Hervélo and Scottish Cycling team up for Women’s only MTB Skills session

Posted on: 24th April 2012

Article by: Katie Carmichael

Hervélo enjoyed the benefit of a fun and informative skills session hosted by Scottish Cycling's mountain bike coach, Paul Newnham, at Kirroughtree. Taking place on the course of the first Scottish Cross Country race of the season we looked at body position and how line choice might affect our ride, race, and lap time.  The focus for me was on improving my body position.  Paul noticed that I have a ‘default descending’ position consisting of bandy knees and straight arms which inevitably brings my weight back off the bike, leaving my front wheel unweighted and unpredictable.  After some guidance on how to keep my weight forward and use my fork, resisting the temptation to bend my knees over rough terrain, I felt a real difference riding the more technical sections of the course.  Rather than shifting my weight back, letting go of the brakes and hoping I would make it to the bottom, I felt that I was on top of the trail, riding each rocky and rooty section with a bit more purpose.

Race day was warm, dry and sunny and coming the day after the session it was a fantastic opportunity to put skills into practice.  I really felt the difference on the descents and was able to put in a good time.  There is still a lot to learn though.  I have a very vivid picture of the collapsed wall I had to cross three times in the race and the route my front tyre tracked over it.  Had I been riding it properly and focusing on what was coming next I wouldn’t know those details! 

Hervélo are looking forward to working with Scottish Cycling again to encourage more members into mountain bike racing.  We hope that the Edinburgh 48 series will give members a great opportunity to have a go, and that more members will experience the thrill of cross country mountain bike racing  in the future.

for any further information on XC Mountain bike racing contact Scottish Mountain Bike Coach Paul Newnham