From Tears to Smiles

I took my 9 year old little brother mountain biking today. He’s ridden several times and has pretty decent confidence. He’s also participated in my mountain bike kids camp and so he has a good grasp on the fundamental skills.

It was interesting to watch him ride.

Comfortable on somethings that surprised me, scared of what I wasn’t expected. A big rock with a small drop at the end? No problem.

A nice, flowy berm? Scary. Really scary.

He told me on the way up that he wanted to work on big steep berms. Especially after the recent race at Sundance, where he struggled through the flow trail, loosing a lot of time and several spots. And as a competitive kid, that’s not something he likes.

We started with one of the new flow trails at Lambert Park. First he filmed me doing a couple of doubles and unfortunately missed the shot, but it was fun messing around. Then we both made the descent. I followed him down and it was interesting to watch him struggle through the banked turns as he rode too slow to be able to ride the whole berm, and to be able to lean into it. This made it sketchy.

He still made it down fairly smoothly though. At the bottom I suggested we go practice a couple of those berms a few times so he could dial them in. He then started to break down and wasn’t excited to try it again. I told him we didn’t have to so we went and rode some more mellow trails.

After about an hour and half of riding he was feeling more confident so we went back to the trail we started on.

This time I went in front and ripped to the bottom where I waited for him. I was surprised at how quickly he came down the trail, and super stoked when I saw a huge smile on his face. He told me that he rode the berms more quickly and that he LOVED it!

I couldn’t help but think about the change that had occurred over the ride. From the verge of tears to ecstatic joy!

What changed?

A little bit of speed.

A little bit of confidence.

Now he wants to ride more berms.

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