Ladies Aline Coaching Session
Abi Legge is the better half of our own Ruari Hallam. Here she reports back on taking the plunge with Sheffield’s finest mountain bike coach.
Our first Women’s-only event of the year was a sold-out mountain-bike coaching session with Sheffield’s pro-coach JJ* from ALine Coaching. Due to the bespoke nature of the course, it meant that each rider took away new techniques to improve their riding and boost confidence for when tackling challenging Peak terrain. As usual, sorry for the lack of pics – we were too busy having fun!
The day started off with a quick bike check and introductions as, despite everyone getting in touch on facebook; not all of us had actually met each other! As it was bloomin’ freezing conditions, we swiftly rode down into a sheltered clearing in Wharncliffe Woods to go over the basics of bike maneuvering on the flat. As most of us hadn’t had much bike-time due to the exam season only finishing a week or so before, this proved extremely useful in getting back in sync with the bike. It wasn’t long before a bit of friendly competition was turning the “no way can I get my bike round that corner” to “lets make the corner tighter!”
Once we’d all warmed up, we then moved on to the small bomb-hole on the Wharncliffe side to get a bit of pumping in and go over pressure control in brief. JJ got some videos of us to review over lunch and then we moved into Grenoside Woods to get some cornering practice in – everyone wants to get better at cornering and it seems the better you get, the more fun riding becomes! After tuning our technique we went to look at our first trail of the day – Pub Run. Here we were looking at how to tackle this more technical terrain with confidence, ensuring we were picking lines in scope with our abilities and looking ahead down the trail so we could prepare for whatever the trail threw at us.
Fortunately, Pub Run has a pub at the bottom- the Old Red Lion – so this is where we we went for lunch. Its a great place for cyclist to go eat as they have lots of outdoor seating and a lock up for if you want to eat inside. Awesome!
After lunch we then went back into Greno to see if we could lay down our new skills onto the Steel City track. The track is known for being pretty rocky (in keeping with the rest of the local riding I guess!) and was the track I was hoping the rest of the girls would be able to get to grips with as it is the track used for the annual Peaty’s Steel City Race, which has a record breaking following of female riders. It would be awesome to have them race it later in the year! My concerns were unfounded however, as the track was conquered with ease. Once at the bottom of Steel City. JJ took us to some small steep drops to get a taste of the steeper terrain and improve everyone’s position and technique when riding such terrain.
With the day coming to an end, we quickly took a few pictures on a side roll in the the bomb hole and then pootled back up to the car park. Everyone enjoyed the day and are really buzzing to get out on the bikes. Personal highlight for me was finding out that some of the stuff from my previous coaching sessions with JJ must have stuck as not only JJ was saying how much faster I was looking, but some friends I’ve not seen for a while also commented at how much I’ve improved over the winter.
“Fav bit of the day was…. all of it! Especially the steel city track! It was very comprehensive; it included basic skills and more advanced techniques. It was very well taught by JPJ/JJ/The Man and I improved loads!” – Becka
“It was just really good to have a group of girls riding bikes together. JP is a great coach, he made the the session fun and tailored it to each of us individually despite it being a multi-ability group session. This meant we could all make the most of our day and go away with specific areas to work on. Overall a really good day out and definitely something I’d do again!” – Lizzie
*JJ has more MTB specific coaching qualifications than you can shake a stick at and has extensive experience coaching in the mecca that is Whistler BC (and other super-cool places). He is a master when it comes down to breaking down riding into manageable concepts and has helped many riders, from first timers to world class athletes, to take their riding to the next level.