World Downhill and Enduro MTB racing Champion Tracy Moseley joined Scottish Cycling for one of their recent 2 day training camps in Peebles, in the Scottish Borders. The aim of the camp was to bring both Downhill and Cross Country Mountain bikers together to learn new skills and techniques from both Tracy and Scottish Cycling MTB coach Paul Newnham ahead of the 2015 season, with 7 Under 21 female riders taking part in the camp.
Cross Country mountain biker Isla Short and Downhill mountain biker Rebecca Kennedy have shared their experiences about the camp!
“On a very cold, frosty morning in the Borders, seven girls set out to ride the steep, wet trails of Innerleithen with the legend that is Tracy Moseley. Our group was made up of three cross country racers, three downhillers and one all-rounder. To level out everybody’s different abilities, we all rode enduro bikes. The downhillers on their wee bikes and us XCers on our big bikes. Also joining us was the International Downhill racer Jess Stone and Scottish Cycling’s MTB Coach Paul Newnham.
The camp took place over two days, each day consisting of two sessions with a lunch stop in between. Our first session was very skilled focused, beginning with a tricky set of steps on the climb up to the push up tracks, followed by some work on using the brakes most efficiently. Tracy explains things in the most simple and logical way, making it very easy to put skills into action. A dual slalom was set up on a fire road and we were each timed down it, which was interesting to see different times among the group. This was also the beginning of Rebecca ‘chaos’ Kennedy... the moment we realised she should always lead, so as to not take anybody out. After spending some time on the dual slalom, the real fun began, as we headed down the tunnel to the beginning of Luge to session a ‘flowy bermed’ section. Having Tracy there to demonstrate for us was incredible, partly because you’d blink and miss it, and also because she is just the smoothest rider out there. Following her down the Cresta run to finish our morning session was a lot of fun.
Lunch was a feast of scrambled egg and beans on toast, and then we were back out braving the Baltic temperature for a couple more hours. We spent the afternoon session nailing some pretty steep trails. Quite gnarly for us XCers but probably fairly gentle for the others! After a couple of runs down a short, tight trail Jess coached us on body position whilst riding steep sections. The idea that there is a vertical line going through your body from the bottom bracket to the sky that doesn’t move regardless of the gradient was a new concept for me but it made a lot of sense! Finding the line between keeping your weight back and losing control of the front wheel was fun, but quite scary. To end the first day of the camp Jess took us down a trail that she explained as ‘like the Pete Williams track but mellow’. It was definitely not mellow… It was ridiculously steep in places and when I went down, as I was at the front, I created a dominoes effect behind. That wasn’t the best part though. The exit of the trail on to the fire road was a steep bomb hole and Hope had a spectacular over the bars job, leaving her bike and flying into the bushes below the road. It was an entertaining end to the day, and she wasn’t too bruised and battered!
Riding with such a good mix of people was beneficial for many reasons. Learning from each other’s strengths and about our different disciplines, whilst also being able to relate to many aspects of riding was great. For me, the best part was descending with girls who are quicker than me. Having somebody fast riding on your wheel means you’re always pushing yourself and on the edge. Maybe sometimes a little over the edge and out of control but that’s what discovering your limits and learning to be a better bike rider is all about!"
“Day 2 was all about cornering. Being able to position yourself correctly on the bike and controlling it by braking smoothly so you won’t be stop starting whilst coming to awkward rooty sections, rocks, tight “S” bends or loose steep rocky and slippy slopes. The aim was to be smooth in technical sections of track and maintain that good speed. Doing this in technical sections will reduce your finishing time by a good few seconds because technical sections always catch people out. Was great to work on different sections of trail which could be technically a bit challenging with Tracy and Paul's help on line choice, advise on body position, brake points on the track and other feedback which we all benefitted from to enable us to become faster and smoother on tricky parts of track.
To begin with we cycled along to Innerliethen trails car park where Tracy set out some cones for us all to weave around. The aim was to always keep one wheel on the outside of the cones when going around the 4 coned box. The box got smaller which forced everyone to be slower and become more controlled over there bike when turning and there braking. The next stage to this cone exercise was to get only your front wheel around a cluster of 3 or 4 cones which were put close together. This was surprisingly difficult! Put about 5 different skills into practice. The best thing was to be slow, get your body position right, be steady on the brakes and look where you want to go instead of looking down at the cones your trying to get your front wheel around which on the trails would be a tree stump, root, rock or something. The third part of the cone exercise was to go around cones which were lined up as if they were tight “S” bends. Again you had to slow down, be aware of how and when your braking, remembering to look around each cone to help follow through. The position of the bike was important too especially with these tight “S” bends around the cones. Had to come out wide to get the whole bike around each cone. As the cones got closer together we almost had to hop the back end of the bike around which again takes a lot of control over the bike and brakes. I found this whole exercise so brilliantly simple yet really helps you become more aware of how your positioning yourself on the bike and keeping you aware of how your braking and where your looking. Simple yet really effective.
We then cycled to the top of Innerliethen trails where those skills came into practice on some technical trails. We sectioned 3 different parts of the trail, all of which were rooty, slippy and fast if you got the right line. On the first section there were 3 possible lines, either out wide around the tree stumps, in between them or in close to the tree. We all tried it out a few times taking the different lines and working out which we preferred and thought was the smoothest. Everyone had different preferences. Was good to watch each other on the different sections and give each other feedback and advice on braking points etc. we did this on all 3 different parts of the technical trail. First watching Tracy then discussing the best line and also remembering to keep more centred on the bike, not too far back which loses grip on the front wheel. On these sections, body position was most important I think because the roots were going in every direction and pretty slick so you have to be in the right position to take on the awkward roots and tree stumps without you loosing control of the bike. After we sectioned the trail we rode up and did the track in one go, pulling together the technical sections in one run which is what would happen in a race run. One shot to get it right.
After that, we down to No.1 Peebles road cafe for a lovely lunch which was definitely needed to warm us all up!
In the afternoon we sectioned some more trails then to finish off we all rode Pete's track. Was so much fun getting loose and flying down the steep, rooty and rocky slope! Great end to a fab weekend on the Scottish Cycling Technical camp with the girls and of course the help and advice from Tracy Moseley and to Paul Newnham who made it happen! This camp taught me a lot, was so good to mix with girls who compete in different cycling disciplines. We all learnt something from each other. The only thing to make it even better would be to have camps like this more often.”