Overall, the camp exceeded my expectations.

Overall, the camp exceeded my expectations.

I have, like many cyclists, been riding bikes since childhood.  Feeling like I hit a plateau in my technical riding skills (because I had), I began searching for a mountain bike skills camp.  I wanted to attend a camp that would push me to be a better rider, but I needed it to be in a great location on actual trails.  After a fair amount of searching, I decided that spending a weekend at a Ninja Mountain Bike Skills camp would be perfect.  It didn't hurt that the camp was in Big Bear. The condensed review: It took only a few hours of trail riding with Richard and Daniel to drastically change my riding for the better. The long review: The camp was broken into morning and afternoon sessions, separated by an amazing lunch on each day.  The morning sessions were, in general, based on technique and riding isolated technical features.  The afternoon sessions functioned more like a capstone; we rode incredible trails, like Fall Line and Skyline, and put our newly-learned skills into action. Richard and Daniel were attentive to both the class as a whole as well as each individual.  The pacing of each individual lesson (I'm a teacher, so I viewed each piece as a lesson) was wonderful.  There were constant checks for understanding as well as incremental assessments of our skills on the bike.  We were never once, all weekend, bogged down in repetition, nor were we rushed through a skill or concept.  I was blown away by the sheer volume of skills that were taught in such an easy-to-grasp manner. Of course, we were not standing by our bikes the whole time listening to a lecture: we were actively riding while Daniel and Richard looked on with critical eyes.  Richard was clear in his introduction that the coaching would be critical. It was, but in the best way possible. On a personal level, I truly felt that every aspect of my riding was under constant observation.  My struggles on steeper features and transitions, a definite area of weakness, led to a small get-off.  Richard and Daniel, after ensuring that I was okay, quickly and accurately pointed out issues in my body positioning.  Voila!  Never would I have been able to assess that on my own.  For the rest of the weekend, I felt like my control and balance when riding steeper features was noticeably greater, to say nothing of my confidence. At one point, Daniel pulled me aside and gave me a pep-talk about my mental mindset (I botched a section of trail and proceeded to berate myself).  Daniel set me straight and, sure enough, I cleaned the remaining technical features during our session.  I also re-learned a valuable lesson about positive self-talk.  As a rider, it means a lot to have constant and specific feedback.  Even though I fancy myself a decently-sort-of-okay Category 2 XC racer, I was forced to examine all of my fundamentals, both physical and mental.  That's how you teach. Richard and Daniel continued to be attentive during our afternoon sessions and walked us through how they would approach the technical features that we encountered when riding trails in their entirety.  Daniel and Richard provided smooth, clear demos on the trail features for us to try and replicate.  Being able to watch them was incredible learning opportunity, not to mention the conversations between the coaches and the riders before, during, and after each feature.  Cheers to Daniel who, with the full-attention of his students, had to demo sections of trail even though it was his first time riding it too.  With the pressure on, he came through and gave us a great model to follow. Overall, the camp exceeded my expectations.  I trail features that I can honestly say I never would've ridden by myself or with a group of friends.  I met fantastic people.  I laughed a lot.  I learned a lot.  Best of all, I got to do all of this while on my bike in Big Bear.  In terms of technical riding skills, I improved more in two days than I have in the past two years of riding.  Richard has put together and incredible mountain bike curriculum that is both challenging, yet accessible.  His positive presence over the weekend, as well as his commitment to scouting trials and ensuring organizational success, cannot be overlooked. Richard and Daniel provided expert instruction and effective coaching cues that allowed me to understand what I needed to do ride better, faster, and smoother.    I can't wait to attend another camp. ~Matthew S.
Ninja Mountain Bike Performance
5
2017-06-05T14:40:55-07:00
I have, like many cyclists, been riding bikes since childhood.  Feeling like I hit a plateau in my technical riding skills (because I had), I began searching for a mountain bike skills camp.  I wanted to attend a camp that would push me to be a better rider, but I needed it to be in a great location on actual trails.  After a fair amount of searching, I decided that spending a weekend at a Ninja Mountain Bike Skills camp would be perfect.  It didn't hurt that the camp was in Big Bear. The condensed review: It took only a few hours of trail riding with Richard and Daniel to drastically change my riding for the better. The long review: The camp was broken into morning and afternoon sessions, separated by an amazing lunch on each day.  The morning sessions were, in general, based on technique and riding isolated technical features.  The afternoon sessions functioned more like a capstone; we rode incredible trails, like Fall Line and Skyline, and put our newly-learned skills into action. Richard and Daniel were attentive to both the class as a whole as well as each individual.  The pacing of each individual lesson (I'm a teacher, so I viewed each piece as a lesson) was wonderful.  There were constant checks for understanding as well as incremental assessments of our skills on the bike.  We were never once, all weekend, bogged down in repetition, nor were we rushed through a skill or concept.  I was blown away by the sheer volume of skills that were taught in such an easy-to-grasp manner. Of course, we were not standing by our bikes the whole time listening to a lecture: we were actively riding while Daniel and Richard looked on with critical eyes.  Richard was clear in his introduction...
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About Richard / NINJA

Richard La China is a former professional mountain bike racer, IMBA Certified Mountain Bike Skills Instructor who coaches beginner to pro cyclist. Currently working with mountain bike XC, Endurance and Enduro racers and other competitive and non-competitive mountain bike riders seeking to become their best.

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