Developing construction skills for a skills park: a work in progress

I published a post yesterday to my local mtb club’s blog titled, CROCT’s Sechler Skills Park continues to evolve.

The skills park is my primary responsibility as one of CROCT’s many volunteer trail workers. My motivation to work on it?

  • Our in-town Sechler Park MTB Trail is a river bottoms trail and doesn’t have a lot of challenging terrain. So having a skills park in the middle of it is way for local riders to practice their skills and challenge themselves
  • It’s handy to have a local skills park for instructional clinics. Kids who live in town can ride their bikes to the park via the local network of paved trails
  • I’m always working on my own riding skills and being able to construct features that are appropriate for my own development is a treat

Last summer, my interest in learning to jump via Ryan Leech’s Jumping with Confidence online course (affiliate link) spurred me to learn how to build beginner and intermediate level table top jumps. I had the full-time use a tractor with a bucket, free street reclamation dirt from the City of Northfield, a budget from CROCT to have it hauled in, and labor from other trail worker volunteers to help me shape, learn, test, and rebuild the jumps until we got them ‘good enough.’

By the end of the season, I’d gotten to where I could consider myself solid at beginner-level tabletops. Here’s a 1-minute video clip of me riding the 7 jumps that we built:

And the jumps proved to be a hit with kids and adventuresome adults, of course.

In addition to the 7 tabletop jumps (6 beginner-level, 1 intermediate-level), the skills park also now has:

  • 3 berms (1 large wood berm, 2 dirt berms)
  • 2 wood drops (1 beginner-level, 1 intermediate-level)
  • 2 large log piles
  • 1 line of 8 small rollers
  • 1 log skinny/logover obstacle, configured for several levels of difficulty
  • 2 railroad ties configured for uphill steps
  • 1 large boulder
  • Several skinnies (intermediate-expert) with changing configurations

We’ll be adding more features to the skills park this year.

Sessioning – Part 1: Episode 5 of the MTBSN podcast on Mountain Bike Radio

Episode #5 of my MTBSN podcast on Mountain Bike Radio is now available.

See the show notes and links on the MBR page for Episode #5.

Main topic: THE ART OF SESSIONING ON A MOUNTAIN BIKE, PART 1: FOCUSED PRACTICE OF A CHALLENGING OBSTACLE OR SECTION OF TERRAIN ALONG THE TRAIL

TRANSCRIPT

INTRO:

Hey welcome to Episode #5 of the Mountain Bike Skills Network podcast. My name is Griff Wigley, also known as the mountain bike geezer. I’m am the founder of the Mountain Bike Skills Network and the host of the Mountain Bike Skills Network Community, a busy group of over 2600 mountain bikers on Facebook, free for anyone to join.

Continue reading Sessioning — Part 1: Episode 5 of the MTBSN podcast on Mountain Bike Radio

Mountain Bike Skills Network Patreon page launched

My 1-minute video announcing my new Mountain Bike Skills Network Patreon page to the MTBSN Community:

Some background:

I took a much-needed, two-week tent camping vacation with my wife to the Grand Canyon last month. I came back refreshed and ready to examine what I wanted to do with the Mountain Bike Skills Network (MTBSN) community in the next year.

One thing is clear to me: the MTBSN Community is a gem and my #1 goal is to help it become more useful to current members while it continues its organic growth.

To help this happen, I started investigating the ‘creator’ features of Patreon. What’s Patreon?

“Patreon is a membership platform that makes it easy for creators to get paid.”

I’ve recently become a Patreon patron of:

I liked what I saw of Patreon and how these guys use it. My MTBSN Patreon page went live last night.  A screenshot:

Top 5 reasons why it’s so hard to learn to bunny hop: Episode 4 of the MTBSN podcast on Mountain Bike Radio

Episode #4 of my MTBSN podcast on Mountain Bike Radio is now available.

See the show notes and links on the MBR page for Episode #4.

Main topic: Top 5 reasons why it’s so hard to learn to bunny hop

TRANSCRIPT

Introduction:

Hey everyone! Welcome to Episode #4 of the Mountain Bike Skills Network podcast. My name is Griff Wigley, also known as the mountain bike geezer. I’m am the guy behind the Mountain Bike Skills Network blog and I’m the founder and host of the Mountain Bike Skills Network Community, currently a group on Facebook.

My intent is to have all three – the blog, the online community and this show — help recreational mountain bikers like you, have more fun while upping your skills. Why? So you can ride the stuff you want that challenges you. I think of it as a Goldilocks Zone. Not too scary or hard; not too easy or boring but juuuuuust right. That middle is where the fun is and one of the most reliable ways to stay in that Goldilocks Zone is to continually increase your skills.

You can learn more about the Mountain Bike Skills Network at mtbskills.net where you’ll also see links to my various social media accounts.

Today’s show is about the bunny hop, what some people refer to as the most difficult skill in mountain biking.

I learned to bunny hop recently and was surprised at how challenging it was just to get to the beginner level that I’m now at.

With help from members of the MTBSN community, I’ve put together what I think are the:

Top 5 reasons why it’s so hard to learn to bunny hop

 

Continue reading Top 5 reasons why it’s so hard to learn to bunny hop: Episode 4 of the MTBSN podcast on Mountain Bike Radio

Photo album: testing Welch Village’s new lift-served gravity flow trails

Last week, Welch Village General Manager Peter Zotalis hosted two test sessions for two of their lift-served gravity flow trails (total four to be built). I was there for both days, and got to ride with two experienced local guys, Clay Haglund (MAMB) and Jason Decoux (CROCT).

Grand Opening is July 29. They expect to be open one or two weekends prior. I’ll be teaching beginner-level downhill clinics (for experienced XC riders who are new to bike parks) there soon.  Watch for details on the Welch Village Facebook Page and on General Manager Peter Zotalis’ blog.

See the album of 20 photos:

Continue reading Photo album: testing Welch Village’s new lift-served gravity flow trails

Learning and teaching mountain biking skills