Michaux: School of Hard Rocks
Even with hard rain, sleet and localized flash flooding class was still in session for last weekend’s Michaux Mountain Bike School. I was honored when Zach Adams, owner of Fast Forward Racing Productions, asked me to be a coach at camp this year along side of local mid-Atlantic skills instructors Harlan Price, Sue Haywood, Jay de Jesus, and Cheryl Sornson. Two other Giant riders have been skills instructors in the past, Matt Miller and Adam Craig….hard shoes to fill.
Camp on Saturday conisted of learning and practicing some fundamental bicycle skills in a nice grassy field during the morning. My group worked on body positioning, braking, working the terrain, and cornering. It was great to see everyone’s eagerness to become a more skillful rider; be it dialing-in their ready position or getting excited about railing corners. We then took it to the trails where we really honed our fresh skills.
It rained. It rained a lot. And then it got cold and kept raining. On Sunday we still went on a ridiculously wet and cold ride. I couldn’t believe everyone’s positive attitude! Even soaking wet, in the low 40s, campers wanted to put their new knowledge to practice.
It was a great way to kick off my season compared to the usual race (although that will come soon enough). It was the first time I wore shorts since late October and the first time my Schwalbe tires touched dirt since January. It was motivating to really see riders working on their skills. Mountain biking is an equal opportunity sport where fitness and skill check and balance each rider. As a professional rider I thought I was a pretty decent bike driver, but the first skills clinic I took blew my mind and gave me a new excitement for the sport. So, if you have time take a skills clinic or even better sign up for Zach’s next camp, Canaan Mountain Bike School in Davis, WV.
~ Ryan F