through an obstacle to the far side. From what you're saying you'll probably be amazed at how much this helps. It always bears practicing, as it should become an instinctive process. When it does, unexpected changes in the trail will faze you far less. In essence it's the old thing from driving 'look where you want to go'. Use your peripheral vision to register your progress through an obstacle and adjust your line, while focusing on the exit.

- use body English to get your arse back a bit when descending, forward a bit when climbing, and decked directly above the tyres' contact patch when cornering. You're looking to lean the bike up / down / sideways while sticking your centre of gravity in the most advantageous position. You can then get into manipulating weight transfer to unweight and lift the front for drops, rocks and logs etc. which is a really key technique.

- relax consciously. Let the bike wriggle around as you ride, it won't spit you off (most of the time!). Being tense is a recipe for disaster and / or a short riding day, as your hands become too pumped to grip, brake and steer effectively.

Definitely don't give up. I came back to it recently after nearly 20yrs off and love it as much as I did back then. MTB is ace

ETA Jethro is spot on with GMBN, it's a great resource. Wish I had it when I was starting MTB!
Post edited at 18:24
JimR - on 20 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

thanks all
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Tom Hutton MTB Guiding - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to JimR:

If you're still interested, closer to you, and superb, is Tony Doyle of www.ukbikeskills.co.uk

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