A good coaching camp is all about reading the riders. On the morning of our second day of bootcamp at Pirinis I was wanting to really push corner speed, but when that announcement got the reception of a wet towel I decided we should have some fun first. And what better way to do that than with some “whips”.
There is a jump that works really well for training if we cross over it from one side to the other. It is an idea I should probably use more often because it can create a short and “poppy” tabletop that helps a lot with good technique. On Day 1, we used it to get them used to their head getting past the handlebars on the upramp. On Day 2, we were going to start getting a little sideways.
After a some play time there, trying to help them flow through the jump to avoid having the rear wheel get kicked, we then moved on to the main step up jump where my wingman for this camp, Jordan Milsom, had a brain wave. Rather than describing a scrub/whip as a turn, which definitely can be confusing, he wanted to help them understand the importance of setting yourself up properly. He then used a sharp lip to do one of the best demonstrations I have seen.
First he hit the bump straight and upright, which sent his rear wheel upwards with violence. The riders agreed that it was not a good look. Next he showed us some lean as he hit the bump, but because he had approached it the same as before, when he leaned it really put him off line after the bump. This was all building up to the third run, where he gave himself more of an angle before hitting the same spot. When he leaned, he ended up landing in the exact same place as he would have it hitting the whole thing straight, except the rear wheel didn’t kick upwards, only a little sideways. All the riders agreed that it looked much safer to go sideways than nose heavy.
A Different Angle
The key was that angle he used to set up the whip. It gave him the room needed to lean without landing off to one side. You wouldn’t really call it a turn, just angles and lean. It then meant that he could turn his front wheel into the lean once it came off the ground, setting himself up to control the bike nicely. True, he was only off the ground for a moment, but it certainly helped control the hit and, most importantly, it looked like fun.
After some time playing around with this they were gaining confidence and getting their mojo back, which is exactly what I needed for the intensity of improving their corner speed. My plan had worked, proven with some epic speed later on.