Getting Ready for the BetterRide MTB Skills Camp

The BetterRide mountain bike skills coaching camps from Gene Hamilton are “designed to teach you how to ride faster, more efficient, balanced, in control, and of [course], how to have more fun!”

This coming weekend (April 13-15, 2012) I will have the opportunity to attend one of these camps in person over in Ellijay, Georgia. Afterwards, I will report back to you on what I’ve learned and gained from the experience.

To be honest, at first I wasn’t sure if I would really learn anything from this camp. I mean, I’ve been riding for about 7 years now, I consider technical riding and bike handling skills to be my strong suit, and I’ve been sharing my knowledge with others via mountain bike blogs for almost 2 1/2 years now–I should know what I’m talking about.

However, after reading some of the testimonials and the credentials listed on the BetterRide website, and knowing that mudhunny learned a lot from her time at a BetterRide camp last year, I decided that I might as well sign up… if for no other reason than to make sure that when I’m giving advice here on the blog and on the forums, that I’m giving the right advice!

Photo: BetterRide.net

What I do need to learn.

After thinking about it for a few days–and after having a rough crash while downhilling at Big Creek–I realized there are actually a couple of things that I would really like to learn from this camp:

1) I really want to learn to be comfortable in the air. Sure, I can do some moderate jumps and drops now, but I am by no means comfortable in the air on a mountain bike like I am on downhill skis. This is one skill that has been my bane the entire 7 years I’ve been a mountain biker, and while I’ve gotten better over time, I’m still nowhere near what I would call a competent jumper.

Unfortunately, while learning to jump is something that I would really love to do, jumping isn’t included on the list of skills taught at the skills camp. However, BetterRide does offer a downhill-specific camp, and at the end of Day 3 of the regular skills camp there is time set aside for “Campers’ choice” practice.

2) I want to learn how to climb better. While I already consider myself a decent climber, the climbs tend to be where the pack leaders start pulling away from me. I am hoping to pick up tips and tricks on how to climb better, and maybe I’ll finally learn how to pedal in circles. (I do know the theory but I have yet to practice it on a regular basis. Maybe I just need someone to crack the whip over my head to make me learn it. 🙂 )

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to glean some valuable knowledge from a professional mountain bike coach. There are so many better riders out there than me, and I’ve never been one to settle for average. Perhaps this BetterRide camp is just the thing I need to step up my game!

Stay tuned for my post-camp blog post about my experience and what I’ve learned.

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