<< Back to News
Practice 3 Coach Report

whatThe sun keeps on shining on the Cutaway Girls Mountain bike team!  It was a warm, almost hot, practice this week, and there was a feeling that spring had settled in for good.  We were back at the IX building this week working on our skills. Hopefully this will solidify the foundation of bike handling, balance, and vision so that when we (soon!) start moving to the trails the girls will be ready for some challenges

Our practice this week focused on that all-important technical skill: shifting.  How and when to shift are critical to mountain biking not only because we have to go up and down mountains, but because the right shifting techniques blended with good bike handling, body position, and vision can greatly assist when manuvering on or over obstacles.   Being in the wrong gear on an ascent is bad, but add in a log or two, and it means trouble!

Coach Joe went over the bike’s gearing system:  shifters, derailleurs, front rings, rear cogs — and how they work together to make the pedaling effort either harder or easier.  Pretty technical stuff, but important to connect your effort to what your bike is doing.  We then had the girls work on riding while shifting down through their gears and then back up to get a feel for he correlation between the numbers on the shifters, their level of effort in pedaling, and how it feels in relation to ascending or descending.  We’ll come back to this skill again and again so that it becomes second nature.

We also introduced a few new obstacles.  We had logs to ride over!  We taught the girls that the best position is often to be slightly or mostly off your seat with your arms relaxed and bent to help absorb the shock.  We also stressed that sometimes, especially when climbing, a slight pull up on the front wheel just as you reach the obstacle helps to get the front wheel over so the shock won’t stop your momentum and so that you can keep pedaling through the obstacle.  The logs will stay around for a while so we can get more comfortable — they were more challenging for the girls than we imagined, so we’ll keep working!

Lastly, Coach Joe engineered yet another fantastic, and challenging, new skill obstacle for us.  We call it the Rickety Bridge and it helps us on balance, bike control, vision, and drop offs.  What will he come up with next!  😉