Rider Insights – Chris Hutchens Pt. 2 – Future Numbers.

Chris Hutchens is currently Scotland’s rising enduro star. Having cut his teeth in downhill and serving a long career at the sharp end of World Cup racing, he’s back on the international enduro scene looking to improve on a promising 2015.

Over the next few months, Hutch will be bringing us insights into his training and preparation, hopefully giving you some inspiration and ideas to improve your own skills and fitness for a better season.

If you missed his opening Rider Insight, you can catch up here.

Hutch’s second Rider Insight heads into the woods with Stefan Morrocco for some video analysis focusing on body position and line choice to help make up the milliseconds over long enduro stages.

Chris Hutchens Rider Insights Wideopenmag.co.uk Enduro World Series Scottish Enduro Series

Technology in the world of mountain biking has exploded in recent years. In bike design and manufacturing, all in the search for faster, more capable bikes. Companies are helping these improvements and offering suspension set up apps for minimal costs to the general public for instance. You don’t need to be on the Fox RAD programme or be a SRAM rider anymore.

I noted in my first post that before getting stuck into the seasons training it’s vital to sit down and make note of your weaknesses. This is probably more important if your training time is limited. A lot of people out there will have similar limitations, time constraints and commitments as me. Others will no doubt have more commitments and even less time. Focusing your efforts during any possible training time you have is essential to achieving your aims.Chris Hutchens Rider Insights Wideopenmag.co.uk Enduro World Series Scottish Enduro Series

Working on your weaknesses will undoubtedly help you work towards your goals. Set some goals and keep these clear throughout the off-season. After the 2015 season, I highlighted my weakness in corners, especially right hand corners. I know a few friends who could vouch for me on that one (just ask Mr Cathro of Sick Skills). It’s not the only thing however, but it’s pretty significant when a mountain bike track is just a series of lefts and rights.

Sadly corners vary from banked berms, flat corners, loose corners before gradient and inclusion of roots are involved. One particular race for me stood out this year. It was largely dashed by some spectacular crashes during one stage and haemorrhaging time but there were a number of short stages that weekend where I lost significant time, and probably the Scottish Series. Have a think back to some of your races previously, check the time gaps and think about the terrain as well as the competition on the day. What I identified though was that I have a significant weakness when it comes to trail centres and cornering on this hard packed terrain. Living in Aberdeen it’s not really terrain I ride very often and it showed in a lot of races this year.Chris Hutchens Rider Insights Wideopenmag.co.uk Enduro World Series Scottish Enduro Series

In the run up to my 2016 season I’ll be looking to get the most out of the time I can ride and train and one new innovation I’ll be utilising is through Morrocco Media and the use of video analysis. Just like training in the gym and getting your form right for a lift the position and stance on the bike is imperative to get correct.

I’ll be working with Morrocco Media’s Stefan over the winter to try and improve some of my weaknesses and the next few blogs will cover just some of the things we’re looking at. This ties me back to the innovations in cycling we’ve seen in the past few years with this being one area where the sport could embrace technology. Stefan’s been working with the Mondraker team over the past few years and latterly Danny Hart since he joined the team.

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Morrocco Media – Video Analysis First Corner from Chris Hutchens on Vimeo.

What does Stefan do though?

‘For the last two seasons I have been providing our video analysis services to the MS-Mondraker team at world cup races, specifically looking at line choice, but also noting technique and bike set-up issues. Between races I spend hours poring over race footage investigating the biomechanical and technique traits of the top riders, their line choices and race craft to develop an informed and objective understanding of what is required to be a top mountainbiker. Morrocco Media are now focussing on providing athlete-led, experimental performance analysis. Combining video analysis with scientific performance management, Morrocco Media deliver a comprehensive technique development programme for adventure sports athletes. You can provide more information at www.morroccomedia.com and go to the analysis page.’

Ultimately I need to be cornering faster. Through the use of a fancy GPS unit we looked at my accelerations and decelerations, cross referencing this to my body position, corner set up and a few others things.

Morrocco Media – Video Analysis Wide/Tight from Chris Hutchens on Vimeo.

What’s clever with what Stefan’s approach is that we can try a few changes and ride a section being able to then clearly note the points in which I was gaining and losing time before checking how my position on the bike and set-up affected this.

It was an interesting first session and I kept some things close to my chest initially to see what Stefan picked up on. It however wasn’t long before my worries were confirmed by Stefan. I can’t turn right! Thankfully though I can actually turn both ways but I’ve got a dominant direction that I’m more comfortable with.

I found out and will be working to improve this into next year. Exactly what that was I’ll not give away. It’s cumulative however and losing fractions of a second every corner quickly adds up over a 15 minute stage.