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Coach's Column with Alison Dunlap

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |October 11, 2011 1:33 AM

Alison Dunlap is a certified Level II USAC Coach and has been working with athletes for five years. She runs a coaching business called Alison Dunlap Coaching, and has mountain bike camps in Moab, UT through the Alison Dunlap Adventure Camps. Alison is also a two-time Olympian, MTB World Champion, and 13-time National Champion. 

Question: I have been thinking about signing up for an Alison Dunlap Adventure Camp.  Can you tell me what sort of experience I would be getting and what goals I should have going into camp?

Answer: The Alison Dunlap Adventure Camps are held every year in Moab, UT in both the spring and fall.  They are a comprehensive, all-inclusive mountain bike skills camp for novice, intermediate, and advanced riders.  To give you an idea of what we do during the camp I’ve included the itinerary from the first day of our novice camp.

After a hearty breakfast of French toast, hash browns, and scrambled eggs, we'll begin our day with a skills clinic in Moab's City Park, where we'll learn the core concepts and basic fundamentals of mountain biking. All of our instruction is progressive so you’ll become comfortable with the basic skills before moving on to more advanced techniques. We’ll practice track stands, cornering, switchbacks, and riding up and down ledges among other skills. You get to test your balance and coordination on the bike with several types of obstacles and drills on the soft grass -- where spills won't hurt. This may sound like a walk in the park, but you'll be surprised by the difficulty of such challenges. It’s all about practice! After a few hours of mental gymnastics, our Rim Tour guides will prepare a delicious lunch under one of many large shade trees in City Park.

After lunch we’ll load up the van, and venture north of town to the Bar M trail, one of the easier rides in Moab. Here we’ll split into groups and begin our first real trail ride. Our goal for the afternoon is to practice the skills we learned in the morning session. We’ll stop and talk about the technical sections, demonstrate, and practice as much as you want so that you begin to feel comfortable with your technical skills. You’ll be treated to some amazing views, as well as a short hike to the rim of Seven Mile Canyon and Arches National Park.

We'll return to the condos mid-afternoon, in time for massages, swimming and some free time. After a yummy dinner, Alison’s husband, Greg, will give the all important talk on bike maintenance and what to do if something breaks on your bike and you’re in the middle of nowhere.  Then it’s off to bed to rest up for another big day tomorrow.

Each day of the camp gets progressively harder, with the biggest ride on the last day.  We select trails that are challenging but not extreme.  We want everyone to not only learn new skills but to have fun while doing it. Every ride in Moab has amazing views, incredibly scenery, and challenging technical problems that are fun to figure out.  I would come to the camp with an open mind and a willingness to push yourself out of your comfort zone.  The number one goal of the Alison Dunlap Adventure Camps is to share with you the skills and techniques that will make you a more confident rider.  We run all our camps in a safe, supportive environment, while stretching your "comfort zone” both mentally and physically. With our combined experience of racing, riding, and coaching we’ll give you an adventure you’ll never forget!



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