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Don't worry, be happy!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Seems to be the season.

Mr Formica, myself and Curry went to Rossland BC this last weekend for Devine Ride, a camp hosted by Cindy Devine of the World MTB Hall of Fame The camp format is parallel to the Dirt Series format, often with many of the same coaches.

I've gone to the women's camps before, but the timing wasn't right this year. The original plan was for Curry and I to attend, and Curry's hubby and mine to go off and play. But then Slyfox had to work, so I invited my hubby to join us for the coed camp. He's in the throes of the best whitewater season in years, but decided to sacrifice a weekend of boating to come with us and play with bikes.

This is my fourth time. What, a repeat customer? Can't I learn anything?:D Each time I get something different. This year's goals were to get comfortable on a new bike, really focus on unweighting and front wheel skills, and to not get in over my head. I did that one year, went with a group a level above me on a bad day - not recommended but that is history now.

It was fun being in a coed situation. They put my hubby in a different group which I think was a good idea. One of the reasons I didn't take a lot of pics is just to keep the focus on me and what I was there for.

Highlights for me this year were getting lots of tools to put in my kit for manuals and related skills. I was kind of hoping for the magic pill, but I have to settle for a good understanding of what and how I need to practice. The tip that really was the lightbulb for me was to throw the down and shoulders back, instead of the usual way it's taught with a leg extension and hip snap. I had a lot of fun with an exercise in the body/bike separation segment that had us standing very tall/extended, almost over the bars, doing trackstand-y kind of moves. Kewl. I rode UP a set of 4 stairs. Wow, that was a rush.

Connie mentioned earlier the concept of being extended vs. crouching. This can't be emphasized enough.

I used the tip I got here, of singing to myself when I would start to go to that think-too-much place. I'm sure someone thought I was nuts; my turn to head down whatever and here I am going LA LA LA LA LA LA out loud. But it worked. We rode Crown Point for our second day's ride. I headed right down that trail and straight over an A frame if I ever thought about I'd never do. Hee hee.

Onto some photos, from the few I took:

here's Curry, not real sure about this rocky descent. For her second season of riding, she's doing so awesome! I am really proud of her. For a new rider, skills camp can be a total sensory overload, I know it was for me. I had fun on this section - this pic shows about 2/3 of it. I rode it clean, twice. The first time I came up on another gal, too close so I hiked back up to the top and did it again. CD complemented me several times this weekend on my controlled descent here. :drumroll:

As usual, the pic is really flattened looking.



Here's Mr. Formica giving it a go.



One of his goals was technical uphills. What I love about this camp is that they really make sure that every rider gets a chance to work on their goal. So we stopped here so he could work on this section:


Took him a few tries, but look at the smiles:


Rossland has a nifty little skills park. On Day 2, we spent an hour and a half there in the rain. We don't have much of this stuff where we live ( yet) but it was fun to play around.



Curry got the votes for "best body position"


Mr. F was having fun trying new stuff. Me, I was doing circles on the smaller bridges in the back. That felt good, just riding them over and over and over again, to get comfy.



I worked on manuals for a while, off the smallest drop. I am a pretty dang good technical rider, but this is a skill I really need to develop ( read: I suck) Out of five attempts, I got it right twice, had marginal landings twice and then in my last attempt, in the pouring rain, I stacked it pretty good. :eek: This is incentive for the guys building our park to get the graduated drops in soon, so I can have a place to practice:D.



We finished day 2 with a shuttle ride that I mentioned earlier (Crown Point). I successfully manualed off a couple of tree roots, rode the a frame and had a general good time, and then it was time to pack up and go home. This was the first road trip in the new rig. Three bike on top, three people and all their crap, two lane highway all the way and we still got 25 mpg.



Me n Cindy - this woman is an awesome teacher and runs a great program. She's incredibly positive and effective. That very first camp I went to in 2002 had a profound effect on me - must be why I come back for more every now and then.

 

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Freeriding Feline
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Sweet!

That skills stuff looks like a lot of fun!
And technical uphill...That's what kicked my butt last night. I need more time w/ that myself. Downhilling has spoiled me for sure.
 

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Skills Park

Sounds like you had a great time! :thumbsup:

The skills park with the skinnies, bridges, drop-offs, etc looks like a total blast! Anyone know of anything like that in the Bay Area?
 

