July 13, 2018
by Alison Powers ALP Cycles Coaching
When I was 14 years old, I started mountain bike racing. With very little fear, and no sense of self preservation, I crashed - a lot. I loved to ride my bike, loved to get my legs burning and heart pumping, and I was a little bit competitive. But, I had absolutely no skills. Eventually the speed, the trail, rocks, or water crossings would catch up to me and I'd fall off my bike. Being a teenager, crashing didn't seem to faze me. I'd huck ledges (broken tail bone), bomb descents without brakes (punctured abdomen), and push the speed at which I would start to be afraid (broken ribs).
Despite racing bikes, and getting some descent results, I had very little skills training and, other than go hard and go fast, I really didn't have any idea what I was supposed to do on my bike. I never thought about body position or weight distribution. I knew I needed to look ahead, but I didn't really understand what that entailed. I assumed descending on a bike was the same as on skis-wrong (different weight distribution). My crash to ride ratio was at least 1:1 if not 2:2.
Fast forward into my early 30's. Fear and self preservation have entered my mind and I no longer enjoy mountain biking.I'm afraid to crash. I'm afraid to get hurt. Every time I rode my mountain bike. I'd come to a technical section, lose my confidence, get afraid, have to dismount and walk, and then get frustrated at myself for not being braver, better, etc. It was not an enjoyable experience.
I finally decided it was time to do something about my lack of skills. Plus, if I had aspirations to properly coach mountain bike riders and racers, then I'd better be able to walk the walk. In came skills practice. I asked friends who were coaches to help me, I took skills clinics, I practiced on my own, built my own skills props, and diligently learned, practiced, and executed basic mountain bike skills.The ones that helped me most, and that I, in return teach are - body position, attack position, weight distribution, vision (how to look ahead), and cornering.
Now, nearly 40, I am a better rider than I have ever been, and I have the most fun I've ever had on a mountain bike. My crash to ride ratio has improved immensely. I won't be winning any enduros (I think I'm actually getting slower as my sense of self preservation gets a stronger hold on me), or hucking big air, but when it comes to riding new trails or old ones with hard sections, I look forward to the technical aspects. I like the challenge and enjoy testing my skills.
Good skills and knowledge lead to confidence. Confidence leads to enjoyment.
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ABOUT ALISON POWERS
Alison Powers only recently retired from cycling, finishing her final season on the UnitedHealthcare Women’s Team. Her career has spanned a wide array of wins, including the 2013 USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship where she won in memorable fashion by soloing after an early breakaway that obliterated the pro women’s peloton. Other standout results during the 33-year-old’s 2013 season include the win at Redlands Bicycle Classic, second at the Tour of Elk Grove, third at the US National Road Championship and the US National Time Trial Championship, and stage wins at Cascade Classic, Tulsa Tough, Tour of the Gila and Redlands Bicycle Classic. Hailing from Fraser, Colorado, Powers has been racing bikes professionally for eight years and is a true athlete with her career beginning as a teenager in mountain bike racing. In her mid 20s, she added in alpine ski racing before switching over to the road. In addition to being the current Criterium National Champion, Powers has two other national championships (Time Trial, Team Pursuit) and 2 NRC titles (2009, 2013).
About ALP Cycles Coaching
ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that we have 4 coaches, Alison Powers, Shawn Heidgen, Jennifer Triplett, and Patricia Schwager who each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person. Visit them online at http://alpcyclescoach
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Pactimo is a Colorado company known for quality, reliability and unsurpassed customer service. Since 2003, we’ve shipped nearly 2 million garments to Olympians, national champions, teams, clubs and individual cyclists around the globe. We hope you feel the inspiration of Colorado and our passion for cycling in everything we do.
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