Postmortem: Free clinics at Angel Fire MSC
This weekend we held four free clinics for beginner and sport XC, DH, 4X and SD racers. I hoped to encourage new racers to try these events, and to help everyone feel more comfortable out there. Some things went well; others can go better.
Clay Watson demonstrates his spastic but effective gate. I oversee in my new The Fix jersey. Photo by Yosei Ikeda.
Attendance: Probably 50. I’d say 20 were actual beginners; the rest were experts trying to poach extra practice.
Covered: Jon and Bobbi Watt helped everyone with their gates then revealed some lines lower on the course. I helped people pump the first straight (rather than get bucked off the rollers, which is what happens when you get a good gate then stiffen up).
Outcome: The beginners seemed to learn a lot. In the race I saw them getting good gates and pumping the rollers like champs. Jon said most people ignored this line advice; they just wanted to pin it. We spent a lot of energy kicking team riders out of the gate.
Improvements: Beginners only. Do the clinic while experts are busy with something else.
Abby, your XC tour guide.
Attendance: 4; 2 of whom had already ridden the course
Covered: We did a Q&A with Abby Hippley, the Maverick American rad racer chick, then she led the group around the course. … You know those dudes were stoked!
Outcome: The Q&A energy was pretty low. I haven’t heard from Abby about the pre-ride.
Improvements: What terrible attendance! Seems like we need to get the word out. If you think you know everything, wake up! This clinic is free, and I promise a pro racer will teach you something.
Covered: We did some drills to find our neutral attack position (find your feet, find your feet!), then we applied the concept to hard braking. We hiked the first rock section — critiquing riders’ forms — then I led the crew down some tasty lines.
Outcome: Five dudes who were more confident. One found me after his race. “Lee, that was so helpful. I just kept thinking, ‘Find your feet, find your feet,’ and I had a great run.”
Improvements: I think this went well. I couldn’t have handled many more riders.
Attendance: about 12
Covered: Basic strategy for the LeMans start.
Outcome: At the beginning of practice, the Super D course was labeled very poorly. The riders I talked to trickled in over an hour.
Improvements: Set up some mock starts. Running to your bike is such a shock!
I hope we did some good this weekend. If you have suggestions, please post ’em.
Chalk Creek â€“ ST
Crested Butte â€“ SD
Eldora â€“ XC
Snowmass â€“ 4X
Telluride â€“ DH
Keystone â€“ SD
Hey Lee, I was practicing sport and I came across you teaching the guys how to clear that big rock in the upper garden. I listened to what you had to say and just pinned it from there on. Thanks, that rock has been a hang-up for me everytime I’ve gone there.
Geoff, right on!
Nice. That rock is no big deal with the right body position. Braaap!
The DH clinic was really helpful. The things you show us gave me something to concentrate on instead of anticipating the hard sections. So it’s kind of ironic I fell hard on the first sweeping left-hander at the top before the first rock garden! Got back on the bike and coasted to the top of the first rock garden: I let three guys go by then dove in. I was still kind of shaky and fell once more, but then nailed the rest of the course. In fact I caught one of the guys on one of the fast open sections who I let go by at the top.
Anyhow, I really appreciate you taking the time to host the clinic. Thanks.
First of all the adding requirement is awesome.
Secondly, although I didn’t attend the clinic, it sounds like a great idea. I wish I could go to one around my neck of the woods in southern California!
Keep up the good work!