Ok! Friday has been and gone so now i'm in the "done a skills course camp"
Damm good fun for a start! If you like riding your bike then you're gonna have fun whatever you learn or fail to learn. Tony certainly has an intuitive eye for picking up both on peoples faults, but also on how to correct them. It ain't as simple as saying "you're crap at x y or z, do it this way" (especially with us blokes who like to think we know everything..........)
Throughout the day you could see how the course formulated itself, building on those first and simplest actions and skills, each challenge adding a new layer but not leaving the previous skill set behind. Based on a simple and easy to remember set of rules, you find your riding flows more and more as the day goes on. Whilst it has to be said i am never going to be a great "airtime" rider, the skills Tony teaches are very relavent to real world cycling imo.
We've all seen loads of videos on the Net of people jumping massive gap jumps, or manualling 300yards, or doing a complete 360 off the roof of a house, but if we are honest, this really is a bit of a false picture of riding for the vast majority. The skills you have re-enforced by a skills course, are those that you probably, subconciously, were probably using anyway, just maybe not at the right time or in the right fashion. Tony lays down the groundwork and enables you to take it forwards at your own pace.
He also makes a fine cup of coffee and makes you feel right at home, important as it's easy to feel the pressure of scrutiny, and tense up, which is not good when trying to find some flow and smoothness.
As with everything in Life, you get out what you put in. I would have liked to have progressed a bit more in the time we had, but realistically, even the stuff I failed to learn on the day will now be there in the back of my mind everytime i get on my bike. I wouldn't call myself a "natural rider", it takes me some time to really pull everything together, but at least now i can begin to see how i ride from an external perspective, analyse the results of my actions, and file away the "good results" from the bad ones.
An interesting collorary of a few hrs of intense riding scrutiny, is that by making the basic actions more automatic, i actually should have more time to simply "appreciate the ride", spend a lot less time looking at my front wheel and just enjoy it more for what it is.
The next few weeks should be fun