Skills Clinics Coming Up

There are three skills clinics coming up. You can contact me directly or through the MeetUp site.

January 12th: Two sessions: Beginner-Intermediate Log Hopping: There are still spots left. 12-2pm and 2:30-4:30pm

January 19th: Cornering I: 12:00-2:00: Philadelphia: This will be the fundamentals of cornering. 

Corners come at you in many different ways. This session will start with the fundamentals of a balanced body position, corner initiating, and slow speed exercises. We'll work up to moderate speed corners by the end of the session.
Cornering is a constantly challenging skill. No matter how good you get, it always feels like there is room for improvement. The best thing you can do is get the foundation established and build on good technique for years to come.
We'll cover:
  • Tight Twisty turns
  • Slow direction changes
  • Ratcheting
  • Switchbacks
  • Front and wheel rear tracking
We will meet at the Belmont Plateau and work in the fields with some trail riding if it is not too wet. This session will be two hours and is limited to 8 riders. The price will be $30 a person.

January 19th: Log Hopping II: Intermediate: 2:30-4:30 We'll cover up and downhill logs, and step-ups with a pedal kick. In Philadelphia. Clinic size is limited to 7 riders $30

Welcome to another TakeAim Cycling Skills clinic on log hopping. This will be good for riders who took last weeks log hopping session or intermediate riders looking for the next step in getting up and over things.
This session will review initiating the front wheel lift through pressure control and move on to the front wheel lift through a modified wheelie/ pedal kick.
Once people start to understand getting over a log on a flat ground the need to move towards getting over logs on uphills and downhills is the next situation we often encounter on the trails.
Do any of these things happen to you when trying to get over logs? You jam your front wheel. Go over the bars. Slam your chainrings or rear wheel. Make it over a log but are no longer in control of the direction you want to be going. Come out and we'll work on the proper techniques that will make your log traveling smoother and more controlled!
Bonus benefits! The skills you learn from good log hopping techniques will translate to other areas of your riding experience! Skip along root sections and controlled technical climbing are just two of them!
We will meet at the Belmont Plateau and work in the fields with some trail riding if it is not too wet. This session will be two hours and is limited to 7 riders. The price will be $30 a person.


Are you a lead weight.....

....... being dragged along by a bike?

     One of the most magical experiences we should all hope to achieve is that sense of floating on our bike over rough surfaces, especially when pedaling! Think riding cobbles at the Paris Roubaix. This past weekend I had that moment on a long winding cross ride that involved abandoned unused railroad tracks and other chunky terrain.

You might think that railroad tracks, washboard roads and cobbled streets are the worst thing you can imagine spending any amount of time on and you're probably right.

Growing up on a dirt road I remember how over time breaking bumps would form and I discovered that driving over them at different speeds produced unexpected results. At slow speeds it felt like your car was going to be knocked to it's breaking point while at higher speeds it seemed as if the car was floating over some mild rumble strips.

How do you make the bike float over these annoying surfaces that threaten to shake out your fillings? This refers to riding long flat sections where you have to pedal to keep going.

1. Stay loose. Keep your hinges active. Ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists. Sit in your suspension.
2. Stay off the brakes. Use only light skimming to slow down.
3. Look ahead, eyes forward.
4. Keep the front wheel light.*
5. *Let the bars float around in a loose half grip. No tight grips. Allow the upper body to relax.
6. Use a bigger gear. This is not a time to spin 120 cadence. Walk on the pedals. Like taking two steps at a time. Keep your weight in your feet.**
7. **Sit on the seat, but keep the butt ready to float by transferring weight to your pedals.
8. Keep your momentum up and find the rhythm that allows you to float on top and not sink into the square edges.

Here is a great slow motion video of the famous cobbles of Paris Roubaix.
Notice how the arm muscles are loose and flapping. If these guys had a death grip their forearms would be rock solid.
Look at the hands and see if they show signs of being relaxed or are transmitting tension? At 1:12 you can see how relaxed the index fingers of the rider. How many other body clues can you see?

More cool research:


Remember to get out there and get loose!


North Florida Winter Training camp!

This is the first TakeAim Cycling Training camp. Come to the land of my winter training.
Register here.

Escape the winter slush and head to North Florida with TakeAim Cycling for a three or four day block of mountain biking to kick off your 2013 season.

Included in Camp Package:
  1. Three or four days of riding. 2-4hrs each ride with guide and instructor Harlan Price. Ride any of the days Thursday-Sunday. You might use Thursday or Sunday as a travel day.
  2. Three nights lodging in a group house. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; http://www.floridastateparks.org/stephenfoster/cabinsandlodge.cfm
  3. Meals; Thursday (Dinner), Friday/ Saturday (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner), Sunday (Breakfast, Lunch). We will ask for dietary restrictions and every meal will emphasize healthy choices for endurance athletes.
  4. Two sessions of Recovery Yoga for Athletes at Suwannee River Yoga; http://www.suwanneeriveryoga.com/
  5. Skills sessions Friday and Saturday Morning with video analysis.
  6. Evening discussions on various topics related to racing, riding and trail performance.

Goals of the Camp
  1. Provide excellent winter base miles in a learning environment free of distractions.
  2. Improve skills on the trails.
  3. Teach recovery techniques for maximizing multi-day riding efforts to benefit stage races, training blocks, or your next ambitious mountain biking trip.
  4. Practice breathing techniques for a better riding experience.  


Why Florida for Mountain Biking?

You might question the idea of mountain biking in Florida, but the lack of elevation means you can work on steady aerobic output while honing mountain bike skills. That style of trail will help you to become a smoother, more efficient rider in any singletrack. Traditional training convention emphasises the importance of riding on the road to meet targeted training zones and to avoid the inconsistency of mountain biking’s terrain that forces you to spike your effort levels.

