14/07/2017 - Hannah's Progress Report

Progress Report

Hannah's update

Beautiful day out exploring. #Cotic #peakdistrict #mtb #mtbgirl #travel

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Since my last post I've been trying to get out and ride more often. There's definitely been highs and lows. I mentioned in my last post that hills were my main problem. There was one particular hill that's fairly steep and rocky that I found most difficult. I finally cracked it! The overwhelming feeling when I got to the top was so rewarding, I felt so much better having done it, it was like nothing else could stop me! There's also the mental thing of keeping going to get to the top, which now having done that hill, I'm so much better at keeping momentum and just keeping pedalling.

I've now had two skills sessions with Paul. Most of you know will know Paul as the person at the end of the Cotic phone and many of the email enquiries. In Paul's pre-Cotic days he was a skills coach at Sherwood Pines and kindly agreed to giving me some beginners 1-2-1 sessions after work and at Sherwood Pines.

I was a mixture of excited and nervous for my first session. I just didn't know what to expect. He took me on the Cotic test track. You'll have seen from the Guy Kesteven video it's a pretty crazy track (see video at bottom of the page if you haven't watched it already!). The first lesson was about braking and body positioning, getting used to the bike moving under you and line choice. I found it very useful and really made me think about how you have to work with the bike and your weight and positioning makes a huge difference in how the bike reacts. You also have to learn to trust yourself and the bike, which I think is quite an important thing. So after a couple of tries on a calmer section, we rode along to a steeper, rockier section of the trail, to combine the things I'd just learnt. Line choice was important here, so I got off and walked it first. Feeling fairly confident I could do it, I really went for it, perhaps with a little too much enthusiasm. I successfully followed my line, only with not enough braking, sending me crashing at the end of it because I was far too fast! Lesson learned. I managed the rest of the trail but with using my brakes a lot more...

Second lesson we met at Sherwood Pines. My first trail centre experience! Paul knows Sherwood Pines, probably better than the back of his hand. He took me to his 'cornering practice track'. A track off the main trail, carved out from his students riding it so many times. This lesson was all about the importance of corners, using pressure on your bars, and moving your weight to keep speed. It was hard work because I was so determined to take it all in and try my best to do exactly what he said. I found the leaning into the corners most difficult to grasp at first. Towards the end of the day I got better at it, so that's what I'm now aiming to work on in my future rides.

We continued on and did the red route. We'd picked the hottest day to go on, a good test for me. I struggled on certain areas, just needed to keep up my speed. I need to work on pumping and strength (probably!). But I really enjoyed the day. I was tired, but not letting that beat me I went for an evening walk at Stanage Edge to keep myself moving. The joys of having the Peak District on your doorstep!

More updates to come...

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