Monday, April 7, 2008

Better Ride Training Camp for Mountain Bike Team

Yes, Mountain biking, Fruita, Betteride Training Camp and one local sports bar, what else is needed? Seven of us headed to Fruita, Colorado from April 4th to 6th for a 3 day training camp with Gene Hamilton with Betteride. Blue Sky riders Darrin, Pete, Cindy, John, Dave J, Kevin, and Phil all make the pilgrimage to ride dry tight single track while improving upon our skills and riding abilities. Now, you might say why do I need to learn MTB skills? Well, most of us never really practiced skills, we just get on the bike and go ride--which is one way to learn, but may never improve your positioning, vision, and just overall efficiency with cornering and technical objects. That is where Gene comes in. He runs you through three days of skills, drills, and thrills to help you improve yourself, your confidence, and overall riding. All of us learned something, whether it was from doing a better wheelie, making a steep switchback, to improving your vision by just looking down the trail more, versus your front wheel! Here are some pics to give you an idea of how things went down.

Day 1: Body position, balance, and weight.

Here is the campsite at the State Park in Fruita just before the sun went down. Pete and John braved the cold while the others took refuge in the local Motel 8. The first night down to 20 degrees so the hot tub at the hotel for sure sounds like the better choice!

Here is everyone getting ready in Loma TH parking lot just West of Fruita. This is also where the Kokopeli Trail starts.

Here is the group heading out to work on skills towards the Moore Fun trail, Mary's Loop and Rustlers Trail. All right, now I have to catch up to all those racers!

This turned out to be our manual and wheelie practice stretch. No pics as we were all having way too much fun! Cindy and Darrin are the back two riders.

Here is the group working on visuals--gene was showing us that you remember and more peripheral vision than you think. Its all about trusting though! Cindy looking on as the rest of the group walks their bikes on the drill.

Gene showing about Vision on a turn off of the Rustler's Loop Trail. Basically, do not look at the rock, look way ahead! Pete to the left and Kevin to the right.

Recap of Day 1 with Gene to the right. From left to right: Cindy, Dave J, Phil, Pete, Darrin, and Kevin. This was at the entrance to the Rustler's Loop. Pete and I headed back to camp after this with dinner plans to join the group about 7:30 for a mexican food dinner. The other 5 brave soles headed out Mary's Loop to Horsethief Bench for a quick "3 HOUR TOUR". Pete and I get a phone call around 7:30...ummm we have not gotten back tot he cars yet so we are going to be a little late. All I heard was the someone fell off a cliff, a fwe others wrecked and Cindy's seat post blew up (uh, must be a speed ball!). Pete, Gene and John kept the bar busy while the group slowly trickled in, dirty, tired, and half bonking. What a first day!

Day 2: Cornering and braking skills.

We started the Day 2 out in a local town park right in Fruita. There was an empty parking lot that was perfect for Cornering drills using all sorts of crazy drills around orange cones. Here Dave J. gets a little help trusting being in a true cornering position with his weight over the BB and arms bent, while looking up! Pete and Darrin look on. What you cannot see is that Dave is actually track standing as he got more comfy with the balance.

Here Darrin practices more of the same.

Kevin having Gene find that sweet spot on the track stand with the weigth over your BB.

Here Gene had set up cones in an oval for working on those cornering techniques each of us were practicing above. As you approached the turn, you looked at one cone, as you got to the turn, you looked at the next one, as you were in the turn you looked to the third one. Great practice and gears you up for working on switch backs for sure. There was also some technique in keeping your weight over you BB and not on your handlebars. As you approach the turn, you can also push forward on the inside grip and your bike will just magically turn itself!

Here we are all meeting up at the top of the Kestle run trail off of 18 road at the Bookcliffs. As we ride down this trail we were supposed to work on proper cornering position that we had worked on in the park, but the damn trail is so fun--you have to let it go a little! Gene was not so happy about that!

After a quick fun ride down the Kestle trail we rode up part of Prime Cut to this large rock obstacle. Here Gene was showing us about how to approach this rock and how to get up and over it smoothly.

Here is a video of Gene showing us how its done.

At the top of prime cut is Chutes and Ladders. We did not ride the whole thing which was a shame but we did use th first steep climb to practice braking and position while descending. Here Kevin shows us how its done without locking the rear wheel and leaving a nice rut in the trail. We all rode back over to Kestle and did another run all the way back to the parking lot before heading out.

The 2nd day ended up with a few pizzas at the Tomato on main street and then a short jaunt to the local sports bar--the only bar actually. I think the music stopped when we walked in. Pete could not get served and the local boys seemed intimidated by Dave. On top of that, it was country night with one guy and a keyboard. Welcome to Fruita! If we had stayed any longer and a few more beers, we probably would have made the headlines the next day.

Day 3: Large Obstacles, Switchbacks and more balance!

Today we headed to The lunch loops out of Grand Junction on the East side of the Colorado Monument. These are great spider web of trails that range from the extreme to the beginner level of trails and technical. Here is the parking lot and you can see Gene's big white Dodge mobile that he runs the camps out of.

The rest of day 3 did not copy over..will fix that soon--there are three videos in it so that is probably what is wrong. Stay tuned! JP

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