Is there really any other choice in this weather??
It’s perhaps day 6 of rain here in the Alps, and whilst I shouldn’t really complain, I’m going to. Only because on the flip-side of living in a fantastic outdoor playground, is the fact that when the playground gets all wet and slippery, there’s not much else to do.
Best then, to head out anyway and get loose!
It takes a significantly greater level of motivation to get out when it’s raining, or when it looks like it might rain, but we all know it’s always worth it once you’re out there. Even if only for the smugness of feeling like you’ve beaten the rain at its own game. I’m pleased to say that I have risen to the challenge several times in the last 6 days, and even smashed some PRs on the road-bike on Monday!
On Saturday I put together a little video on riding in the wet. You can check it out right here!
The manual, also known as the front wheel lift, is one of the most fundamental skills in mountain biking. It’s the gateway to many other skills but even before you’ve got that far, it can actually help reduce arm fatigue!
Think about it – if you manual over a root, or a series of roots, rocks, down steps, anything you can, you’re giving your arms a momentary rest and allowing the much bigger muscles of your legs to deal with the rough stuff. All those momentary rests will soon add up, leaving you feeling a little fresher and also way radder because of all the manualling you’ve been doing. Sounds pretty good eh!
If that’s not enough to persuade you, what about this: once you can lift your front wheel up using the correct technique, you can step your game up almost immediately by successfully learning to do drop-offs. For both manualling over things on the trail and for doing drop-offs, you don’t need to be able to cruise along on the back wheel for many many metres, you simply need to be able to raise the front wheel using the technique described in the video above.
Be sure to let me know how you get on by leaving a comment on the video!
You may or may not have heard that I decided to create a YouTube channel. Every other Tom, Dick and Harry seems to be doing it at the moment what with lockdown, but luckily my name’s Emily so that should help me stand out from the crowd a little bit.
What’s it all about? It’s about trying to help others get better on their bikes. I go into more detail in this video:
If like me, you find YouTube full of people waffling on for 10 minutes when they could have wrapped it up in about 3, you are going to like my channel!
I endeavour only to include what is actually relevant, allowing you to take just a few minutes of your time to find out how to do something, and then head out to try it. You can even refer back to it whilst you’re out, using the YouTube app on your phone. One of the ideas behind keeping the tutorials as short and as to-the-point as possible is to enable you to do just that.
I’ll be covering subjects such as
– Braking to go faster
– Doing drop-offs
– Riding switchbacks
– Riding steeps
to name just a few.
There’ll be a smattering of more theoretical mechanical/technical type videos too, but please comment on any of the videos to let me know what you’d like to see next!
If you like what you’ve read and/or seen so far, you can subscribe by hitting this subscribe link HERE right now!
I had originally planned to kick off in mid-April with this, which coincided with not being allowed to actually go bike riding here in France thanks to the Covid-19 crisis. So far, I’ve done a few garden-based videos, but will wait now until 11th May (a mere 6 days away at the time of writing) because I want to produce more relevant and useful stuff than random bits in the garden (although I could do a video on how to endo-180-off of 2 pallets/a wall if you want!).
If you’ve just become a subscriber, thank you very much, and see you out there!
Well, it’s been a mint week riding my bike in Engadin St Moritz, with a crew of other bike-loving ladies! We’ve talked about everything from suspension to farting, ridden some great trails, eaten some delicious food, and above all I think we’ve all come away with a whole bunch of new friends.
We were in St Moritz (yes, the famous ski resort in Switzerland) for the second annual Women’s Bike Summit. Last year was good, but if you ask me, this year was even better! We had some great skills sessions, including bike maintenance, suspension set-up, skills coaching, and some behind-the-scences coaching tips and tricks for those of us involved in actually delivering skills coaching.
The weather wasn’t quite so kind to us this time around but we didn’t let it get us down. At least it wasn’t raining! It was just a bit chilly with some snow around up high. We kept warm with a little extra pedalling and some tactical route choices by our guides, who took us down to Poschiavo on the coldest day, known as “Little Italy” for it’s great food, coffee and gelato. It was also quite a bit warmer, and I almost got sunburnt before quickly slapping some sunscreen on.. oopsy!
One of the highlights for me were the photo workshops with Sam Dugon. I took my SLR this year so that I could get involved. I love photography but I have huge swathes of time where I don’t get the camera out, so I always forget what I learnt last time. We were treated to a ride down Val Bever, where the scenery is so amazing that I’m not sure you could actually take a bad photo. We had some good clouds in the sky, not too much harsh sunlight and everyone was wearing bright clothes. British girls may like to moan about manufacturers making things in pink on the various forums, but I can tell you, European girls seem very happy pinking themselves to the max! It isn’t exactly a bad colour to be photographed in either.
We also enjoyed an extremely polished talk on mental training from the very inspiring Anne-Marie Flammersfeld. She is an ultra-trail runner, and the world record holder for the fastest ascent up Kilimanjaro and back. She gave a very interesting talk on the power of the mind, covering things such as focus, relaxation techniques, and how to actually practice mental training. This is something I’ve always been interested in, and it was encouraging to learn that I’m on the right track with the way I use my mind to keep on pushing up tough climbs on the road bike, for example.
Another highlight for me came on the morning of our first day. Specialized Ambassador Maria Frykman had come all the way from Innsbruck, and gave us some valuable information on how to help beginners feel more comfortable and confident riding their bikes. Whilst I don’t often guide beginners, I am really pleased to have been able to take away some very useful tips to help the people I guide to become even better riders.
Above all, I really feel like I got to know some great women this week. Everyone was so happy to be out riding with other like-minded women. There is definitely a different vibe when you have a group of ladies riding together. A collective stoke when someone nails something you know they will have found hard or challenging. A collective sense of achievement when the whole group has finished a tough ride. It seems to me that we tend to expect male riders to nail challenging stuff, and to finish a tough ride, these are norms, and they don’t get any praise for it. I like that within a group of female riders you have these responses. I guess we’re all just wearing our hearts on our sleeves a little more, we’re more vocal about cheering for each other. I could probably chatter on about that for a while without drawing any real conclusions, but instead I shall just say that if you’re a female rider reading this blog, you should really come along to the Women’s Bike Summit next year! You’ll ride in one of the most beautiful places around, learn so much, and make so many new friends! I couldn’t recommend it more.
Thanks to Laura, Daniela and Tina for the group shots just here ^^ 🙂