If a rider never makes any mistakes in practice then they are probably not trying hard enough. We drilled this idea hard to get riders outside of their comfort zones both in technique and intensity, making some great gains.
To be honest, I had tried to cancel this trip. The south island can be quite bitter in winter, as displayed by the snow two weeks before and then the floods one week prior to my visit. But despite taking it off our calendar the riders must have seen it advertised somewhere and were keen. As it turned out they were right; we ended up with three stunning winter days, rewarding the younger ones with even more preparation for the many upcoming races and November’s mini nationals. The older ones, who were just keen to be out there, are who this article is all about.
This group has come out of some hard times. They really are just like a family, so they all lost their mojo when one of them was forced off the bike for a few months because of a head injury. But now they were all back and ready to get back on with business.
Zoe is apparently amazing on the trails. Earlier this year she started flying on the flat tracks as well, it’s just the motocross tracks that she is unsure about. There was no reason for this difficulty though as she has the talent and skills. All she needed was some serious self-belief, something that I intended to help her get.
Despite having possibly the best standing style of them all, she would not power before the most important hole in the sawdust. Her front wheel would then hit the next bump really hard and set her on a bad run. This needed to be fixed.
I ran through the same skills that I had done with Clyde on my last visit here, getting her to start on a smaller bump and then encouraging and threatening where necessary until she did it once. She sailed through like it was the easiest thing ever, but took some time before doing it again. Fortunately the boys needed work on the sandy turn before that hole.
Two of them were blowing the berm out with a late turn and big burst of throttle. This was ruining their speed, and although they probably didn’t realise, their confidence as well. These are the skills that we worked on here;
- By putting a tyre on the entry line they always used, I forced them to open up their entry (see “Leightons” story in this newsletter). This helped them turn more before the halfway point
- Keeping their wheels lower in the whole berm helped them avoid digging in as much
- Good old pressure was needed to force them out of gunning the throttle halfway through the berm. The goal is small throttle at first that builds into a slingshot effect coming out
When it all came together, I think they got a bit of a shock at how quickly the first big hole came at them. Fortunately they had learned how to deal with that by now, with Caleb able to wheelie it even while turning. He looked like a mini Jeffrey Herlings!
We have big things planned for the minis at Christchurch before their big event in November. Keep an eye out and make sure you get on board for some coaching that those racers will not want to miss.