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Practice 4 Coach Report

cutgirls3On Friday, April 18, the Cutaway Girls Mountain Bike Team made the trip out to western Albemarle County to hold practice at Miller School of Albemarle. Proudly situated on 1600 acres of pristine land, Miller School of Albemarle also boasts almost 12 miles of student-built mountain bike trails ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced.

The new venue was not the only treat for Team riders; professional mountain biker Sue Haywood was in attendance to lead practice! Sue has had a decorated career with multiple victories and podium appearances at mountain bike competitions around the world. Her unparalleled technical skills combined with laid-back demeanor maker her a natural coach that riders everywhere can learn a lot from.

After quick introductions, Sue immediately led the group through the often-overlooked bit vitally-important skill of shifting. Her mantra, “surge, soft pedal, shift” resonated well with the team and they were all making buttery-smooth shifts in no time. Everyone was then able to put their skills to the test with a course set up in hilly, grassy field. Riders had to shift to a larger gear and pick up speed on a short downhill, but then had to shift to smaller gears before powering their bikes back to the top of the field. After a few passes, everyone was looking ahead, anticipating their shifts, and making quick work of the terrain.

Finally, everyone hit the trails! Splitting up into two groups, the riders were able to apply every skill they have worked on over the past three practices and navigate some singletrack mountain bike trails! While everyone was challenged, smiles were a regular sight and the entire team had a blast.

We can’t thank Sue enough for her time and enthusiasm, and are already looking forward to the next practice where we can continue to perfect our mountain biking skills!

Coaches Tim, Joe, and Andy