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great photos formica. I like the comment about repeat customer.:p I'm the same, it took forever to grasp the manual concept but sometimes it took several different people expaining it until the bell went *ding*. I hope the bulb goes off this year for me about jumping. Looks like a super fun camp, that area is for sure a jem that I would love to visit sometime.
 

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Slothful dirt hippie
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This question occurs for no particular reason... do you think the women-only vs coed makes the experience different in any way?
 

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Don't worry, be happy!
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good question.
Before, when I'd always gone to women's only camps, I would have said yes. But now, having gone to coed, I'd say no. The important thing is that everyone is there to learn, right? I've been to women's only camps where there was a gal who knew it all all ready. Now, I'd say that what is more important is someone wanting to be there and learn things, than what is between their legs. Besides the bike of course.
 

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Don't worry, be happy!
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
stripes said:
I love co-ed camps. You get so much by watching the men power through the skills and women finesse. :D
ya know, I didn't get that at all. We were all on pretty much the same page.

stripes said:
I think they need to separate the riders out into roadies trying to be cyclocrossers on mountain bikes and mountain bikers trying to be better mountain bikers. :rolleyes:
that really made a -impression on you.
 

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stripes said:
I'm glad to hear that. The problem I had was everything seemed to be more fitness related for my classmates than skill related, and I find that very frustrating.

I have friends who road ride, and they're usually pretty patient. These guys were all part of an MTB/Road race team. Not that they're bad people.. just don't have a MTB mentality and wanted to hammer everything.
I can see where that would be frustrating, there are plenty of impatient folks out there regardless of the bike. And I think it only gets harder when you're at a camp - some can't shake the feeling that you paid to go on a ride and are wasting time and not getting anything out of it because they are waiting, yet the people who are slower on the ride need to ride at their own pace or they're not going to be able to get anything out of it either. (And I'm on the slow climbing/fast descending side myself.)

As much as I'd like to say you should ignore everyone else's pace and attitude and focus on what you're learning, I know that's easier said than done. All I can suggest would be to try to go to camps that are either larger groups - like the Dirt Series, where there are enough people there that they divide into a lot of smaller groups and hopefully you wind up with more like-minded people in your group. Or try to convince some friends to attend the camp with you so you know you have a group of people you are comfortable riding with there from the start. Or maybe the coaches can provide some input on what dates might have other riders registered who are a better fit for you.
 

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"The tip that really was the lightbulb for me was to throw the ????? down and shoulders back, instead of the usual way it's taught with a leg extension and hip snap. I had a lot of fun with an exercise in the body/bike separation segment that had us standing very tall/extended, almost over the bars, doing trackstand-y kind of moves."

EEEEEK! I think you left out an important word in the paragraph above. Also, can you expand on both of the things mentioned above? Is there a link to those exercises/techniques?
 

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Don't worry, be happy!
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Team Pro Laps said:
"The tip that really was the lightbulb for me was to throw the ????? down and shoulders back, instead of the usual way it's taught with a leg extension and hip snap. I had a lot of fun with an exercise in the body/bike separation segment that had us standing very tall/extended, almost over the bars, doing trackstand-y kind of moves."

EEEEEK! I think you left out an important word in the paragraph above. Also, can you expand on both of the things mentioned above? Is there a link to those exercises/techniques?
should read, the tip that really was the lightbulb for me was to throw the shoulders down and back ( in a reverse C shape), instead of the usual way it's taught with a leg extension and hip snap.

As for expanding... Paging Connie, Connie to Line 1.
begin pathetic attempt -Lots of times people say to pull up on the bars to manual. It's not pulling up on the bars. Well, it is a little, but more so it involves shifting ( snapping) your CG back through the hips and extending the legs, which brings the front of the bike up.
From camp a few years ago, darn near perfect form. I found that the throw your shoulder back and down thing accomplished pretty much the same thing.

(Connie, help!!)
 

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formica said:
should read, the tip that really was the lightbulb for me was to throw the shoulders down and back ( in a reverse C shape), instead of the usual way it's taught with a leg extension and hip snap.

