'Hot Lap' article for Shred Magazine - Pedal Progression


19 May 2012

‘Hot Lap’ article for Shred Magazine

We were contacted earlier in the year by Shred Editor, Simon Young after he received an email from a forward thinking writer. Aged 49, Tony Gifford had been riding mountain bikes a while and was frustrated with his lack of progression in recent years. Whilst watching BBC’s ‘Top Gear’ he was inspired to change things.


In the episode he watched, James May, or Captain Slow as he’s known was set the challenge of knocking 20 seconds off his current fastest time around Oulton Park, under the instruction of 3 times Formula One world champion Jackie Stewart… Some task! Click here to see how it went down. Tony decided that perhaps he should look to coaching to see if he could be removed from his self taught rut, and so he came to us to make things happen! Our challenge was to time Tony on a singletrack downhill run, give a days coaching and then revisit the run and beat his time a couple weeks later, after he’d done the homework we’d set him.

Sam and I met Tony last Tuesday at ‘The Plantation’ in Longleat, courtesy of ‘The Black Canon Collective‘. The woods here are privately owned and are leased to Black Canon; a great community of mountain bikers, most of whom love to get gnarly! You need to pay a small seasonal fee to ride here but it’s so worth it! They lent us a set of timing poles and a watch to go with, which gave us accurate run times throughout the day.

We found a fast loamy run with nice wide corners and a few off cambers thrown in for good measure. Although not too technical, the run was perfect for shaping Tony’s technique and improving his skills. After a warm up, his first timed run came in at 1:08.

Sam then spent the day coaching Tony covering braking, vision and cornering technique with him in a lot of detail whilst giving him plenty of chance to try his new skills on the trail. We saw a huge improvement in his skill level and are very much looking forward to timing another few runs in a couple weeks time, after he’s had a chance to practice all that we worked through with him.

In the next post we’ll let you know how he got on, and of course we’ll let you know which issue of the mag the article will be in, once we know ourselves!





Written by: