The first weekend in November featured fabulous riding weather, just in time for our two mountain biking skills clinics. Vixen Elizabeth Glas drove into town for the weekend to lead our ladies at both a Beginner Mountain Biking Skills Clinic at White Oak Mountain and an Intermediate/Advanced Mountain Biking Skills Clinic at Raccoon Mountain. Elizabeth’s background in teaching mountain bike skills started Camp High Rocks for Boys in the mountains of North Carolina.
“I was introduced to mountain biking on my 21st birthday. What a party, right? I was terrified – but en
joyed the ride so much that, less than a year later, I found myself teaching mountain biking at Camp High Rocks,” she says.
Since her first year at High Rocks, Elizabeth has amassed nearly 1,200 instructional and guiding hours in a professional setting. No longer working for High Rocks, however, her opportunities for instruction are now few – usually just teaching a friend here and there. “It was a no-brainer,” however, when incoming President, Lori Kopeski, asked Elizabeth to come back to Chattanooga (from Brevard, NC, where she is currently residing) to instruct a couple clinics for the Vixens.
This was a fabulous opportunity for everyone. I got to share my passion and knowledge of the sport; the participating Vixens got to grow their skill sets; and, because the skills clinics were open for members-only, the club grew by 10+/- members pre-clinic!
At the Beginner Skills Clinic, participants started at square one: “We started with getting on and off the bike. Sounds simple enough, but when you add in technical and varied terrain, this can be very hard to execute safely!” Participants then worked on braking and shifting effectively, moving around the cockpit and learning body positions, controlling speed, and maneuvering at slow speeds. The clinic ended with a short trail ride to practice skills.
The Intermediate/Advanced Skills Clinic was an entirely different beast. “We used a large, flat field for the majority of our work. I firmly believe that you need to introduce and practice skills in a low risk environment prior to attempting execution on-trail. Additionally, we were a huge group [of 15], and would have clogged the trail for other users.” The large area allowed participants to practice skills on their own when they felt ready. Elizabeth gave personal feedback and attention to participants so that they could perfect their skills.
“I saw smiles! No one got seriously injured, everyone popped a wheelie, and at least half ‘explored their boundaries’ and landed on their backs. This is what success looks like!”