Teaching kung fu to a ninja

Steve and Michele came from Memphis, TN for a week of Big Colorado Adventures. This included three days with me.

It was immediately clear that Steve has extraordinary body awareness. He took cues very quickly and showed tons of poise. While railing a corner, he actually took his hand off the bar to wipe his nose. Now that’s balance.

Well … it turns out the 56-year-old road racer has a black belt in ninjutsu — which makes him a full on ninja. He said: “If I was riding like a ninja, you wouldn’t see me.” I was like, uh, where are you?

Steve says he chose ninjutsu because it provides a more rounded experience than other martial arts. He gets to work the physical skills, learn weapons and, most important, build his inner strength.

The more I work with various athletes, the more I realize: If you can learn to do one thing, you can learn to do anything.

Especially if you’re a ninja.

Day 1: Core MTB skills at Valmont Bike Park.

Day 2: Braking and cornering on the road bikes, then working our way up the skills tree at Valmont Bike Park.

Day 3: Apply the kung fu, I mean ninjutsu, to real trail.

Moments of brilliance:

Michele gets a new feel for her road bike. It’s fun see a dedicated rider Ride (capital R) for the first time.

Steve expands his cockpit and finds some new angles.

Going up rocks at Lyons Bike Park. This section mimics local ledgy ascents.

Going down rocks at Lyons Bike Park. When the rocky ups and downs get smooth, we hit the trail.

Pumping is fun. Turning is fun. Pumping while turning is FUN.

Finding flow! Oh man what a brilliant piece of trail.

Next: Steve wants to race next year’s Leadville 100. If he gets in, he will come out before the race and we’ll work on his black belt in MTB kung fu.

Know more. Have more fun!

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4 replies
  1. Steve says:

    Hey Lee,

    Wanted to say thanks for all your help! I have wanted to write a suitable endorsement for your clinic but struggled with what to say. Last night, however, it finally came to me. I went for a mtn bike ride yesterday late afternoon. The loop that I rode would, before your clinic, have taken me around an hour and if I really pushed myself 56-57 mins. So yesterday the same loop took me 51 mins without too much trouble.

    BTW, I still suck!

  2. Pierre says:

    Quote from Lee: “The more I work with various athletes, the more I realize: If you can learn to do one thing, you can learn to do anything.”

    I work with athelets on snow and find the same thing but, there is a clear difference between those who have done another sport and those who have master another sport. The clear difference is those who have master another sport never stop moving dynamically. Right or wrong they are always trying to move and instinctively find flow.

    Dynamic movement (continuous blending of skills) is the hardest thing to teach. I think accomplished athelets instinctively know that intent and setting up training for success, instead of thinking about movement, gives the best chance for dynamic movement to happen.

    Just my thoughts.


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