Thursday Night Dirt Jumps by Flyup/LLB Team Rider Emily Beckett
Thursday night dirt jumps!
Over 2017 I feel like my riding has really progressed; particularly my jumping and I've started to feel confident hitting some bigger jumps in races and on the trails. I think this has mostly been down to the time I've been spending learning how to ride the dirt jumps.
Last winter I started out on the indoor barns at 417 Bike Park. To begin with I was too scared to even roll down the ramp and then to not be able to even make it over the first one left me a bit disheartened. But if I'm one thing it's determined, I spent all of last winter week on week practicing mostly just the first two jumps in the barn. Each week feeling like I was only getting centimetres closer, but I didn't really mind. A lovely crew of people started to make Thursday evenings a regular event and I was perfectly happy to have my turn, take some photos, pick up a few tips and mostly importantly meet some new incredible riders who I wouldn’t normally meet on the trails.
Even though I felt my progress in the barn was slow I started to see it paying off when I got on my downhill bike. My timing was improving and my "pop" was definitely getting better!
Summer months arrived and it got warm and dry enough for Thursday evening sessions to move outdoors! I still remember the first evening outdoors and looking at the jumps line which were all gaps and my heart sank, I clearly remember saying "I am never going to be able to ride any of these, what's the point it coming each week." Thankfully Thursday evening crew is full of some of the most positive people around and they all reassured me and gave me all the pointers I needed. Relaxing seems to be a key to riding the dirt jumps well, but when you're scared that's not the easiest. "Rigid and stressed" became the motto to describe my riding and a "rigid and stressed" demo from Ben, showing even if I tensed up I would still make it over the jumps somehow gave me the confidence boost I needed.
As summer went on I was pretty confident with the first three jumps, I stopped being so “rigid and stressed,” and a nice little group of girls started coming down to give the jumps a go too. Number 4 club formed, a group of people all wanting to get over the 4th but a little bit scared. We all managed it on the same evening with lots of woops and high fives, a big highlight of the summer for me.
Team mates and 417 coaches Tom and Luka have given me so many great coaching points over the weeks, but plenty of the other awesome riders have helped me along the way; Steve, Mark, Lewis and Ben in particular, and I'm so grateful for it.
I'm still a massive novice on the dirt jumps and the stunts I see leave me in awe but I'm having a go, and most importantly I'm having the best time.