Course goals and core components

  • Increasing communication skills

  • Learning to teach to 3 common learning modalities – visual, kinesthetic, and auditory

  • Learning skills necessary to assess a rider's strengths and weaknesses

  • Drills setup and creation – teach anywhere!

  • Improving instructor riding technique for use in demonstration

  • Understanding how basic principles of movement affect and compliment advanced techniques

  • Class methodology – how to create an effective class

Instructor Trainee Expectations

  • Show up on time with homework complete and bike ready to ride

  • All attendees are required to be at all training sessions in order to graduate – no exceptions

  • Watch all three Fluidride feature-length films – show up with homework for initial class completed – and be ready for testing (DVDs supplied)

  • Readiness to demonstrate teaching techniques to the best of ability

FIT Methodology

  • Spotting rider flaws

  • Detailed breakdown of techniques covered

  • On-trail instruction – how to create effective drill techniques

  • On-trail teaching opportunities for all instructors in training

  • Feedback after each instructional opportunity

  • Biomechanics of human movement as it pertains to technical riding

Skills sets/techniques covered – FIT Level 1

  • Using voice to create positive reinforcement as riders progress

  • Showing riders their unique strengths and weaknesses as a rider, both via demonstration and by use of video when applicable

  • Learning to create a sense of shared goals within a group.

  • Learning to teach the language of three major learning modalities

  • Body Position(s): Throne position, climbing position, sprinting position – drills for each – includes basic foot position over pedals

  • Footwork and how it pertains to all areas of riding

  • Spotting rider biases during drills

  • Flatland Turns – for use in initial assessment of rider biases – to teach proper form

  • Bermed Turns – understanding lean relative to the ground – timing of turns

  • Switchback Turns – introduction to double footwork

  • Moving through undulating terrain

  • Moving into steep descents

  • Climbing technical terrain

  • Climbing switchback turns

  • Drops: Three types. Correct Basic Form – Preloading – The Lunge

Skills Taught – FIT Level 1 – High Level Breakdown

Body Position(s): Throne position, climbing position, sprinting position – drills for each

Body position can be broken down into three main categories:

  • Throne Position – The term Throne Position was coined by Simon Lawton and is based off the top descenders’ position when riding. Throne position stacks the body up over the bike in a way that allows compression to move into both ends of the suspension or both tires when descending or interfacing with terrain. Throne position also balances the rider over the bottom bracket in a way that allows the rider to gain access to the rotating portions of the bicycle. Throne position is used when descending and standing – not used when seated climbing.

  • Throne Position drills are a great way to add to a rider's foundational base and also give instructors a glimpse into rider biases.

  • Climbing Position – Climbing Position puts the rider in a seated position where traction can be maintained through use of the body to weight the tire that needs weighting. Climbing position also puts the rider in a position to put out power when seated.

  • Sprinting Position – Similar to Climbing Position but used only when standing. This puts riders in a good place to create power when standing.

Emphasis in moving from Climbing and Sprinting Positions to Throne Position and in being able to spot rider biases during drills

Homework – Sample Questions:

  • How does spinal posture differ in Throne Position as compared to climbing and sprinting posture?

  • Why is it important to have a straight (but not necessarily upright) spine while descending?

Footwork is essentially the use of the rotating portions of the bicycle to optimize rider performance. The main elements are the ability to control the feet in relation to both the bottom bracket, and the pedal spindles. We refer to footwork when riders are in a non-pedaling position on the bike.

  • Footwork as it pertains to the bottom bracket is really about controlling the feet in an optimal way in order to engage with the terrain being ridden. Footwork is all about controlling foot movement when descending or cornering.

  • Footwork as it pertains to the bottom bracket is perhaps the single easiest way to spot rider biases during cornering drills.

  • Footwork as it pertains to the feet themselves is taught by creating an understanding of the power of the control over the pedal spindles. Loss of control over the pedal spindles can cause sub optimal riding outcome. The two most common pedal spindle biases come from an overly active Achilles tendon or conversely, from standing too far toward the toe of one or both feet. Balance – and being able to move in either direction with the heel – or toe – is the goal.

Associated Concepts

  • Control over bottom bracket rotation

  • Control over pedal spindles

  • Phenomenon of lateral acceleration

Sample Section Questions for Homework – Footwork:

  • What is footwork?

