PVD Mountain Bike Skills Clinics

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What is the goal?

The goal of these clinics is to build the physical and mental skills needed to properly negotiate a bike in advanced singletrack conditions. Many people have never had proper instruction on what to look for, how to think, how to properly set up their bike and even ridden in honestly challenging conditions.

I am not a professional rider or trainer. I am a very experienced and skilled trailrider with over 20 years of trailriding experience around the country and the ability to convey to other riders the concepts involved in trailriding.

I will work on the technical aspects of trail riding rather than speed. Speed is awesome and everyone should be trying to ride faster all the time but it is a very difficult thing to work on in a group setting and without chairlift access. I'm going to be looking at line options, line selection, fears, strengths, assets, & liablities. We make choices and we make descisions to loose. I try to look at how these choices are made, why they are made, and how to improve your process. I want people to stop trying to tell the trail what's going to happen and start letting the trail control them. I want the trail to decide the line, the speed, the flow.

In the end, a good mountain bike rider is water. Attend a clinic to find out why.

I can be a hardass when instructing. If you don't have a thick skin and need coddling, go somewhere else.

What to bring?

The #1 thing that you must bring is the conviction to learn how to ride your bike well. The chances are great that you will get somewhat hurt in this process. You could get very seriously hurt, but chances are that you will escape each session with only a few cuts and bruises. This is what it takes to advance in trailriding. Riders that are not willing to honestly challenge themselves are not welcome.

You should consider some protection for many of the sections that will be focused on. Sixsixone makes some very good protection for trialriders. Here are some of their products that I like. These are not great protection for downhill riding, but perfect for trailriding where a rider must generate power over an extended period of time.

This is trailriding. Downhill bikes are only suggested for very advanced riders since their length can lead to extreme difficulties in getting around the tight corners seen on Marin's singltrack. Long travel hardtails with slack head angles are prefered. Short travel suspension is OK. Long travel suspension is usable, but not prime.


Saturday April 4,2009

Mill Valley Training Loop - This is a perfect skills ride. 1 legal singletrack, 3 medium density illegal singletracks & 2 very low density illegal singletracks. The challenge varies from prime singletrack obsticals to extremely advanced downhill sections. Riders are encouraged to wear protection but this must work with the scope of the clinic. Knee protection for light climing and basic singletrack sections will work fine. Maximum protection for the most advanced decents. Armor should be removable and stowable for the climb from Mountain Home Inn to Ridgecrest. Full face helmet as desired or needed.

  • Skill Level - Solid Trailriding Skills. Rider need not be advanced, but must be eager to learn. Minimum skill should be ability to comfortably ride Tamarancho in either direction or the back side of China Camp. Advanced and expert riders looking for critique and practice are welcome.
  • Fitness Level - Clinic will climb over Mt. Tam cresting over Ridgecrest Blvd. connecting Railroad Grade and Eldridge Grade. Rider will need fitness to accomplish this in addition to riding singletrack and working on the various sections.
  • Where to Meet- Old Mill Park, Mill Valley. Gmap
  • Meet Time - 8:30am. Do not be late.
  • Clinic Duration - 3-4 hours
  • Cost - None. This is the first group clinic I'm doing. I will request participant fill out a review to improve future clinics.
  • Misc. - Post ride at Marin Brewing Company. Gmap

You, Me & the Law

Being caught riding bicycles on singletrack in Marin can be expensive and awkward. You have to have some degree of comfort with the two situations that can arise during a clinic like this.

Angry Hiker

These folks are really no fun. They hate that anyone else is on the trail with them, let alone one that they can point their fingers at. Best practice is to be polite and positive with every response to them. I rarely say anything other than "Have a nice day!" to them. It never pays to respond to their anger. They will pass.

Sheriff or Ranger

I do my best to avoid this confrontation. The best practice is to avoid it before it arrives. If for some reason the party is crashed, the best bet is for everyone to run in as many directions as possible. It is better that one person gets a ticket instead of six. Leave your friends behind. They'll survive just fine.

When running from the law remember, "Tag, you're it". Run. Run fast. Don't give up. BUT...once the ranger touches you stop and take your medicine. If you struggle or physically resist, you are assailing and battering a peace officer. Not a good place to be and good for a night in jail.


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