After teaching mountain biking skills for the past 12 years, I’ve come to realize that every skill I teach stems from one underlying principle. Without this one key ingredient, very little can be achieved.
So, if you are getting ready to try mountain biking for the first time, here is my first rule of mountain biking mastery.
Number One Rule – Ride with Confidence
Whether you call it being cautious, nervous or afraid, the hesitation that inevitably follows can give new (and experienced) mountain bikers trouble. The first and last thing I tell new students when they get ready to hit the trails is the importance of being confident. Mountain biking is extremely dynamic. Tight turns, hill climbs, steep descents, rocks and logs – the varied terrain of a typical single-track course means you need to be ready for anything. Split second decisions followed by immediate action/reaction makes the difference between a good day and a bad day on the trail. Get it in your head that you are “a gnarly MTB ninja, who knows all and fears nothing.” Whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter – if you believe it, you can become it – and at the very least you will ride with confidence.
Benefits of Riding with Confidence:
- When you are confident, you remove the trepidation that can cloud judgment. You anticipate the obstacle that is just around the bend, and you act/react more quickly.
- Confidence frees us up to ride faster, which makes the rocks less bumpy, creating a more comfortable riding experience.
- Confidence makes us more likely to try new things, overcome bigger obstacles, and ultimately improve our riding skill.
- Confidence makes mountain biking more fun!
If you ride with confidence, you WILL BE a better rider.
Remember – “You are a gnarly MTB ninja, who knows all and fears nothing!”
See you on the trail.