Monday, March 31, 2014

Michaux MTB School

This is the 7th year that the Michaux MTB School of Hard Rocks put on by Zach Adams has been run.  I've been involved as an instructor for the last two years and its been a really great experience.

 The camp is divided between a men's group with instructors Harlan Price  , the legendary Jay De Jesus and racer and coach, Ryan Fawley.  The campers have the option to learn from all the  instructors as the weekend progresses.  Sometimes having things said in a different way really helps and then of course the personal style of the coaches clicks with different people.  The women's group was led by me and the ever enthusiastic and very fast, Cheryl Sornson.  I'm always amazed at the positive nature of women mountain bikers and the energy that is created by a group of women learning.  I also loved that later in the day  the women could switch to one of the men's group and visa versa if they preferred.

I really like the idea of a dedicated weekend to learning and practicing mountain bike skills with a group of people and some really great instructors.  Ideally, a mountain biker does something like this at least twice a year.  I recommend a more intensive weekend camp and then some clinics or private lessons.  If you are a racer, then it will make you faster for racing.  If you don't race, it will totally increase your fun factor while riding trails.
photo by Liz Spencer
I know that a lot of riders who  can do some features in situ on the trail, but can't in a field.  I know many riders who say, I'm not incentivized by a board in a field, it has to be on the trail for me to jump over it.  And I say that is a bad attitude.  Learning skills in a field with repetition will only enhance anything that you do on the trail, especially when you figure out the how and the why of the body mechanics of a move.

Of course the weather was less than ideal, meaning it rained hard most of the weekend and nothing was left clean or dry.  But my new favorite phrase is "There is no bad weather , just bad friends"  , so make sure that you have friends that will go out with you on the tough days and make the most our of it.
photo by Liz Spencer
There was also a little rippers group led by a very sweet and qualified Karen Krasley. I think its great to have kids and adults learning together.  It helps them both.  Whenever you find yourself complaining about the rain, make yourself a kid again and enjoy the mud.  The little rippers certainly did! And the junior racers camp led by Jeff and Gunnar.  Gunnar had attended the camp the first year as a little ripper and is now an instructor, so cool!
Photo by Ralpe Pisle

And any instructor will tell you, that they learn a lot by teaching others.  I always learn something about teaching, technique or people and of course my own riding.  It is a very gratifying part time job for me.  Next up for me is professional development and finding some fitness.

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