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.

Mountain cross

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.

Cross Country

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.


Attendance: 5

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.

Super D

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.

Upcoming clinics

Chalk Creek – ST

Crested Butte – SD

Eldora – XC

Snowmass – 4X

Telluride – DH

Keystone – SD

4 replies

Comments are closed.