written by: Bob Saffell
Adventures/MTBRaceNews.com rider Bob Saffell had the opportunity to attend the
recent BetterRide clinic in Fruita, Colorado, and learn from coach Andy
Winohradsky. He shares his experience with us.
I have been racing for around 10 years, 7 of
those years have been in the expert/cat 1 group. I finish on the podium
regularly in XC and endurance races and have an occasional win. I excel on courses that have multiple
climbs and descents that facilitate recovery. I tend to get a lot of upper body
fatigue and time loss on the downhill’s whether they are technical or not. I
truly believed that others were faster on the downhill because they were
willing to take bigger risks. Now I know that this is not necessarily true.
Prior to the camp Gene Hamilton sends out
quite a bit of information to participants to set expectations and to prepare
you for learning. For me
specifically, he cautioned that there will be riders with different fitness and
skill levels and that I needed to have an open mind. He also mentioned that it
was ‘not a pedal as fast as you can camp.’ All of the information Gene sends out is valuable for any
rider and it is things we easily forget about.
Post camp I can look back at multiple areas where ‘I have been
doing it wrong.’ There are several
things I can do to become more efficient and faster. If I can gain a bike
length or 2 in every corner and every technical section, imagine what that
translates to over the 80 mile Park City Point 2 Point course or even a 2 hour
You can check out an outline of the camp here (http://betterride.net/mountainbikeclinicsandcamps/threedayoutline/)
Each day of the camp I learned at least 2
critical techniques that I could immediately see how they would make me more
efficient and faster. The problem is that I have years of ingrained bad habits
to overcome. I cannot expect to overcome these habits without drilling the good
habits into my psyche. The BetterRide.net coaches know this well and therefore
they provided participants with simple drills for each critical skill. These drills can be done in parking
lots and on neighborhood streets. I plan on taking their direction and making
these drills a part of my normal riding regime. I truly believe they will make me faster, more efficient and
also they will allow me to have more fun.
How much time and money have we all spent on getting that lighter
part, that perfect training plan that magical diet? How much time and money have we spent on the next big
‘thing’ that will make us faster?
How many of us have even taken the time to
think about fundamentals and what they could do for us? I, for one, had never even thought about
it. When I had heard about the camp in the past I always believed that there
was nothing I could be taught. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I am glad that
I had the chance to attend and to learn. You should do the same if the
opportunity arises, it will make you faster, guaranteed.