Progressing at Progresh

Yesterday I enjoyed the privilege of being completely terrified yet stepping through a skills progression. It opened my eyes to some new kung fu and gave me a new appreciation for what my clients must experience.


Location
Progresh indoor ski/snowboard/bmx/skate training facility in Thornton, CO

Mission
We’re designing a huge indoor bike park in Las Vegas. This park will have an air bag. I wanted to see the Progresh setup and experience an airbag.

Co-owner Mike told me before I ride the airbag I’ll have to take their 2-hour dropin class to get oriented. I was like, dude I am a badass, but OK I’ll play along.

I expected a setup like the Camp of Champions at Sea Otter: A 12-ish-foot start ramp with a flat tranny then a standard 6-foot kicker. I ride that every day at Valmont. Easy! Well …

The Progresh progression

I walked in and was like WHOA. The roll-in is huge! But I can handle it bro, let’s get after it.

They won’t let you just walk in and boost off that monster. First you need to prove you can handle the speed and won’t freak out in the air.

My progression went:

• Bounce on the trampoline to get loose.

• Bounce higher. Scary! Repeat until it feels mellow.

• Bounce from tramp to tramp. Scary! Repeat until it feels mellow.

• Bounce from tramp to air bag. Scary! Repeat until it feels mellow.

• Drop ~12 feet from ledge to air bag. Scary! Repeat until it feels mellow.

My teacher Brock “Pinky” Robinette shows how it’s done:

• Check out the ramp. Scary!

• Slide down the ramp on a blanket. Scary! Repeat until it feels mellow.

• Ride down the ramp on your bike, boost the ramp and land in the air bag. Sweet!

A small, straight air but a good place to start:

Today I am sore and thinking …

• I really like how Progresh requires riders to work the trampoline and ledge before they boost into the bag. If I had rolled into the big jump without doing the preceding steps, I might have freaked out. Brock was very patient and helpful.

• When it came time to drop off the ledge, I was truly, fully, lizard-brain terrified. Same when I first slid down the ramp. It was valuable for me to work through the fear, but I don’t think you should ever make your client terrified. For most people, that’s too intense. By the time I started jumping by bike into the bag, I was pretty wrung out.

• If I was designing this setup, I’d let people work up to the big stuff more gradually.

• The huge roll-in, transition and takeoff are intimidating, but they create a smooth, safe ride. This is ideal from a riding standpoint, but I don’t know whether we’ll have enough height in Las Vegas, and I don’t want people to be as scared as I was. I will experiment with a smaller scale.

• I have a lot to learn about flying through the air, with and without a bike. But what fun to learn.

Braaap!

Lee


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1 reply
  1. Jim says:

    To me, the progression they had you do looks only tenuously related to the ultimate goal — jumping your bike onto the bag. For example, I don’t think dropping of the ledge into the bag would worry me too much, but jumping the bike onto the pad would a little bit more. I’m having a hard time connecting the relationship. How/why do you think this progression works?

    Beyond that, I’m all for the concept of progression. I go to a BMX track, and guys hit doubles, and it looks like there’s nothing to it. Then when it comes time to do it, the feeling of sailing causes me to panic a bit. I think, “Why can’t they build something a little smaller, where I can practice the skills without so much at stake?” It’s like either go big, or die trying.

    Reply

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