I’m more than a little excited to get my MTB Practice Lab podcast launched this week since I’ve been noodling and tinkering with it for over a year. My way-too-long tagline for it:
The Art and Science of Getting Better at Practicing Skills for Mountain Biking… and For the Rest of Your Life
The first two “overview” episodes are now available. See the info page for the show here on the website. I’ll be updating that regularly over the next couple of weeks as it takes a while for the podcasting services to get the show listed.
And I’ve set up an MTB Practice Lab Patreon page where you’ll be able to connect with me and others about each episode of the show as well as offer your financial support.
I’ll be posting updates about the show both here on the blog as well as on Patreon. And I’ll be sending out updates via my e-newsletter.
Here’s a one-minute clip of some of my recent beginner-level jump attempts this fall. Yes, I know, there are visible flaws in these attempts which I’m still working to correct even as the ground is now frozen and covered with a few inches of snow (I’ve been shoveling). But the cool thing is my confidence is solid. The course is aptly named.
In 2015-16, my focus was on track stands, hopping, and rocking via Ryan’s Baseline Balance Skills course. Here are two short videos of me putting those skills to use on technical sections of some local trails:
Here are a couple of marked-up images showing how I sometimes use a screenshot from video submitted by a student along with a screenshot from an instructor (I’ve blurred the faces of the students in these examples):
I’ve been recently learning what I’m teaching and I think that perspective, along with feedback from several coaches who are vastly more experienced than me, is partly what makes the courses at Ryan Leech Connection so valuable.
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:
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).