Who is DirtSmart MTB?

Left_Morning_goodOne of the most important things any rider should ask themselves when shopping a MTB coach is this: exactly WHO will be your coach and what are their credentials? And I’m not talking “level this or that with so-and-so coaching organization.” Everybody and their brother has a coaching certification or three these days. And anyone with a bike, some spare time, and few hundred dollars (or thousand — depending on what level of cert they intend to purchase) can buy themselves some nice MTB coaching certifications. But really, what has this exact person done in their lives to help you become the best rider you can be in the context of your life?

I’ve been a certified professional mountain bike coach since 2007, working for the what was the top MTB coaching operation at the time. I started making a living as a full-time coach around 2010-ish. In 2012, I upped my game and launched DirtSmart MTB, offering the most comprehensive and relevant coaching curriculum available, hosting 25-30/yr group clinics as well as private coaching year round throughout the U.S. I’m willing to say that there are very, very, very few mtb coaches with my experience, depth, and success with students of all ability levels, around today.

I started racing downhill mountain bikes professionally in 1996, taking it very seriously into the 2000’s, then keeping it fun in the pro class in DH and enduro (even a bit of XC) for the next 20 years (full disclosure: I do now sign up for the Old Guy’s Class in my couple-few per year races — point is: I still get out there and ride hard, race, compete, and get to experience that whole spectrum of good times, bad times as a racer. I’m with you!!). I’ve raced, ridden with, and been around many top riders since I started riding mountain bikes in 1990. I’ve been around the bike biz all my life. I’ve worked as a Yeti Cycles factory race team mechanic, built trails for a living, worked in bike-media, and have put in many years in high-end bike shops. I also have experience in high-level motocross and BMX racing and riding, as well as “stick and ball sports” (football, baseball, wrestling in high school and college).

Outside of bikes, I’ve worked as a personal trainer and have formal schooling in sports-med. I have also been a licensed EMT and First Responder.

I have a thorough understanding that riding MTB correctly is about basics, even at the highest levels, and just like almost any activity, MTB has to be broken down to these basic building blocks and mastered at these levels for any hope of success. I impart this in my coaching. I understand how the human body is supposed to work with the design of a bicycle. I build and back up my instruction based on this knowledge. The techniques that I teach work at the beginner level (where many riders simply desire to be safer, ride more in control, gain confidence, etc.), as well as the highest levels of riding (where speed and shaving fractions of seconds off of a time are paramount). Besides skills coaching, I understand nutrition, training, injuries, bike set-up, mechanics, etc., and regularly will touch upon these topics during instruction.

I mention all of the above because I guarantee that any any rider — from true beginner recreational riders to pro level racers — will be hard pressed to find a better resource in a MTB skills coach.

I highly suggest that you thoroughly research any MTB coach that you may be interested in. Check out their experience levels, check out their reputation. If you do plan on attending a clinic/class, who, EXACTLY, will be your coach? Do they really understand the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of proper MTB riding? Can the articulate this information effectively? Do they have content available to confirm this? And, just because someone is a great rider….that doesn’t necessarily make them a great coach.

Andy Winohradsky, DirtSmart MTB