“Chris (Birch) has stepped it up to a whole new level this year” -Adrian Smith, NZ Cross Country #1
It was after hearing this statement that Sam Brown decided that he needed one on one coaching with us if he really was serious about taking his Cross Country and Enduro racing overseas. Why? He saw the video showing some of the time that I spent with Chris late last year and figured that we might have had something to do with it. Whether that is an accurate assumption or not is something you would have to ask Chris, all I know is that Sam’s decision will definitely help him get closer to achieving his goal.
We met at my track in Tauranga for what turned out to be some important tweaks to his riding style. First up was a condensed version of the main thing I helped Chris with; a style that meant he can keep his arms from going straight while jumping. It also helped his braking in a significant way, after showing him that you want to keep weight off the front wheel while braking and turning hard.
My next session a week later was a much different and somewhat tragic story. After a great hour or so of training that had my two riders looking great, something went wrong. We don’t know exactly what happened, but while our male was taking a breather, his partner had been sent crashing into the handlebars or the ground, doing some serious damage to her ribs and collarbone.
She was in a paddock that made helicopter access difficult but the TECT rescue chopper pilot did a brilliant job of landing safely before getting our patient off to Tauranga hospital. It was one of those things you just never want to see, especially for someone like her, and while she should be fine, our thoughts are definitely with her.
After Schools is Back
On a brighter note we kicked off our first Afterschools sessions for the year with two events on consecutive Tuesdays. With six riders the first week and eight riders after that it was a busy pair of sessions, making the most of our hour before the darkness arrived. Beginning with using just their pointing finger on the front brake and finishing with some downhill challenges we smashed out more braking skills along with a bunch of other things where needed. There are still plenty of days left in the term so I am excited about getting these kids out there.
There was one training we moved dates and venues for, arriving at Pirinis a week later than originally intended. The conditions were perfect, as our friend Rickie grows in speed and stature, joined by Josh and Raquel who we had been wanting to work with for some time. As the masses swept onto the Pirinis land I finished up by spending a good hour with Blake Morrison, who proved to be another tough character. With most of our riders being first timers with us, the progress is only going to get better.
Calling All Ladies
Finally, coming up this weekend is our Annual Womens Only Day to be held at my track. Starting at 1pm we hope it will give some ladies the chance to make it, where testosterone and partners are not a factor. Only if they get a handle on the main skills on the grass paddocks will we head down the hill to my track, so don’t be afraid to get a few girlfriends together and join in.