Mountain Bike Geezer Posts

With a big assist from the City of Northfield Public Works staff, the CROCT MTB skills park in Northfield’s Sechler Park got some improvements this year. Workers brought in several truckloads of dirt to improve six of the seven beginner and intermediate jumps in the main jump line and expand the launch mound. In addition, they moved the giant boulder lurking along the park’s swampy edge and reinstalled the kiosk next to the launch mound. Slideshow:

CROCT (Cannon River Offroad Cycling and Trails), our local mountain bike club in Rice County, has partnered with the City of Northfield to have a multi-purpose trail in the City’s Sechler Park since the club was founded in 2014. I’m one of the CROCT volunteers who helps to maintain the skills park.

Organizations Trail work

Instruction

Pat Mitzel, one of my best local riding buddies and a member of the Ryan Leech Connection where I’m a part-time coach, has published a 27-page PDF titled, The Backyard MTB Feature Build Guide. It’s available via this post, A DIY Guide to Building Backyard MTB Practice Obstacles on the RLC blog. The 27-page guide includes a tool list, materials, and details for how to build each feature.

The post also includes a 2.5-minute video of Pat riding many of the obstacles:

Griff Wigley with Pat Mitzel

People

Alas, I didn’t blog in 2019. These things took priority:

  • My coaching with Ryan Leech Connection
  • My research for my new podcast, MTB Practice Lab
  • Managing upgrades to our local skills park
  • Practicing my own riding skills
  • Travel with my wife in our new camper
  • Grandpa duties

I updated my @mountainbikegeezer Instagram feed but only about 20 times.

I plan to resume my blogging here in 2020, mostly devoted to the podcast.

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Site admin

I’ve made considerable progress in my jumping skills this year. I’ve been taking Ryan Leech’s Jump With Confidence course via his Ryan Leech Connection (RLC) online mountain bike skills coaching website and practicing several times/week at a local skills park where I’ve built several beginner-level table tops.

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 2017, my skills focus was on learning to bunny hop and manual via Ryan’s Bunny Hop Master Class and his Manual Master Class. Here’s a one-minute of my beginner-levels skills:

 

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:

I also happen to be one of several RLC skills coaches who answers questions and provides online feedback to those taking the online courses at the Ryan Leech Connection (RLC) online mountain bike skills coaching website.

RLC Coaches and Staff

 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.

Join us, risk-free.

Learning to ride Video

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.

Trail work

Learning to ride

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:

Organizations People Photo album Trails

On my recent MTB trip to northern Minnesota last week, my main goal was to put some of my beginner-level bunny hop and manual skills to use on the trails at Detroit Mountain Recreation Area, Cuyuna Lake Mountain Bike Trail System, and the vast network of COGGS MTB trails in Duluth.

I also wanted to A) experiment with cornering, primarily on bigger bermed corners since I’ll be instructing riders on those at Welch Village’s new MTB park in a few weeks; and B) ride lots of drops and gnarly stuff to see what it’s like on my new full-suspension Kona Process 134 Supreme from Michael’s Cycles.

Here are several videos from the trip, with some commentary on each:

Facebook video Learning to ride

Michael Knoll & I rocked and rolled our full squish Kona Process bikes on some fun and challenging COGGS trails in Duluth last week.

We spent the most time in Piedmont’s NIMBY cluster of X & XX technical trails as well as Admiral Rockbar. Then it was over to Home Brew with a stop at the Kissing Booth before ending the day with a run down the Keene Creek trail — 1.5 miles/500 ft of elevation change — an amazing whoop-di-doo run.

Here are three videos of me following Michael on Admiral Rockbar, Kissing Booth, & Keene:

Facebook video Group rides Trails Video

https://www.instagram.com/p/BVNpFzDDWG7/

Instagram post Learning to ride Video