Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April's Featured Rider: Lisa Myklak

Lisa Myklak's profile is going to be a bit different. She's so excited about sharing her love of dirt jumping with others that she's dedicated her Featured Rider Profile to convincing you to try it--and explaining how to get started! Lisa is highly skilled at downhill and gated racing, and her dirt jump skills translate into a smooth, fast riding style. Still, she's happiest sessioning jumps with friends. She recently moved to Santa Cruz, CA from Boulder, CO to take advantage of the year-round riding season. --FF

Name: Lisa Myklak
Home: Felton, CA
Age: 30
Favorite type of riding: Toss up between dirt jump and downhill.
Why you ride: I feel most alive when I'm on my bike; it makes my
heart happy
Sponsors: Fox Racing Shox, Black Market Inc., Industry 9, Crankbrothers, Magura, Profile Racing, Jett MTB, e.13, Lake shoes, Hoven Visio
Website: BlackMarketBikes.com

To all ladies who want to dirt jump — do it. You’ll learn SO MUCH about how to handle a bike. The only thing you really need is a desire to learn – bravery will come. Just start by going out to your local dirt jumps or BMX track and rolling around.

There is so much I would love to share about dirt jumping, but here are a few things that I think are key.

Before You Start, Learn This:
Learn how to bunny hop. No jump involved – just learn how to bunny hop on flat ground (not clipped in). You have to pump with your arms and legs and this is truly jumping your bike. My friend Joanna Petterson and I would stack up inner-tube boxes and see how high we could get before knocking them over. If you know how to bunny hop, then you know the fundamentals to jumping. Every jump at every speed can be broken down by how to pump it.

Practice At Your Own Pace:
Guys are notorious for jumping one thing and then stepping right up to another jump. Only you know the balance between pushing yourself and backing off. Part of the fun is learning to jump something smoothly. Good technique takes time and repetition. You know you’ve found the balance when you’re still having fun but scaring yourself a little too.

Really Concentrate On This:
There is a lot of technique to jumping, but it’s also 100% mental. We’ve all seen that rider who just boldly hucks their meat off anything and most of the time they ride away fine. Why? Because they approach it with confidence and commitment. That’s not all of it though. The real trick is to learn to ride with confidence and commitment and at the same time stay relaxed. If you mess up and you’re relaxed, chances are you’re going to walk away alright. I’m not saying just go up to anything and ride it with confidence. But when you do decide to hit something, take this mentality into it.

Something To Keep In Mind:
Dirt jumping is both extremely rewarding and terribly frustrating. One day you’ll get through an entire line of jumps and the next day you won’t be able to jump the second one. Your skills in dirt jumping are very flippant at first. The best cure for this is to go ride something else — don’t let yourself get too frustrated.

One great thing about learning how to jump is that you start seeing everything in terms of lips and landings. This really helps with trail riding. It translates right over. Happy jumping!

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