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  1. #1
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    MTB Skill Clininc - Worth it?

    There's an expensive XC MTB skills clinic coming to philly in a few weeks, via betterride. I've been riding for a bit less than a year and am definitely looking to expand my skill set.

    Unfortunately for me it is a very inopportune time due to the expense of the clinic ($750ish) and i'm currently paying off my latest bike. If i didn't have this credit card debt, it would be a no brainer and I would sign up for it immediately. (I hate having credit card debt, bad experience when i was younger lol)

    Anyways, are there any other clinics with as good of a reputation as betterride, or should i just bite the bullet and take the clinic now?
    Thanks!
    Jason

    (Skills i need to work on)
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jongalt26 View Post
    Anyways, are there any other clinics with as good of a reputation as betterride
    Absolutely. Harlan Price's TakeAim Cycling clinics and lessons are top-notch. Harlan's a former national champ and an excellent teacher.

    I did the Betterride clinic and it was good, but not as good as lessons with Harlan. (Plus you can pay as you go instead of having to drop $750 at once.)

  3. #3
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    I second the Harlan idea. He is a fantastic teacher. He isn't just a mountain biker teaching classes. He's a teacher of mountain biking classes, there is a difference. I took a 4 class series of his at Bear Creek earlier in the summer, well worth the money- and as OldManBike mentioned, pay-as-you-go.

    Also, I did this last April, and it was very good:

    Fast Forward Racing Productions: Michaux MTB School

    ...Harlan was one of my teachers, and Adam Craig was too.
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  4. #4
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    Hey jongalt26,

    Someone tipped me off to your thread here. I'm grateful to get their endorsement and want to let you know I'm available if you want to work on skills.

    To put it simply, no matter what level of a rider you are, getting skills training from someone with a good eye is incredibly beneficial. There are so many things we do intentionally and unintentionally that can be improved.

    Betterrides has had a lot of success because he uses good technique to teach with. I think it's always good to try a variety of teachers. If you want to start with a methodical process that is a little more personal I can help. I do do clinics as well as one-on-one.
    Check it at TakeAimCycling
    Feel free to message me or email me at harlan@takeaimcycling.com

    Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Thanks a lot Oldman, I was actually searching for a bike coach when I found the clinic. That sounds like a better solution to me.

    Jared, I wish i could have made it out for trail cleanup at trexler yesterday, i hope that went well and you had a good turn-out.
    The Michaux school looks like a fun way to hit the trails out in shippensburg.
    Thanks for the recommendations!

    Harlan,
    I defnitely will be taking you up on your offer. I'll email you to iron out the details.
    Thanks!
    Jason

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    Sounds good to me! Let me know. I find myself up your way on occasion. The Michaux Camp is fun but it's good to show up there with a bag of skills because the place is tech!

  7. #7
    MaverickMotoMedia.com
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    Harlan, are you going to be doing any more skills clinics at Belmont this season?
    Maverick Moto Media Motorcycles, Mountain Biking & Social Media Mgt
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  8. #8
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    Oldman & Jared (and anyone else who see's this thread)
    I just wanted to say thanks a lot for the recommendation again. I had my first lesson this past Friday and Harlan, as you well know, is an excellent coach.
    Should anyone else read this, I highly recommend contacting him.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harlan View Post
    Sounds good to me! Let me know. I find myself up your way on occasion. The Michaux Camp is fun but it's good to show up there with a bag of skills because the place is tech!
    Do you ever get out to the York area?
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  10. #10
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    Do it, by all means. Your confidence will skyrocket, and when that happens - you crash less and this sport becomes 10x funner, sealing your love for it permanently.
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  11. #11
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    To the OP. This book is the next best thing to personal instruction and it's a good idea to read it before going to a skills clinic, since it explains the physics involved in mountain biking.


