Tom Durham (TD): We offer a high-level package to improving mountain bikers through a combination of direct coaching, my bit, and in-depth video analysis which is Stefan.
Stefan Morrocco (SM): Riders of all disciplines (XC, DH, Enduro) will spend a day with both of us. We will choose a specific trail and work with riders to improve their line-choice, technique and bike set-up. We ran our first weekend together in early November (2013) with the winners of the Fair City Enduro. This included Joe Barnes who finished in the top 10 of the Enduro World Series. (See video below)
TD: The feedback we have had from the day has been brilliant and we are confident that the package will appeal to riders who are keen to learn more about their performance and how to ride their bike faster.
SM: I have been filming mountain biking, particularly downhill events, for over 10 years and I have always had an interest in sports science, particularly using video technology to improve performance. When I first heard of ‘Dartfish’ technology (the software used to create the ‘ghost’ riders) I was blown away by its potential for mountain biking.
I have tested it several times with Scottish riders and teams and the feedback has been tremendous. The word is spreading too as this year (2013), I went to Leogang with the Dirt Norco team to help them prepare for the final round of the World Cup. They found the technology invaluable in preparing riders, helping them to assess the quickest line choices and bike set-ups to maximise their chances of success at the event.
TD: My background is actually in coaching sailing however I have been a keen mountain biker all my life and I found the principals of coaching – good communication skills, ability to break down a skill and analysing performance could be easily transferred to mountain biking. I have now been coaching mountain biking for over 7 years.
The background to the collaboration with Stefan is tied into my role as chair of the Scottish Mountain Bike Consortium (SMBC). The SMBC is a business development group which was set up through a Scottish Enterprise Planning to Succeed project to support businesses to collaborate and feed into the Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS) Tayside & Fife Cluster.
Stefan approached me to join the group as he felt his media, film and consultancy skills would be a great fit to our existing membership which includes an event organiser (Muckmedden), bike shops (Progression Bikes & Comrie Croft Bikes), coaching (myself, Progression Bikes), Trail Design and construction (myself), Graphic design and print (AMX Creative) and landowners (Comrie Croft & Parkhill Farms).
This group allows collaboration and support for each other has led to all our businesses growing and developing.
When I met with Stefan he explained the video analysis to me and we discussed its potential. We identified a gap in the service which was for me to utilise my coaching skills and identify a single variable which a rider could change which would make the biggest difference to their performance. This might be their technique, their line choice or their bike set-up. For example when we were working with Joe Barnes I didn’t need to coach him on how to corner but I could help him analyse line choice to ensure his corner exit speed was high, he’s also keen to discover when to drift into or out of a corner and when not to.
The biggest impact this has on coaching is that you get direct feedback on whether your advice is correct and the rider has improved their performance. The videos don’t lie!
TD: We expect that the most likely market for the service will be those who are currently entering mountain bike events and wish to improve their performance.
SM: However it could be used by anyone who just wishes to ride their bike quicker, smoother and faster.
TD: We believe that riders are happy to spend money on bike parts; however are they set-up to maximise their performance? Does their cornering and line choice actually make them fast, or does it just feel fast? We can objectively answer these questions for riders.Back
SM: The video-analysis works by getting the rider to session the same trail feature repeatedly. We can then use new technology to accurately ‘overlap’ each ride, with a ghost of previous rides, on the same screen. We can then visually demonstrate and accurately calculate the most optimum line-choice or technique, or even, the suspension set up which provides the quickest line or optimum performance.
TD: There are often many variables which affect a riders performance through a terrain feature however the combination we offer of direct coaching feedback - followed by definitive statistical analysis takes the subjective ‘feel’ of what works and replaces that with a true representation of what is the best way to approach sections of trail.
SM: It is also just a great day out mountain biking. We start by doing a few warm-up laps, then working with the riders we choose a section of trail to analyse. We then ‘session’ the section with riders usually averaging around 4 filmed runs on each section with Tom providing feedback and adjusting a variable each time.
We then repeat this on another section of trail. On average we would get about 4 sections of trail filmed in one day.
In the afternoon I slip off and leave Tom and the riders to continue to ride the trail or take their learning onto a different trail. I then edit the footage together for each rider comparing and contrasting their performance on the 4 different sections.
TD: When we ran this with the winners of the ‘Fair City Enduro’ (a race ran by SMBC member Aaron ‘Muckmedden’ Gray) we used another SMBC member Progression Bikes to provide uplift. This meant we had a great day of concentrated enduro riding, however it does add to the cost of the package.
SM: Once they have had their fun we reconvene, get changed and sit down to provide detailed analysis over some food and refreshments. We found this informal setting was really helpful for riders and cemented their learnings from the day. If riders wish we can then prepare a DVD, for an additional fee, for them to analyse again at home.
SM: The cost for a day package is £100 per rider for a group of 6. We have some ‘open’ courses running at Dunkeld and Comrie Croft on 23rd November 2013 & 7th December respectively. However we can easily travel to your local or preferred trails and create a bespoke package for groups of riders or a club.
TD: We are really flexible in how we run this course and can travel to most places within Scotland or further afield if necessary!
To book onto the existing ‘open’ courses please visit my website – www.collectivetraining.comBack
SM: I am working on the technology side of things where we can provide ‘live’ feedback to riders using a laptop. This means we can give near instantaneous feedback on a riders speed and performance.
TD: We are really excited by this – riders at the moment sometimes think a section ‘feels’ faster because they have ridden it ‘looser’ when in fact keeping it smooth and in control may actually be quicker. We can visually and factually demonstrate this on the trail.
This turns a subjective ‘feel’ for the trail into an actual ‘faster’ techniques, line choices and bike set-ups to ride.
SM: The live feedback should be ready by our first open day at Dunkeld on 23rd November.
SM: MS-Mondraker have signed me up to do a full season of sports video analysis for them - so it's now officially a world cup level service!!
TD: We are also working on developing other exciting packages through our business group so keep your eyes open for some more innovative and good ideas from the SMBC.
SM: We will keep innovating and looking to improve our service as that is very much part of both our business ethos.
TD: That said it is a great product already and if people are keen on riding faster then we look forward to seeing them.
SM: I will also be working with the Scottish Cycling XC and DH teams over the next year and working with this level of elite rider will help learn and we will be able to pass this onto our other customers.Back
This project isn’t limited to just competitive riders, if you are serious about properly improving your riding, or getting your bike set up perfect, then get in touch!Back