The pilot of the Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award was held this month at Glenmore Lodge, Scotland's National Outdoor Training Centre, located in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park.
"The Level 3 award provides mountain bike leaders with the opportunity to extend their remit to include remote terrain and trails of severe technical difficulty."
British Cycling’s Director of Coaching and Education John Mills
The three day course has been designed in consultation with experts from the world of mountain biking and outdoor leadership.
Building upon the skills and knowledge gained at Level 2, it is aimed at experienced leaders who are ready to take the next step and increase their scope for creating inspiring and long-lasting experiences through guiding in remote environments and on trails of severe technical difficulty.
Reflecting the training format at Level 2, the majority of the pilot course took place out on the trail and provided learners with plenty of opportunities to practice.
The ten candidates undertook three days of training, with particular focus on group management in technical terrain, navigation in challenging conditions and incident management in remote environments.
John Mills, British Cycling’s Director of Coaching and Education, said: “The Level 3 award provides mountain bike leaders with the opportunity to extend their remit to include remote terrain and trails of severe technical difficulty.
“The pilot was very well received by attendees and we look forward to the official launching of the award in the near future.”
Activities ranged from looking at appropriate leader positioning on exposed sections of trail, drop-offs and other technical features, to advanced trailside repairs, navigational strategies and how to deal with water hazards and other potential challenges in remote environments.
An attendee at the pilot, Ben Threlfall, said: “The pilot took mountain bike leadership to another level of professionalism, covering in great depth what we are doing as leaders to provide a quality riding experience for those we lead.
“It gave us the technical and group management skills required to lead in complex environments and the confidence to deal with a range of situations out on the trail. Level 3 really is the ultimate course for mountain bike leaders!”
Candidates on the pilot will now take an assessment to complete their qualification and become the first Level 3 mountain bike leaders. The pilot was hosted to inform the final stages of the award’s development, which will be launched to the public in the near future.
For more information on Mountain Bike Leadership awards, please visit www.britishcycling.org.uk/mtbleadership.