The unique hand built trails of White Springs kiss the banks of the Suwannee River and wind through the Pine and Oak tree forests draped in the spanish moss of North Florida. The trail surface is a combination of pine needles and oak leaves on top of white river sand. It’s not a sandbox! You won’t be slogging through deep loose sand. Instead you’ll be honing your cornering techniques as you learn body position, braking skills, and the act of being comfortable with choosing lines while letting the wheels slide around underneath you.

The trails are a series of singletrack loops connected by dualtrack, pavement, fireroad and dirt roads. If a rider is lagging behind, it will be easy to allow riders to split up and come back to those on a different pace. We will maximize the trails that are in the area and there will be times when we ride the same trails repeatedly to master a section or a skill. The emphasis will be to stay on the pedals and find a comfortable endurance pace.
We will be staying at the Stephen Foster Folk Center and State Park, located in White Springs Florida. There is one stop light in White Springs which embodies the ideal of a sleepy southern town. Resting on the banks of the Suwannee River this quite village used to be a bustling tourist destination at the turn of the century. Five large hotels hosted the guests who were searching for the healing waters of the natural springs that bubble up from the Florida Aquifer. Besides mountain biking, Hamilton County offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, canoeing, and spring hopping. 

View Larger Map 

What Skill level can show up to the camp?

Ideally the best candidates for this camp would be a group of riders who know each other and have similar skill levels. Otherwise this camp will be best for Cat 1 (expert) or good Cat 2 (Sport) riders. These rides are going to be steady not fast, but a rider needs to be in good physical shape to ride four hours non-stop.  Of course we will pause for mechanicals, emergencies, eating, and taking in a view or two. The entry is capped at five to keep the skill variance to a minimum. No rider will be left behind. If someone chooses to go back early or there is an emergency there will be maps and an emergency action plan. At no time will we be so far away from home base that it will be difficult to get home.


The Cabins at the Stephen Foster Folk Center and State Park are more like full houses with all the amenities one could ask for. The maximum number of guests in each cabin is set at 6 by the park. I have limited the camp to five so we will be under capacity but space will still be cozy. There are two bedrooms. One has a queen bed and the other has bunk beds. The living room has two fold out couches that are very comfortable. Whoever gets the couches will get a $50 discount on their camp fee. If you need to have a single bed and you want to reserve it there will be an option to pay an extra $50.

The Cabin has a beautiful wrap around porch, has an outside, as well as indoor shower, and is within the park. Read more about it here. 

Recovery Yoga for Athletes
For two evenings we will be going just down the street to the Suwannee River Yoga studios to practice a style of yoga developed to enhance recovery from exercise while improving performance on the bike. TakeAim Cycling has been working to create a yoga practice that will help athletes in three different ways.
  1. Promote quicker recovery through relaxation techniques.
  2. Increase breathing awareness to benefit athletes trying to stay calm and efficient while at hard efforts on the bike.
  3. Increase body awareness to isolate and eliminate tension on the bike. 

Thursday: A travel day with an optional ride.
  • 1:00pm:         Pickup from Jacksonville airport. (Roundtrip pickup has an additional $75 fee)
  • 2:30-4:30pm: Introductions and ride for 2 hours
  • 7:00pm:         Dinner and discussion

  • 8am Breakfast
  • 9:30-11:30am:         Skills Clinic
  • 12pm:                      Lunch
  • 1-5pm:                 Ride!
  • 5-6:30pm:                Relax and eat
  • 6:30-7:45pm:           Recovery Yoga
  • Evening: Eat more, discussions about racing and riding.

  • 8am Breakfast
  • 9:30-11:30am:   Skills Clinic
  • 11:30am:            Lunch
  • 12-3:30pm:         Ride!
  • 4-5pm:                Relax, recovery drink, snacking
  • 5-6:15pm:           Recovery Yoga
  • 7:30pm               Dinner
  • Evening: Eat more, discussions about racing and riding.

Sunday: A travel day with an optional ride.
  • 7am:                Breakfast
  • 8-10am: Ride
  • 11am:              Checkout: There will be time to shower and clean up.
  • 12pm: Leave for airport: Arrival time at Airport should be 1:30

$375 a person
$1500 if you reserve the whole camp for your group.

Airport Pickup/Dropoff: $75 additional fee for roundtrip.

Pick up from Jacksonville Airport on Thursday: 1pm
Return to airport on Sunday: 1:30pm
We would prefer that you find your own way to and from the training camp but if you are coming from far enough away to warrant a flight we will be making one trip to the Jacksonville airport on Thursday and one on Sunday. We will be able to pick up and drop off an unlimited number of riders. Depending on when you arrive you might be sitting at the airport for a brief amount of time. Schedule accordingly. If the situation arises, we can alter the pickup to be earlier and the drop off to be later.

About Harlan Price

I am a North Florida native who began racing mountain bikes professionally after graduating from the University of Florida and moving to Pennsylvania. Specializing primarily in endurance racing I would often return to my warm southern roots for winter training and racing. I've always emphasized a deliberate training plan to get to the highest levels of the racing ranks. Highlights of my career included two endurance national championship titles and a spot on Team USA at the 2009 Marathon World Championships. I've always loved racing 100 milers and stage races but in recent years I have been exploring the world of Enduro racing. I've written for Dirt Rag Magazine, Bicycling and Bike Mag. Since 2006 I've been working with athletes through training camps, training plans, and skills clinics. Currently I concentrate solely on camps and skills training. I love giving people tools that get stronger the more they use them. Understanding good training techniques, and the foundations of mountain bike skills will benefit riders for years to come.  Learn more about me and my company TakeAim Cycling.