Post Christmas has been crazy:

  • finishing up at Vineyard College
  • Iona visiting from the UK
  • Luke and Kristin ad Alex and Isabelle visiting from the Waikato
  • me having 2 weeks off and doing some household related jobs like tackling an overgrown backyard (with 5 years of rotting undergrowth!)
  • several mountain bike rides (including an epic stack on Livewires)
  • a Wellington anniversary weekend trip to Wanganui to see Nigel
  • starting my new job at the Salvation Army (this is my main focus)

Learning from a pro

My wonderful wife bought me a great book for Christmas: titled “Mastering Mountain Biking Skills” by pro rider Brian Lopes. Its is the all-time best-selling how-to mountain bike book, selling over 60,000 copies in 7 different languages.

It’s not only a fun and informative read but quite technical (I haven’t read any other bikes books that talk about drift, camber, g-forces, turn radius, elevation, lean angles, and downward forces!) but already i have been putting some of the lessons into practice at Makara Peak.

After a near 3 hour ride practicing various things I felt I was riding better than I have been for a while…which is encouraging. Practice makes perfect though and with a couple of weeks off I should be able to get a few more rides in.

If you know anything about MTB, you will know about Brian Lopes . He has had an unprecedented 20 year career as a professional cyclist, labeled by USA Today as “Undisputedly the best all around world class cycling athlete”. He has earned the prestigious title of Mountain Bike World Champion four times, first in 2001, then again in 2002, 2005 and most currently in 2007.  Racing BMX for most of his childhood, Brian learned how to ride a bike at the tender age of 4, turning Pro at the age of 17 and competing in the BMX circuit for 7 years before channeling all his efforts in 1993 to mountain biking. In 2008 he was inducted into the Mountain Bike and BMX Hall of Fame.

Brianan has won over 19 titles in his mountain biking career: 9 National Championship titles, 6 UCI World Cup Championship and 4 World Championships. He has more UCI World Cup career wins than any other male mountain biker in the history of the sport.

If there is any one person worth learning some MTB skills from, its him. If you want to get a glimpse of how good he is, then watch this!

(The section at 3.40-3.50 i can’t even SEE never mind know how to ride it or be brave enough to do it at that speed; sheer brilliance!)