By Diane Gilliam
Somewhere along a portion of the Porcupine Rim Trail as I was confidently maneuvering 3’ drops and other trail obstacles I wouldn’t have dreamed of trying three short days ago, I realized just how much I had learned at the Alison Dunlap Moab MTB Skills Camp.
This was the last day of Alison’s Camp where I and 5 other riders had enjoyed the pleasures of an all-inclusive package that included a 3-night stay at the Rim Village Condominiums, tasty meals with available vegetarian options, two massages, transportation to/from trails, bike tune-ups following daily rides, and most importantly, personalized instruction from Alison.
I had wanted to attend Alison’s camp ever since taking a weekend skills workshop offered by Alison and her husband Greg several years ago. I learned so much over that weekend that I could only image how much my skill level would improve while riding with Alison in Moab. I was not disappointed!
On our first day of riding, Alison and Beth, Beth works at Rim Tours and assisted Alison while also serving as our bike mechanic and shuttle driver, worked to sharpen our basic skills in a local park. Over the next few days they helped us transfer those skills to overcome the challenges of actual trail obstacles.
Alison has a unique talent, not just in her ability to teach skills, but of creating an atmosphere of trust. I tried things I never dreamed I could do based solely on my trust in Alison to know my abilities and encourage me to only try obstacles she was totally confident I could do. Oh there were definitely moments of fear as I encountered challenges above my comfort level. But with Alison’s guidance and encouragement from Beth and my fellow riders, my confidence soared and I was soon riding obstacles unimaginable just hours before.
One of the unspoken benefits from the camp was in meeting and riding with the other camp attendees. I didn’t know any of the other 5 riders at the start, but after 3 days of riding together, offering encouragement and watching each other overcome fears and improve skills, I was amazed at the strong bond that had formed and found it hard to say good-bye at camp’s end.
I’d highly recommend Alison’s camp to anyone who would like to combine a trip to Moab with a chance to improve their riding skills and confidence.