Tag: pumping a flat surface

I’ve not played hockey in a couple of decades or more but a conversation with fellow Northfielders Corey Butler (@CoreyButlerJr) and Brenton Balvin (@BrentonBalvin) after last week’s NCO annual meeting convinced me that I should get back into it and join them.

Jake and Christopher at a Northfield hockey rink

I got my old hockey skates sharpened on Friday and instead of going someplace to ride my mountain bike this afternoon (zero degrees and very windy), I decided to head to the outdoor hockey rink next to the Northfield Ice Arena because it has a warming house. A couple of hearty 12 year-olds (Christopher and Jake) were there so I felt right at home.

Learning to ride

I got feedback from Chance Glasford and Jed Olson on my pumping flat ground video that I posted yesterday. Their main advice: learn on my 24-inch Scott Voltage dirt jump mountain bike, not my 29’er. The large wheels make it too difficult.

Griff Wigley, pumping flat groundSo last night I took it out and within 5 minutes, I could feel the difference. And in about 15 minutes, I was ecstatic.  The bike was responsive and it seemed like I was ripping around. I took some video but when I watched it, I was surprised at A) how far from the correct attack position I was; and B) how little pumping I was doing with my arms and shoulders.

I watched Lee McCormack’s pumping flat ground video again and took these screenshots to make myself more aware of both problems:

Lee McCormack pumping flat ground Lee McCormack pumping flat ground Lee McCormack pumping flat ground

He’s really crouched low. And his arms and shoulders are pumping like pistons.  So I practiced for about an hour today and then captured this 45-second video:

httpv://vimeo.com/72081827

As you can see, I’m still not low enough in the attack position.  And I’m just starting to get the timing right on the arm/shoulder pumping motion.  I was doing it right in the first 10 seconds but then kind of lost it after that.  But overall, the difference I felt was huge. There’s no going back. My brain/body memory has it registered. I’m confident that I’ll be able to do the intermediate pump track at Eagan someday soon. And I’m eager to see what happens when I try to apply it in some corners/berms on the trail on my 29’er hardtail.

Learning to ride

I’ve started recording video of my riding to examine my attempts to get better at various mountain bike skills.  I generally prefer to showcase myself succeeding, with an occasional crash thrown in for comic effects. But I decided it might be helpful to blog my attempts to improve, especially if it includes some self-analysis as well as links to other coaching videos that I’m watching.

I first noticed instructors demonstrating ‘pumping a flat surface’ in two videos on cornering, specifically hip flexion:

Simon Lawton video

Darren Butler and Seb Kemp video
Left: See the 1:24 mark of the Pinkbike video by MTB coach Simon Lawton.
Right: See the 1:20 mark of the NSMB video by Darren Butler and Seb Kemp.

And then I discovered MTB coach Lee McCormack‘s blog posts about pumping a flat surface (here, here, and here) where there are lots of pointers and helpful discussion.  He links to a video but it’s in native .mov format on his server. Here’s the YouTube version that someone has uploaded. It’s pretty amazing to see how fast he can get going:

httpv://youtu.be/acYUcAVZlA0

He also points to how Brian Lopes applies the same pumping motion in this Pinkbike video:

Brian Lopes video
See the segments at both the 1:32 and 2:56 marks.

Here’s my marginally adequate attempt yesterday:

httpv://vimeo.com/71976278

I made the round trip without pedaling, but just barely. It seems that while I’m not doing too badly pumping with my legs/hips, I’m not doing enough with my arms/shoulders. And I’m standing up too high instead of being in the attack position.  Back to school!

If you’ve got insights or links to other helpful pages/videos related to pumping a flat surface, attach a comment.

Learning to ride