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Intermediate Skills Course
As promised here is my report from the skills course i went on last weekend.

I attended the "Intermediate Skills" course run by Get Mountain Biking which was run at Woburn Sands near Milton Keynes.

After getting a bit lost and arriving late, I met the rest of the group and we started on the basics of bike setup.  I thought i knew a lot about this but i picked up some helpful hints, especially about saddle position.  It also made me notice i need to tighten my crank arms a touch - must remember to do that soon...

I was fortunate that there were only 4 people on the course as it gave us all more time for 1 to 1 tuition.  Our instructor, Helen, was patient, friendly and very thorough.  I can't praise her enough.  The other people on the course were all capable riders but it became clear they hadn't been riding off-road as long as I had.  They were a nice bunch of people who were game to give everything a try

We covered the attack position and put it into action on a short downhill before going through the basics of climbing.  I've always seen climbing as one of my strengths but over the course of an hour or two we looked at all kinds of techniques and i definitely feel i took a lot from it.  Some of it was common sense, some of it i did anyway and some of it was new to me.

Once we finished climbing we looked at jumping drop-offs and practiced carrying speed and lifting the front end off a small step.  Nothing too scary at all but a good chance to put the theory into practice with minimal risk of anything going wrong.  All in all it had been a good morning and i felt i'd learned a bit and picked up quite a few tips and tricks.  It was time for some well earned lunch after a short but rooty section of singletrack.

After lunch we covered bunny hops.  Now i've practiced these for ages and heard every theory going but once Helen had explained it once it just clicked.  I'd put on flat pedals to give it a proper go and hey presto before long was hopping over small logs with a huge grin on my face!  I've still got a lot of practice to do but i was over the moon.  We then went on to trackstands which are much harder than they look!  Even so once or twice i managed to do something vaguely credible so will keep practicing.  We then put the bunny hop skills into practice up hill with some step-ups, which in my case need a lot more work!!

Next up was cornering, and more specifically attacking corners.  We went up to the play are (more about that later) and rode some berms, looking at carrying speed through them.  Finally we looked at pumping through undulations.

Overall it was a great day and i learned a hell of a lot.  The course wouldn't be suitable for some of the more advanced guys on the forum but anyone who wants to brush up some key skills and revisit some basics should consider giving it a go.  I'm planning to practice what i've learned and give the Advanced course a go sometime in the future.

When the course had finished i decided to check out some more of the trails and tagged along with Helen who was finding a downhill section for a private course the next Monday.  She then directed me to some big dropoffs (probably the biggest i've ridden) which i had a go on before i returned to the play area.  The play area is a large basin in the landscape where "anything goes" as far as building obstacles is concerned.  Its great fun!  There is some serious stuff to ride, but fortunately for me there are also some tamer bits to ride.  I did a couple of DH runs with some nice jumps (i even got some air!) and found some decent dropoffs.  I can think of a few people who would really quite like it over there although its a long way to go if you don't have someone to show you the trails.

To finish the day off i revisited the step that we'd practice lifting the front on and i nailed it at speed with a large bunny hop.  To say i whooped would be an understatement  :B  So now its just a case of practice, practice, practice!!
This thread is irrelevant without photos of "Helen"

(now to read the rest)
Nice write up Nick.

I would like to do a course at some point.
Its well worth it, although you would definitely find the intermediate course a little basic for your level of riding.  I was told about a 2 day course up North.  Day 1 is a guided ride and introduction to more sketchy stuff, day 2 focuses on techniques and skills.  Looks pretty good and not bad value IIRC
Here we go

Quote:A weekend of riding which includes a days Intermediate level riding and an introduction to rock gardens on the Saturday as well as accommodation on the Saturday evening followed by the Advanced Course on the Sunday can be arranged from £160, please contact us to find out more info.

Although i'm sure the Surrey courses are very good and are much more local to us
I'm a huge advocate of proper learning, having been an instructor for many different water based sports over the years. You learn so much quicker when someone shows you how. Never really thought about going on a bike course, as lets face it riding a bike is easy. But reading that report Nick makes me think i should take some of my own advice and go back to school!

Good write up, and now for pictures of Helen!
"pittgoat" Wrote:Here we go

Although i'm sure the Surrey courses are very good and are much more local to us

The Surrey courses have a different format to most and they kinda insist on you starting from the beginning so i decided aganist it...

I do have the number of an instructor based over near Bracknell that would do private sessions, perhaps 4 at a time would be a good ratio and split the cost...
Mei securis turpe meus vox<br />            
Sounds like an interesting idea, we don't want Nick to become the resident skills master and leave us all behind! Wink
&quot;Legless&quot; Wrote:Sounds like an interesting idea, we don't want Nick to become the resident skills master and leave us all behind! Wink

aslong as no one lets on to him that you have to route a chain through the front mech im sure we will be fine Wink Big GrinBig Grin
Nice write up nick it sounds as if you had fun and it was well worth while doing.

Nigel regarding the Surrey hills courses ive spoken to the guys (and a brief ride) that do it a fair few times now and they will take you on a more experienced course.

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