As for expanding... Paging Connie, Connie to Line 1.
begin pathetic attempt -Lots of times people say to pull up on the bars to manual. It's not pulling up on the bars. Well, it is a little, but more so it involves shifting ( snapping) your CG back through the hips and extending the legs, which brings the front of the bike up.
From camp a few years ago, darn near perfect form. I found that the throw your shoulder back and down thing accomplished pretty much the same thing.

(Connie, help!!)
That sounds right to me.

I agree that the problem is that you usually hear "pull the front of the bike up" - and that creates this visual of bending my elbows to pick up the handlebars and bringing them towards my chest - which is totally wrong.

I mean yeah - technically you are pulling the front end of the bike up - BUT you're doing it by throwing your body weight back, straightening out your arms (and legs) and as a result, the front end of the bike pops up. And you can visualize the same thing as pushing down on the front of the bike (to compress) and then springing back - pushing the bike out in front of you by pushing out and down with your arms and legs. Or I guess if you can picture it... I guess you could do all of that at once since it's the same motion, just picturing it from opposite directions, so to speak. (I think that's way too complicated to visualize, myself, but I guess it would be the same thing... maybe.)

Where people tend to get it wrong is that they either hop up - like doing the "fake bunnyhop" move and just trying to spring upwards. Or they tend to try to pull the front end of the bike up by bending their arms, and that doesn't work either. The key is that it's a weight shift to the back - you want your center of gravity over the rear tire, which naturally makes the front end come up.

I do remember reading somewhere that to manual, you're lifting up the front of the bike - but lifting from your back - like between your shoulder blades, not picking up with your hands, bending your arms, etc.. So what you're saying by moving your shoulders in a reverse C sounds like a good visual to me.
 

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formica said:
should read, the tip that really was the lightbulb for me was to throw the shoulders down and back ( in a reverse C shape), instead of the usual way it's taught with a leg extension and hip snap.

As for expanding... Paging Connie, Connie to Line 1.
begin pathetic attempt -Lots of times people say to pull up on the bars to manual. It's not pulling up on the bars. Well, it is a little, but more so it involves shifting ( snapping) your CG back through the hips and extending the legs, which brings the front of the bike up.
I found that the throw your shoulder back and down thing accomplished pretty much the same thing.
What is CG -- center of gravity?

This is all starting to make sense, at least in the sense of me doing it wrong and wondering why it wasn't working. I DO try to pull up on the bars and can get about 6 inches worth of lift, but nothing else.

There is some physicality there that I am missing and I don't mean sheer strength.
There is also this thing with snapping the pedal forward timing that I have never gotten either.

Anyway, thanks for sharing this information with us. Very useful. Beautiful form in the pic, by the way.
 

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Team Pro Laps said:
What is CG -- center of gravity?

This is all starting to make sense, at least in the sense of me doing it wrong and wondering why it wasn't working. I DO try to pull up on the bars and can get about 6 inches worth of lift, but nothing else.

There is some physicality there that I am missing and I don't mean sheer strength.
There is also this thing with snapping the pedal forward timing that I have never gotten either.

Anyway, thanks for sharing this information with us. Very useful. Beautiful form in the pic, by the way.
I could be wrong but with your description of snapping the pedal forward and the timing for that -- I get the feeling you're confusing this with a wheelie. Which is a totally different thing. A wheelie is where you pop the front end up by the force of the pedals. When you manual - it's 100% body weight shift - you're coasting while doing it. Keep the pedals at 3 and 9 the whole time. The leg movement in a manual is just to compress and then push your weight back, not actually rotate the pedals at all.

(And a wheelie drop is what you need to drop evenly off an obstacle when you are very slow - nearly at a stop. A manual is what you need when you're approaching a drop with some momentum.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
connie said:
(And a wheelie drop is what you need to drop evenly off an obstacle when you are very slow - nearly at a stop. A manual is what you need when you're approaching a drop with some momentum.)
gah, just the names for all the various front wheel maneuvers is enough to make you crazy. Wheelie, wheelie drop, manual, front wheel lift and a quarter punch (wheelie or manual, I forget...)
 

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Slothful dirt hippie
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formica said:
gah, just the names for all the various front wheel maneuvers is enough to make you crazy. Wheelie, wheelie drop, manual, front wheel lift and a quarter punch (wheelie or manual, I forget...)
So... that means we need a Wheelie Manual?

:drumroll:
 
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