RipRow 12-week build to MTB XCE Worlds: Week 1

Our friend and pro mountain bike racer Fairlee Frey (KS-Kenda Women’s MTB Team) is prepping for XCE world championships, and her coach Mike Durner (@mikedurner) is working RipRow into her training. Here’s how an elite coach uses RipRow to prepare an elite racer for a huge event.

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Slower than I once was, faster than I’ll be?

I turned on Strava for today’s trail ride because 1) marketing, 2) practicing the release of outcomes, 3) to smash the downhill KOM. I owned it at one point, years ago, and now I’m in the top 1 percent. Read more

Bike and Life advice from Yoann Barelli

In this video, pro enduro racer and cool dude Yoann Barelli dispenses some great advice about riding, racing and living.

Pace yourself.

Exit speed is more important than entrance speed.

Do all of your prep work, then stop worrying.

And so on …

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Riding my little gray pill

Why do you ride?

That’s a powerful and seldom asked question. To lose weight, to prove something, to be with friends, to have fun?

Fun is one of the better answers. Let’s dig into that.

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Buying the wrong size bike sucks

Here’s a comment thread from the Lee Likes Bikes MTB School ( – membership required). This poor guy was advised to buy the wrong size bike. I see this happening a lot — and it’s not cool.

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Focus outside and start over again

I’m starting to understand that our current experiences are stacked on our previous experiences, and that the real stuff happens below consciousness. On one end, maybe you deeply believe that life is pain and, as a result, you suffer more than you should. On another end, maybe you’ve put a lot of work into developing a skill, and you’re enjoying the process of becoming great at it.

I work both ends of that spectrum. Today I enjoyed the fruits of the latter.

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Elbows in or out?

Hi Lee and thanks for all the great info online.

Last year I got some instruction at Whistler and my instructor kept on stressing elbows out – “chicken wings.”

Then I bought the book Mastering Mountain Bike Skills 3rd Edition and learned that elbows out used to be taught but is actually wrong, hold elbows behind grips.

This week I’m riding sweep for my son’s DH camp and the instructors stress elbows out. I even spoke to one great, extremely experienced instructor after and he doubled down on elbows out.

Can you clarify the thinking behind in and out and why you changed? I haven’t been this confused since girls in high school.


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Two shortcuts to riding better and faster

By Coach Andy Somerville

Learning how to ride better (and faster if that’s your goal) takes time, practice and commitment.

For riders serious about attaining new levels of confidence, performance and fun, there are two shortcuts to riding better, faster, or riding faster better:

Shortcut #1: Work with a skills coach

Shortcut #2: Add a RipRow to your regime

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I am so stoked for the new Shimano XTR M9100 group

Not only will it have the XTR sweetness and Shimano bulletproofness, it’s also a very thorough approach to dialing in your bike for your riding style:

• Wide variety of 1x and 2x gearing options
• Refined shifters and derailleurs
• Dropper seatpost remote
• More powerful brakes in XC and enduro styles
• Pedals with greater shoe contact and support
• And more

In my opinion, the other drivetrain company is a marketing company. They innovate, and they reach the market early and, in my experience, quality isn’t on point. I’m talking about brakes that don’t work consistently, a dropper that never worked once, and top-level drivetrain parts that need immediate warranty. If you don’t know the difference, you can be happy. If you know the difference, and you pay serious money, this is not OK.

Shimano is an engineering company. They might not be first to market, but they take their work seriously, and when they launch a product it’s dialed. How many times have I warranted a Shimano part over the past 25+ years? Zero.

Whenever I get a bike with the other components, the first thing I change is the brakes (depending on my mood, I’ll run XT, XTR, Saint or Zee; those levers are like a pacifier — they make me feel safe). I ride the other drivetrain until it wears out or breaks or just plain annoys me, then I upgrade — generally to workhorse XT but occasionally and gloriously to XTR.

Once my bike is wearing Shimano, I stop worrying about braking and shifting, and I focus on riding. As someone who relies on his bikes to make a living, I can’t over stress how nice it is to KNOW my stuff is going to function. Oh yeah, and meanwhile the SPD pedals just plain work. And work and work. I’ve been riding the same pedals for more than a decade. Shoot, I have some 636s from when I was racing downhill. Scratched but functional. Just like me!

Shimano fishing reels are the same way. I still have the ultralight spinning reel I received for Christmas when I was 10 years old. That’s 38 years of abuse, including some crazy saltwater adventures. Tuna … dorado … yellowtail … that little reel kicks ass.

I have received generous support from Shimano. They believe in my mission to save the world through better shredding, and I appreciate their help. But most of the Shimano parts I use — ever since forever and even today — are purchased with my own money through a local bike shop. I recently bought XT brakes for my S-Works Fuse and Zee brakes and XT drivetrain for my Enduro. Again, I appreciate Shimano’s help, but I don’t wait for it. If I need parts that work for me, I buy them.

If all goes well (either with Shimano or my businesses), I’ll be rocking the XTR 1x drivetrain with Wide Range cassette, XTR chain guide, XTR 4-piston brakes, and XTR trail pedals. Hashtag ride with impunity.

Read more about the new Shimano XTR M9100 group here >>>


Fabio Wibmer’s Triangle of Awesome

The Fabiolous Escape 2 video is rad in a thousand ways. One of them is Fabio Wibmer’s Triangle of Awesome.

This is a fundamental skill — and it’s perfect on Fabio.

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Kris Fox is my favorite BMX park rider

He’s a former racer. He’s in the book Pro BMX Skills (he was gracious about being shot at the Olympic Training Center track). He has an incredible mix of power, speed and creativity.

Light before the corner, heavy in the corner

Get a few elite riders, build some berms at the bottom of a steep hill, remove the brakes, see who can start highest on the hill without crashing. 

DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME! But do watch the GMBN video:  Read more