Get ready to race with expert mountain bike coaching

The Scottish Cross Country Mountain Bike Association (SXC) are holding a coaching session for women on September 17 aimed at increasing skill level, confidence and participation in events.

It is the final session of 2016 with experienced coach Diane Clayton Chisholm, with more planned for the new year.

Thanks to a successful Awards for All funding application as part of Scottish Cycling’s Women on 2Wheels project, the SXC are able to offer the session for just £5.

Diane said: “I’m super pleased to be back again this year to coach with SXC. The aim is to support more women to take the first step into racing their MTBs. We’ve seen a huge increase in the popularity of cycling as a leisure activity and I hope that with a little support some will make the leap into cycling as a sport. This initiative is not about finding the next gold medallist; it’s about helping people to find another aspect to the sport which they might just love.

“The sessions are designed to take a recreational mountain biker and get them ready for their first race. Groups will be small, a maximum of eight riders and are held on Cross Country Mountain Bike race circuits used by SXC. This will give riders an idea for what sort of technical trail features to expect. We will examine the difference between riding for fun and racing.”

Graeme McLean, Project Manager of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland and also the lead on the Women on 2Wheels programme said: “Mountain bike racing is a really great place to start if you want to get into racing. We have some exciting courses with fun technical sections, a great team of supportive event organisers and a Taster category to allow riders to dip their pedal into racing. We want to give women the confidence and opportunities to get into cycle sport and the SXC have always been great at making this happen. I am pleased that they are going to do another year of sessions.”

It’s the second year the courses have been held. The standalone sessions are aimed a preparing a recreational mountain biker for the start line and cover: starts, cornering, climbing, descending, race tactics, sprints and finishes.

The Forfar event, part of the Angus Cycling festival at Reid Park, takes place between 2pm and 4pm. Limited places are available. For details see

Another initiative aimed at raising participation is the Go Girls programme which made a sucessful start earlier in the summer.

It aims to get girls aged between eight and 12 out having fun on bikes. Fifty girls took part in two social days across four venues.

They were backed by experienced and rookie coaches and elite athletes Kerry MacPhee, Isla Short and Lucy Grant, while Scottish global cycling brand, Endura supplied discounted custom jerseys.

Morven Brown, Scottish Cycling Regional Development Officer – West, one of the experienced coaches involved in the weekend, described the day as “amazing” and added: “It was brilliant fun and the girls got so much out of the day. The elite athletes were fantastic and the support from all concerned was truly inspirational.”

The Go Girls programme is part of wider three-year strategy from Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland which aims to increase the number of female coaches and leaders and to provide more role models and opportunities to be access the sport.

Images: Sam Sills@Whitedog Photography