Caveman Skills Clinic Groenkloof Nature Reserve, Pretoria
Surprisingly, the quest to mastering MTB skills starts in the parking lot. Even for a group of Intermediate riders with a few Cape Epics under the belt.
We spent a lot of time on the tar. Its all about mastering the basics:
Even “Stopping 101″ is surprisingly hard at first. Here Deryck shows good form and brake modulation.
And he brought the right bike: Dropper post, chunkier tyres, corner friendly frame geometry and a bit more suspension than your typical XC bike. Too many folks are hell bent on riding the “lightest, fastest most responsive” XC bike – which is pretty hard to ride well on trail) and overlook the bikes made for trail riding. (Deryck is on a mid level Specialized Stumpjumper FSR (Elite, I think) for about R40k or US$3800)
Look and learn. Watching and following are powerful learning tools.
Reuben van Niekerk is an ace Para cyclist with a few Cape Epics under the belt, and as you can see, he now knows how to drop bar and rail a corner. (Also thanks in part, to the “trail bike” as described above)
Anton never stopped smiling!
The Dreaded Drop off: First in the classroom…
Then follow the example
Then DO IT! “Hesitation = Devastation!!”
Center of gravity over the BB, look ahead etc…
Text message from Robrecht after he got back from “Class”:
If your Afrikaans is a bit rusty:
“Conrad. Just rode down the stairs by my house for the first time ever. Was surprised how easy it was. Thanks! Robrecht”
Anton drops in on his Enduro…
Jos drops in on his hard tail…
Once we all had a good grip on the skills we hit the Groenkloof trails and put new moves to the test.
Reuben crushing the rock section
Deryck showing good balance and posture. Elbows up & hips forward!
As confidence grew, the guys kept requesting harder and harder trails…
In fact, we kept riding till we hit Single Track Nirvana
There seems to be a great demand for “Free Speed” in the Gauteng area - stay tuned for more Caveman Skills Clinics- I’ll really get into it once my racing schedule calms down a bit later this summer.
#PrincessHotstuff did a great job helping with the coaching (shredding MTB and acing Netball is not far apart!) and for keeping the aid station stocked with cold BOS Sport and snacks, taking photos, organizing the admin, printing posters and organizing goodie bags: Squirt chain lube, Barrier Balm & tyre sealant and also Enduren products.
Hats off to the Groenkloof Nature Reserve, Pretoria for its fantastic trails and wildlife- it was quite a treat, and very far removed from the last time I rode there. Northern Transvaal MTB Champs, 1997 – Fritz Pienaar and I were racing head to head when I (largely due to lack of skill, but also the “single track” was a footpath) tangled in monkey vine and broke my collar bone. And thus put an eternal end to my status as a swimming ace.
Recon of Groenkloof with Frans the evening before – Africa at its best.