Team Dirt invited Kat Sweet to come to Alsea Falls and lead two skills clinics for all interested. Kat offered two classes, an all-comer’s on Saturday (October 4) and a women’s only clinic on Sunday. The larger, Saturday, class was assisted by Christy Ott.
The weather was perfect, and the trails were in great shape – having received some rain a few days before the weekend.
After some basic skills and drills in the campground area at the bottom (body position, bike separation, braking), we all shuttled up to the top for a couple more drills (cornering) and then attacked the trails.
On the way down, we stopped at several spots to focus on different aspects of riding. At one early section of tight twisty turns with roots and a drop, we all got off the bike and looked at the line, then watched Kat and one of the guys experienced with the trail system go down. Emboldened with the knowledge of the better line, we all tried it – with Kat giving advice as we rolled through it. No spills at that point.
Shortly after, at a really big, bermed corner, Kat talked about options for this turn and then demonstrated it with Christy. While you could rail the corner (lean with the bike), we were focusing on leaning the bike and not the body. We all then took turns, regrouping at the bottom of Highballer.
While riding down the trail, Kat and Christy would alternate riding behind different people, and having different people follow them. Getting on-the-trail and on-the-fly feedback really helped people make changes to their riding style.
This pattern continued down the rest of the trail on Springboard.
We then had lunch, practiced some drills lifting the front/rear/entire bike, and shuttled up for another run down the trails. The big skill we worked on was jumping, taking a couple runs at a small jump – which was a bit intimidating for a number of us who didn’t regularly ride with flats.
Kat prefers people do her classes riding with flats, because it helps teach good habits (instead of relying on clipless pedals to hold you to the bike). Using flats was definitely a new experience for a number of us (including yours truly), but nobody regretted it.
We finished up the class with a cookie circle – everyone sharing what they’d learned and their favorite part. Many asked Kat when she’d be back to teach again.
From the photos, it looks as though the women’s class on Sunday had as much fun as the class on Saturday.