We do a lot of camps and some riders feel like they know it all. Fortunately for me, no one is perfect. At least three riders were in that boat at this months Kaukapakapa Honda Kids Camp, I just needed to find their weakness.
Upgrading Their Downhill Skills
Surprisingly it seemed that they all had the same problem- steep downhills. Perhaps it was my fault, in that previous coaching sessions didn’t have these kind of inclines as a part of our coaching loops. The problem is making it safe enough for the least experienced rider, or giving them easier options.
Both of my sessions on day one progressed slowly through their skills meaning I didn’t have enough time to take them to my new loop, but I challenged them with a tricky line under the tree and then an even harder one that went around it, way down near the swamp. The smaller wheels struggled with hidden pine cones while bigger bikes found the off camber section very difficult, but the answer to both of them was pushing hard on the outside footpeg. This is something that many people have heard, but just don’t do until they are forced to.
A Sniff of Blood
Fortunately on day two every session except one progressed quick enough to get them onto the ultimate place for kids to progress their downhill skills. With steeper options for the more skilled riders it really tested their ability to bend at the waist while braking. That bend is critical for keeping arms bent and knees gripping the seat (as you probably know), and these hills were the best teachers because it would have felt so much better once they did the skill.
Afterwards Nate asked if I ever get sick of teaching the same things over and over. It is a strange thing because it doesn’t feel like I do. Every person is different, and all I care about is progression. So long as we find the main thing that a person needs to change, and they have a taste of how much better it feels, then I am a happy man.