Mountain Bike Geezer

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MTB skills, instruction, & advocacy
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Video: learning to jump from Phil Kmetz, part 1

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 10:57pm

 

See Phil Kmetz’s blog post titled How To Jump A Mountain Bike

 

 

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Categories: Citizens

Adding some instruction to a weekly youth group mtb ride

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 10:31am

I’m co-leading CROCT’s Monday night youth group ride again this summer.  And now that I’ve got my MTB instructor certifications (IMBA ICP Level 2 and PMBI Level 1), I’m planning to add a little group instruction each week at the start of the ride.

At our first session, we did a quick braking assessment and I was surprised to see how much trouble the kids (approximate ages 6-13) had trying to come to a stop between a set of cones on a gentle slope.

For an assessment of their ability to select a gear for climbing, we had them pick their own ‘Goldilocks’ route up a grassy slope — not too easy, not too hard.  Unsurprisingly, many of the kids were clueless about how to shift to an easier gear to get up the slope.

So in the coming weeks, we’ll add some instruction, drills and games that incorporate braking and gear choice.  Some photos from week 1:

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Categories: Citizens

Admiral Rockbar gets an extension: Piedmont remains atop the heap of Minnesota’s technical trails

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 9:00am

If you like difficult technical riding, the COGGS Piedmont trail in Duluth is Minnesota’s Crème De La Crème and one of many reasons that Duluth is an IMBA Gold-level Ride Center, one of 6 in the world. Here’s a 2015 map of Piedmont:

I’d heard rumors earlier this year that one of Piedmont’s X segments, Admiral Rockbar, was extended recently to include some rock drops and a long rocky uphill.

I was at Spirit Mountain last weekend for the PMBI Level 1 instructor course (more on that to come) and I was eager to ride Rockbar before I left town. I saw COGGS Board Member and Ride Coordinator Dave Cizmas there and when I asked him about it, he told me he’d helped on the planning and route selection for the extension and that he’d managed to clean the uphill once. I was even more intrigued.

But with the heavy rain on Sunday, all COGGS trails were still closed. on Tuesday morning. I texted Dave and he said he thought Rockbar would be fine to ride, as long as I didn’t ride anything else at Piedmont.  When I saw COGGS Board Member/Fundraising Coordinator Pam Schmitt at Duluth Coffee Company on Tuesday morning she ‘deputized’ me to go have a look at it since other COGGS crew members were unavailable to check it out. I felt honored. A reconnaissance mission!

I parked in the small lot along Haines Rd where there’s quick access to the Admiral Rockbar segment without having to ride the other portions of Piedmont that were too wet to ride.

The dirt portions of Rockbar were damp but hard-packed. The rocks were somewhat slippery from the mist and heavy fog. I sent Pam a text that I thought Admiral was fine to ride.

Since I was by myself and the rocks were moist, I decided to hike-a-bike down the tricky downhill section along the Haines Rd cliff (for which I won a Camelbak Enduro Hydration pack last year, details here):

I also carried my bike down the biggest of the new drops:

No cajones? Not so much in the spring. More so in late fall when I have all winter to heal.

I concentrated instead on the uphill portion of the new extension. I spent about an hour sessioning its three tricky spots:

  1. long initial climb:

2. switchback:

3. shorter final climb:

I never came close to even getting up the up the end of the initial long climb in 6 attempts, let alone cleaning it. After a handful of attempts on the switchback and final climb, I did manage to clean each a couple times.

I’m eager to return when the rocks are dry for another go at it. I’d love to be able to clean the entire uphill section without stopping… and of course, session the big drop.

Props to the COGGS crew of volunteers who worked on this new extension of Admiral Rockbar, including Dave Cizmas, Erik Blow, Adam Sundberg, Rudy O’brien, Justin Martin, Erik Olson, Andy Keinitz, and possibly others.

Here’s a 34-second video of some of my attempts:

http://mountainbikegeezer.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/COGGS-admiral-rockbar.mp4

Thank you, COGGS. I’ll be back.

 

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Categories: Citizens

I’m now a PMBI Level 1 MTB instructor

Wed, 06/15/2016 - 9:28am

I took another MTB instructor certification course over the weekend, the Professional Mountain Bike Instructor Association (PMBI) Level 1 course. It was held at Spirit Mountain in Duluth, MN.

Photos of our two groups (10 women, 4 men – we all passed) and the excellent instructors, Luc and Ross:

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Categories: Citizens

Video: Getting over a logpile with an uphill approach

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 4:02pm

Another view of it:

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Categories: Citizens

Using a blog post to address citizen concerns about a mountain bike trail

Thu, 06/02/2016 - 8:48am

I occasionally put on my mountain bike advocacy hat (helmet?) and in the past few of weeks I’ve had it on quite a bit in my role as a board member of my local IMBA chapter, Cannon River Offroad Cycling & Trails (CROCT). One issue I’ve worked on has been addressing  the concerns of some citizens who’ve had some objections about our mountain bike trail-building activities in Rice County’s Caron Park.

While we are reaching out to these citizens to meet face-to-face, I’ve used our CROCT blog to address the main issues and invite further comments and discussion from anyone who might be interested. The idea is not so much to communicate to our CROCT members about the issue but rather:

  • to give elected/appointed officials and staff something they can see/read so that they can better understand what’s been done
  • to provide a link to a blog post that those officials can send to others who contact them with concerns
  • to help defuse the issue for some of the opponents who may feel that at least they’ve been listened to, even if we don’t agree with them.

See my post: Impact of CROCT’s mountain bike trails in Caron Park

 

 

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Categories: Citizens

I’m now an IMBA ICP Level 2 MTB instructor

Wed, 06/01/2016 - 8:43am

I took the IMBA Instructor Certification Program (ICP) Level 2 course last weekend. It was 3+ days of intense instruction, practice teaching, and testing.

Here are a few photos of my fellow colleagues (we all passed) and our terrific instructor, Mike Holme. It happened at Buck Hill Ski & Snowboard Area which graciously donated the use of their facilities for the course, including some indoor space for riding every time it poured.

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Categories: Citizens

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