Ripping with the Bruce Lee of MTB Clinics
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” -Bruce Lee
I’m sitting in the back of the Lee Likes Bikes Sprinter Van and the Lee, of Lee Likes Bikes, is navigating and imparting wisdom derived from none-other-than Bruce Lee.
I mean, it’s true Bruce Lee has some great advice which could totally be applied to riding a bicycle, but this is not exactly what I expected when I signed up for a daylong mountain bike clinic.
It turns out Lee McCormack is not just another knuckle-dragging, hairy-legged mountain biker who “dudes” and “bruhs” his way through his mountain bike clinics, he’s a full-fledged mountain bike guru, with a heavy dose of nerd.
When he talks about flow, he’s not just talking about flow trails or riding the flow or getting flowy on your bike, he is talking about mentally getting in the flow. And how the universe wants us to flow.
Riding with Lee is all about getting into the deep and steep, both mentally and physically.
It seems like, at least from this small sampling of riders, there are three things bike riders are interested in learning from a mountain bike clinic:
1. How to ride with more confidence.
2. How to corner like a pro.
3. How to maintain trail speed.
And there are three things Lee says almost all wannabe mountain bikers get wrong:
1. They ride too high and too far back.
2. They ride trails they don’t have the skills to be on.
3. They ride bicycles that are improperly set-up.
“You have got to master the basics,” said McCormack. “And there is no end to doing that. There are no secrets when it comes to this stuff. The best way to go faster is to get better.”
It is also clear he believes in the technique he teaches.
“You can buy yourself a bike that will give you some leeway and forgiveness, but that will never replace the fundamentals.”
And because of that, before he takes anyone out on the trail, he “forces” them onto one of his RipRow machines. He calls the RipRow “the world's most specific training device for mountain biking, motocross and BMX.” The RipRow could easily be mistaken for one of those exercise machines you find on late night infomercials, except for the fact that it actually works.
It works your lats and it definitely works your hamstrings, especially when you listen and learn the RipRow way. Lee teaches you don’t really want to be doing squats on your mountain bike, you want to engage your hamstrings and “hinge.” Hinging is a huge part of what McCormack and the RipRow teach.
By learning to hinge, you will learn to be more centered and definitely more active on your bike. Just watch any downhill mountain bike race and specifically watch how active the riders are on their bicycles, basically hinging fore and aft as they rail downhill.
The one thing which becomes abundantly clear as the day goes on and that is you can read all the books, magazine articles, watch all the youtube clips and buy all the greatest equipment, but it is not until you have someone with an expert critical eye, like that of Lee McCormack, to access you in a real situation, in real time, can you truly start to improve at an impressive rate.
You may think you're in the perfect riding position, looking all pro and poised for battle like on YouTube, but I can assure almost everyone could use the tough love of a mountain bike coach and the wisdom of Bruce Lee.
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” -Bruce Lee