Mountain Bike Geezer teams up with Ryan Leech, pro mountain biker & coach

Ryan LeechI’m pleased to announce that I’m teaming up with pro mountain biker Ryan Leech at his Performance Mountain Biking & Coaching website, RyanLeech.com. As a longtime customer and student of Ryan’s, I’ve seen firsthand how his instructional philosophy mirrors my beliefs that:

  • Online instructional modules should make use of videos, graphics, text, so you can pick your preferred ways to learn.
  • Online instruction should emphasize how you can learn more directly from your experience, guiding your attention to what happens when you do different things so that you become more confident in your ability to learn.

His first two online courses (30-Day Wheelie Challenge; and Baseline Balance Skills) live up to his site’s tagline: “Creating the highest quality, most comprehensive and effective online technical skill training programs for mountain bikers.”  The depth of the instruction (yes, LOTS of drills and exercises) and the superb production quality are impressive.

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The Camelbak KUDO enduro hydration pack I won has served its purpose

Last spring, Camelbak announced that they were giving away two K.U.D.U. enduro hydration packs a week during their #gnarliestdescent Instagram photo/video contest.

Camelbak gnarliest descent contest 2015

Back in April, I rode the Foxx Rocks portion of the COGGS Piedmont mtb trail that runs along the cliff above Haines Rd in Duluth. A few photos:

Foxx Rocks portion of the COGGS Piedmont mtb trail, Duluth Foxx Rocks portion of the COGGS Piedmont mtb trail, Duluth Foxx Rocks portion of the COGGS Piedmont mtb trail, Duluth

I entered a video of me riding it, taken with my GoPro, chesty view. This image links to the Instagram post with the 15-second video:

Continue reading The Camelbak KUDO enduro hydration pack I won has served its purpose

What I’m doing to learn from my nasty skinny drop crash

I crashed hard on my first attempt to ride the new 4-foot high skinny drop at Hillside MTB Park in Elk River, MN a month or so ago. I somehow had it in my head to not go too fast, that it was better to err on the slow side. And since I’m good at riding skinnies, riding it slow was not a problem, or so I thought. 22-second video:

Looking at the video, clearly visible in the slowmo segment, I not only approached the lip too slow but I didn’t use any ‘technique.’ My front wheel dropped immediately and OTB I went.

Fortunately, I was completely armored up: chest and spine protection, shoulder & elbow pads, hip and tailbone pads, knee and shin pads. Unfortunately, I was pretty shaky afterwards and decided to bail on my riding companions, L to R, Paul Hogan, Troy Sierakowski,  and Bradley Cyr:

L to R, Paul Hogan, Troy Sierakowski, and Bradley Cyr

I sustained some cracked ribs on my right side, which have pretty much healed since with no complications.

Here’s a video of Hillside’s DirtWirx trail steward Rich Omdahl riding the skinny drop on the day it was installed this past summer:

Continue reading What I’m doing to learn from my nasty skinny drop crash

With help from Penn Cycle’s Michael Weiss, Trek replaces my X-Caliber frame

A few months ago I noticed two small cracks developing at the top of the seat tube on the frame of my 2011 Trek X-Caliber 29’er. It gradually got to the point where seat post wouldn’t stay up. A couple of my fellow riders suggested that I check with my local Trek dealer since the Trek Care bike warranty covers “Frames for the lifetime of the original owner.”

I bought the bike from Penn Cycle (see my June 2011 blog post for the story).  And although we have two Trek dealers here in Rice County (Mike’s Bikes in Northfield, Milltown Sports in Faribault) that I regularly patronize, I knew that Penn Cycle would have my original purchase info in their database.

 

Continue reading With help from Penn Cycle’s Michael Weiss, Trek replaces my X-Caliber frame

My summer as an MTB skills park dirt boss and heavy equipment operator

This past summer, fellow mountain biker and uber volunteer Bill Nelson used his Ford Tractor to help CROCT, our local mountain bike club, fashion various obstacles in our new skills park area along our Sechler Park mountain bike trail. I soon became his apprentice operator and it inspired me to take on the role of skills park ‘dirt boss’ for the trail. More details and skills park photos in this CROCT blog post.

Bill Nelson, Ford tractor Griff Wigley, Bill Nelson

Five difficult local mountain bike obstacles that I’ve been avoiding

Mid-November here in Minnesota is a good time of year to try riding some MTB obstacles that I’ve been avoiding. Why? It’s not too hot to armor up completely and I have all winter to heal should my lack of skill make me pay a price.

1. Riding down the big rock at the end of the wooden bridge in the X loop of the Lebanon Hills Mountain Bike Trail. It’s a steep drop, made trickier because the landing is the bridge over a 4-foot culvert with some rocks down below. I rode it just as it started to rain. It took me 4 attempts to clean it. 20-second vid:

Continue reading Five difficult local mountain bike obstacles that I’ve been avoiding

Photo album: Superior Cycling Association’s Sawtooth Mountain Challenge mtb race

Last weekend I took photos of the Sawtooth Mountain Challenge, an annual mountain bike race in Grand Marais, Minnesota, hosted by the Superior Cycling Association (SCA).

Superior Cycling Association Sawtooth Mountain Challenge

I’m starting work on a bike advocacy project for Advocate Cycles, one of the race sponsors. (More on that soon.) So I thought it would be fun to capture the event while spending time with founder Tim Krueger and some of the SCA guys I’ve met in the recent past, (eg, Tim Kennedy, Adam Harju):

Advocate CyclesRace sponsor Tim Krueger, Advocate Cycles Tim Kennedy, Adam Harju

With sunny skies, temps in the mid-30s, and a gusty north wind, race director Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux sent the riders out at 10 am on the SCA’s Pincushion Mountain Trail System in one big group: Experts first (22 miles), followed by the Sport class (15 miles) and Citizens (4 miles):

Continue reading Photo album: Superior Cycling Association’s Sawtooth Mountain Challenge mtb race

MTB skills, advocacy, & news from the USA's Upper Midwest