  • How might an imbalance in footwork find its way into aspects of riding? Discuss three ways.

Spotting Rider Biases during Drills

Rider biases can be spotted while following riders, or while doing drills. The two easiest places to spot biases are while doing body position drills and flatland or bermed turn drills. Learning to spot and fix a rider bias is the fastest way to improving rider ability. Helping fix a bias will not only help the rider with the skill being taught, but will also find its way into helping everything the rider does on the bike. In this class, we’ll focus on spotting biases during drills. This is the safest way to teach other riders and allows instructors to teach riders effectively, regardless of the ability of the rider. An effective instructor will be able to make significant improvements, even in riders who are more advanced than they are.

Homework Sample Question

  • What is the most typical rider bias? Discuss how to spot and way to correct this bias.

Flatland Turns

Flatland turns are perhaps the best way to spot biases. We’ll learn the ins and outs of Flatland Turns, and how to use a “One-Footed Drill” to create kinesthetic awareness while turning in both directions. We’ll also work on understanding the concept of front-foot and back-foot turns in this section. Bike lean relative to the rider will be discussed, and we’ll introduce the slalom drill and discuss how this drill can create an internal sense of flow on the bike. Flow can be taught!

Homework Sample Questions:

  • What are the two main benefits of adjusting rider form using a one-footed turn?

  • Should riders maintain a '6 and 12' position or '3 and 9' position when cornering?

  • If a rider is too far back on the bike, or is dropping the heel too much when cornering, how might we help them with this?

Bermed Turns
Instructors will learn to help riders rail supported turns in order to create control and lateral acceleration. Teach a rider to ‘snap’ a bermed turn, and you have a friend for life! We’ll discuss timing, footwork and angle of lean relative to turns.

Homework Sample Questions:

  • How does bike lean relative to the body in bermed turns differ from lean in flatland turns?

  • What is the phenomenon called that allows us to create speed from turns?

  • How is the bicycle uniquely suited for cornering? (Hint: Why is it faster down a trail than a motorcycle?)

Switchback Turns – Introduction to double footwork

Once we’ve created a comprehensive understanding for effective footwork, we’ll go into the use of double footwork and discuss concepts related to effective wheel paths for switchback turns and how they differ from wheel paths with traditional single footwork.

Homework Sample Questions:

  • Why do we create a pre-turn before a switchback turn?

  • How is our pre-turn affected when the switchback is very tight?

Moving through undulating terrain

In this section, we’ll work on correct position while rolling through terrain and how this basic drill pertains to rough terrain and quick, steep descents. This is another great place to see rider biases come to life – especially as it pertains to riders who ride too far back on the bike, or lean too heavily on one foot.

Moving into quick, steep descents

While we are on the topic, we’ll work on teaching riders to roll steep descents safely.

Homework Sample Questions:

  • How does being too far back on the bike actually put the rider too far forward and out of balance on real terrain?

  • How does this apply to quick, steep descents?

  • Why is the mantra ‘get your butt back for a steep descent’ oversimplified?

Climbing technical terrain
Proper position, as well as the concept of surging, will be taught. Learn the most effective ways to get over tough obstacles and up climbs.

Homework Sample Questions:

  • What is surging?

  • What is the relationship of outright speed to acceleration in clearing obstacles?

  • Why does enhanced foot speed allow us to clear sections we might not otherwise make?

Climbing switchback turns
We’ll tackle the ins and outs of steep switchback climbs in short order – this is a really fun technique to teach, as most riders pick it up right away.

Homework Sample Question:

  • Describe how to approach switchback turns when climbing.

Drops: Three types. Correct Basic Form – Preloading – The Lunge

Correct Basic Form is the best way to tackle most drops. Once riders learn to use Correct Basic Form, drops become quite simple in general. Preloading is a technique for instances where we need to create distance off a drop. Lunging can be used in instances where trail speed is very low, and allows the rider to Lunge Roll drops which might not otherwise be roll-able.

Homework Sample Questions – Drops:

  • Why don’t we just pull up to go off a drop?

  • Why could it be said that Preloading is like turning a drop into a jump?

  • What are the advantages of Correct Basic Form in terms of trail speed and ability to ride trails with turns directly following drops?