    Amazon.com: Mastering Mountain Bike Skills - 2nd Edition eBook: Brian Lopes, Lee McCormack: Kindle Store

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigrocks View Post
    This book is the next best thing to personal instruction and it's a good idea to read it before going to a skills clinic, since it explains the physics involved in mountain biking.
    I couldnt agree more, its a great book and have read it at least twice lol.

  13. #13
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    I will be doing some more skills clinics, but I'm pretty booked on the weekends right now. Sorry for the delay!

    And I do come out to the York area on occasion. I have family in Michaux state forest area and I go there quite often. I'll keep you updated on the schedule.

    Harlan

  14. #14
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    I have Lopes' book too. However, I think watching instructional video may be better than reading.
    Here is a resource for a lot of videos:
    Mountain Bike Technique | IMB | Free Mountain Bike Magazine Online

    Also, there is a Fabien Barel video that you can find posted online.

    Still, a clinic, where you are observed, critiqued and instructed will always be the best.

    I think without sound fundamentals, such as positioning on the bike, no amount of experience will make you a (significantly) better rider.

  15. #15
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    Fabiens videos are great, there are a bunch of them on pinkbike.
    MTBtips.com has a lot of good info as well.

    Thanks a lot for the info on IMB. I havent heard of that site until now and think its awesome.

  16. #16
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    The most valuable thing I did 4.5 years ago before I built my first bike and rode was to watch a 15+year old video from Ned Overand... I learned soo much just from that, but know it can't compare to actually doing a clinic in person... I am sure it is every bit worth it for those......

  17. #17
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    Hey, I wanted to let you know that I'm doing two clinics next week at Dickinson College in Carlisle. Friday is a fundamentals class and saturday is for mountain bikers with at least a years experience. You can contact me here for more info but here is a registration site with more info.
    https://dickinson.qualtrics.com/SE/?...CEFnncHWrmGvZP
    Hope to see you out there!

  18. #18
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    Thanks for this thread. Harlan, I'll be in touch once I get my endurance up enough to benefit.

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    Hey Formicaman! Skills stuff isn't about endurance! The skills stuff doesn't require a lot of riding. 95% of the time we don't go on rides. It's all about being in a controlled environment and doing drills. Wouldn't you rather spend those hours practicing new techniques while building your endurance?

    That's a big misconception about working with most skills coaches. I don't take people on a ride (unless they specifically ask for that option) and tell them to keep up. Like all other sports, I have drills and activities that we do to make sure proper form is applied and understood before trying to do them on trails where every turn is a little different. Don't wait till that magic day of fitness. It's fall and winter seasons that are the best to start working with these techniques!

  20. #20
    sr1
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    Harlan, if you ever need any help with your skills clinic let me know...I think its fun helping riders get better...I helped a lot of my motocross , trials and mtb buddies get better on mtb's and they are riding stuff that most riders walk. North Michaux has been my classroom and playground for 20 plus years...Oh yeah we still need to hook up and do some riding...Steve

  21. #21
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    Thanks for the offer Steve. We'll ride eventually. Hope your trials moto went well.

  22. #22
    sr1
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    Thanks...Its a cool trials event its in the mountains around LockHaven Pa...Today is a fun day and tomorrow is my event

  23. #23
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    Kinda late on the draw on this thread, but thought we should chime in. After 15 years of coaching MTB professionally I am so glad to finally see the craft growing and including reputable coaches and clinics like Harlan and Michaux School. Our camps do require a three day commitment for 21 hours of coaching - but that's because we have found that our core skills curriculum works best in that format. We offer a full money back guarantee to any student who attends the camp and does not think it was the best investment they ever made in their riding. Our camps average $668 which comes to less than $33/hour. We strive to keep prices low and are proud to offer the most experienced coaches in the business for a rate that is significantly less than the same number of hours coaching from other reputable coaches in the business.

    Harlan - couldn't agree more about structured skills instead of just riding with people! what's up with clinics where coaches expect students to improve by just riding??
    Skills coaching loved by passionate riders of all levels and trusted by the pros.
    www.betterride.net

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