05 August 2008

Julius Syvanen Mountain Bike Skills Clinics Experience

On Sunday morning I attended Julius Syvanen's Mountain Bike Skills Clinic. In comparison to the BikeSills.Com clinic with Joe Lawwill, Julius' clinic was much more personal but also much more unstructured. Also, the class only had 2 students as compared to the 7 in Joe's clinic which could have been a benefit in a more structured environment.

The unstructured nature of the class made it more a ride with a professional racer along to provide tips and answer questions as opposed to the BikeSills clinic which seemed more like a class. Also, because of the format, Julius provide more specific tips on how to perform certain skills. For example, as I was riding, Julius pointed out what I was doing during cornering that could result in me skidding out. In fact, just the day before I had skidded out on a corner. Once he pointed out my flawed (and long term) execution, and instructed me how to perform it correctly, I immediately improved. It was like night and day for me.

The unfortunate thing was that the other student was in many respects at a different physical and skills level, and so the least common denominator was usually the case. He simply got tired long before I was ready to quit. That's where I started asking questions and trying to improve on the skills I learned from Julius and from the BikeSkills class. Julius never acted like he had a chip on his shoulders. Instead, he answered each of my questions, provided demonstrations and pointed out what I was doing and how to improve, all with the air of a friend who wants to impart his knowledge.

The cost for the clinic was a reasonable $55, although it would have been a greater value had the skill level between myself and the other student been more equal.

I will certainly go back to take another ride with Julius to get more pointers on my riding.