With the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships underway this week, we caught up with British Cycling Olympic mountain bike coach, Phil Dixon, to find out what gets him excited about mountain biking and why he recommends the Mountain Bike Leadership Awards to elite riders.
British Cycling’s Mountain Bike Leadership Awards qualify cyclists to lead groups of riders on recreational mountain bike rides.
So what is that really gets your pulse racing about mountain biking?
"I love the sport, the challenge, the outdoors. The demands of mountain bike racing are not easily measured and there are few controllables. The weather can affect the trails, the race. You never get one world cup that looks like another - there are steep, physical courses, there are technical, tactical courses. So to be a good mountain biker, you need a lot of strings to your bow.
"I have got a passion for riding bikes, I have got a passion for the outdoors, so mountain biking really brings both of those passions together. You get out and you’re in the countryside and see some fantastic views, it makes you feel alive."
Why did you decide to do British Cycling’s Mountain Bike Leadership awards?
"With a passion for riding bikes and the outdoors, it’s great to be able to get out with a group of people and chat through our weekend’s work on the bikes. You see their belief systems change in terms of what they can achieve on the bike and where they can ride. I like to pass knowledge on that I’ve learnt, but I also like to learn from other people. Meeting new people and riding with new people who share similar passions is a really nice thing and you can learn a lot."
What did you get out of completing the awards?
"You meet new people and you can learn a lot of things from being in new groups. I don’t think you ever know enough, you are always learning and being around like-minded people is a great thing."
Do you think the awards complement what you are doing in the sport?
"It makes you feel more prepared. We are often in the mountains doing training rides and things can go wrong. If you’ve completed an award like the Mountain Bike Leadership Award, it makes you feel more confident and you know how to tackle trials or incidents if things do go wrong. It gives you more confidence in your coaching when you’re out there."
Would you recommend Mountain Bike Leadership Awards to other mountain bike enthusiasts?
"I would definitely recommend the award to other mountain bike enthusiasts. I’ve also recommended it to the athletes and I think this winter you’ll see the likes of Annie Last and other Great Britain riders go through that process."
British Cycling’s Mountain Bike Leadership Awards are ideal for anyone with experience in mountain biking; whether you’re massively into the sport, work in the outdoor sector or simply have a personal interest in learning about getting out on your bike with groups in a safe way.
The awards enable you to lead groups of people on mountain bike rides as a qualified Leader.
The mountains, hills and rugged terrain of Great Britain provide a stunning backdrop to the Mountain Bike Leadership Awards, with the skills of effective leadership outlined through practical and engaging activity at some of the best outdoor venues throughout the country.
Ultimately, being a leader gives you the opportunity to share your passion for mountain biking with others. To find out more about British Cycling’s Mountain Bike Leadership Awards, please click here.