The iconic words of AC/DC ring true once again… “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You!” It’s on, you’ve got a date with destiny and it’s time to ride. But before you saddle up, you should develop your pre-ride routine to set the stage for your next great trail experience. Here are a few tips for getting your mind, body, and machine ready before you hit the trails!
1. Know Before You Go
Check the weather and have the right gear at the ready. If there’s a chance of rain or wind, you’ll be thankful you brought a jacket when the weather rolls in. If it’s going to be hot, some extra electrolytes will help you finish strong. If you’re riding a new trail, gather some beta from seasoned friends or a mountain bike trail app (we like Trailforks app and MTB Project) to wrap your head around what to expect on your ride.
2. Get That Mind Right
Take a few moments to think about what you’re looking forward to the most and visualize the ride delivering. But beware: disappointment happens when your expectations and reality don’t line up, so do yourself a favor and get them in harmony. Think about the skill level of your riding partner or group. Consider the trails and their current conditions. Take a minute to analyze your current state of mind & body. Then, set realistic goals for a killer ride with those ingredients.
3. Fuel It Up
Bonking sucks. That dreaded feeling when your energy level hits a wall, everything becomes way harder than it should, and it results in anything but fun. You can avoid this by getting some quality calories beforehand so you don’t rely entirely on those gels and bars. Also, drink plenty of water before your ride so you don’t blow through your supply in the first few miles.
4. Warm It Up
Do your body another huge favor and take a few minutes to stretch and warm up. Imagine enjoying the first mile of a ride instead of spending it stiffly working through kinks and wondering why you feel so out of shape. Try a sequence of lunges, forward bends, twists, and lean on your buddy for some quad stretches. Give the shoulders, arms, and hands a good stretch, and roll your head nice and slow to get the neck loosened up! Not only does this help you enjoy the beginning of the ride as much as the end, but it can help prevent injury (ain’t nobody got time for those).
5. Get it Right, Get it Tight
Mechanical issues are way easier to fix at the trailhead than on the trail. Give the bike a good wiggle and squeeze: start with the brakes, check the headset, squeeze the tires, make sure your dropper works, check the drivetrain, and see to it that your suspension is moving and there’s no strange sounds! (Psst.. here’s a full rundown of a bike check.) Take inventory and make sure you have all your spares, tools, snacks, and water that you’ll need before you hit the trail.
Get to the ride early. It’s easy to overlook something or skip your stretches if people are waiting for you and you’re in a rush. Once you know everything is good to go, get on your bike and play. Those few minutes before a ride are great for working on skills… try a track stand, then get some momentum and really exaggerate your bike/ body separation. Play games with the parking lot stripes by making a slalom course to practice cornering technique and then trying to turn around inside a parking space (both directions) without hitting the stripe. Got a curb? Practice some wheel lifts and drops. This warmup is a dynamic, fun, and effective way to develop skills and get the blood pumping before you start your ride!
Your body feels nimble, tires are topped off, brakes feel great, and everything is shifting crisp while your circle your friends like a shark. Everything about you is ready to ride thanks to your dialed pre-ride routine… now you get to reap the benefits. Get out there and RIDE!
I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys.
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years...
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years I learned a lot from this clinic. The techniques covered ranged from reviewing basic skills such as basic body position to practicing more advanced techniques like switchbacks, bunny hops, and cornering. I was able to recognize, get instruction, and practice some skills where I was weak and instantly improve them. Even skills I thought I was pretty good at I was able to pick up useful tips. I also realized that deliberate skills practice is not something I incorporate into my riding, but now that I understand what I should be doing I will make sure to add this in! After taking the course my comfort on the bike has improved and I am more aware of my body position and movement of the bike. I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys. The instructors are knowledgeable and easy to work with. There is a lot of one on one help and they will make sure you understand the skills being taught and are able to perform them successfully. Plus the clinic was lots of fun! I highly recommend and hope to work with these guys again soon. ~ Michelle A.
The course was very fluid, engaging, and I would highly recommend it.
I took the intermediate/advanced course in Balboa Park after having ridden for just over 2 years on my own. It...
I took the intermediate/advanced course in Balboa Park after having ridden for just over 2 years on my own. It covered a wide breadth of skills, some of which I already felt aquatinted with and others I had little to no experience with. I found all of the material useful. I was able to improve skills I already had and was able to learn new skills. I also feel confident leaving the course that the instructors have provided all of the information for me to practice and improve outside of the course setting. The environment of Balboa Park was perfect for learning and sessioning the skills covered. The instructors were friendly, fun, and attentive to all of the participants. They spent more or less time on certain skills based on how the entire group was grasping them. They also gave individualized attention to participants that required more help with technique. The course was very fluid, engaging, and I would highly recommend it. ~Alexandra Rose Brysiewicz
Taken the 3 day Skills Camp out in Mulberry Gap GA. Outstanding weekend. We had a small group of about...
Taken the 3 day Skills Camp out in Mulberry Gap GA. Outstanding weekend. We had a small group of about 8 people with 3 Ninja Pro's. Richard and the instructors were attentive and always helpful. The course had you work on your base fundamentals, advanced skills, along with bike setup,maintenance, nutrition ,This was a very comprehensive course. After learning the skills, we'd hit the trails and the training didn't stop. Instructors would get to a technical portion of a trail and have us all stop and they would show us how to use the skills we just learned. Everyone learned at their own pace. So no one felt pressured to keep up with others. Having fun was always top priority. Arriving back home, I was practicing all the skills i've learned like an excited little kid with a new bike. I hope to take this course again when they come back to this side of the country -- it was well worth it! ~Vic D.
Enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I’ve ever done to improve my speed and ability on the bike.
Hands down, enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I've ever done to improve my speed and ability...
Hands down, enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I've ever done to improve my speed and ability on the bike. I am so much faster on singletrack and through technical sections/jumps that even if people are more fit than me, I still keep up with them (and kind of love watching them do a lot more work than they need to). Richard and Kris are fantastic and break things down in a way that makes sense and is manageable. By the end of my first clinic, I was jumping off ledges and power climbing up sections that I couldn't drive a car up. You could buy a $5,000 carbon bike and do 10,000 ft rides every day, but you will get the best return on any investment you make in your riding by attending a Ninja Skills Clinic. ~ Regina J.
We are a group of passionate, dirt-loving, community oriented, world class mountain bike skills instructors committed to helping you reach your personal riding goals through clinics and camps. We are excited to work with riders of all ability levels and share the joy (STOKE) of mountain biking.