Gleaming weather greeted us for the first session of Scottish Cycling RACE DH of the year on 6th and 7th April at the Hermitage downhill trails in Dunkeld.
There were a few new faces amongst the ranks as 12 riders were selected from a bundle of 27 applications.
Once again, Ben Cathro was on hand to provide the expert downhill tuition and he was ably supported for the first day by Chris Hutchens, who we hope to see more of over the course of the year.
Throughout the 2 day training workshops, MTB Coach Paul Newnham was present to offer further training insights from a Scottish Cycling perspective and to lead on developing the professional training ethos that has fast become a staple of the top riders.
The first day kicked off with a meet and greet, followed swiftly by an introduction to some new techniques for keeping the wheels tucked onto the terra to generate some serious pace and maintain a little more control over the rough stuff.
There were some great efforts from the riders who quickly demonstrated that they can take on new techniques and apply it rapidly to their riding.
A quick lunch stop led to some fine adjustments to the bikes of some riders and then followed some quicker sprint sessions focussing on minimising ‘passenger moments’ to ensure that riders are bossing the trail.
Time began to escape as we headed to Birnam for some time in the classroom discussing in groups, the ingredients that make a good rider and the elements that make up good race preparation.
The groups shared their insights with each other as well as receiving the perspective of the parents (who failed to escape!), who form an essential part of the rider team. They shared the input and efforts that they give to get the young riders to the top of the race hill.
Although reluctant at first, the combined classroom session provided some great insights into the effort and pressure that riders and parents face to keep the race wheels turning. On day 2 the uplift provided an opportunity for some full runs incorporating technical coaching on braking zones, before putting it all together with some timed race runs. This was a great opportunity for riders to try new things and receive feedback from coaches and themselves as to what felt fastest.
The 2 day session was a great success and gave these riders the opportunity to ride together, receive some technical coaching from expert riders and gain an insight into how to progress their off-the-field skills to benefit race results.
We look forward to getting all the riders together again in Fort William to continue the development and hopefully continue to see some improvement in the riders.
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