Written by Tommy Tuite
This August, I attended the four-part NWTA Adult Beginner MTB Clinics at Gateway Green in Portland, OR.
This series was expertly hosted by Elaine Bothe, teaching us the world of mountain bike fundamentals and practical skills.
Gateway Green Mountain Bike Park is a familiar spot for me but was new to a few of the students. With shady singletrack and progressive skill lines, this location has much to offer for development. If you have not been to Gateway Green before, I’d recommend giving yourself plenty of time to get there and checking the map ahead of time to plot your route.
Week one had us all beaming with smiles and excitement as Elaine began introductions and the course outline. With bike safety checks and helmets properly adjusted at the start of each clinic, Elaine had us ready to soak up the information we needed to lay some groundwork for development. Myself and others were not entirely new to mountain biking, but it was my first proper MTB clinic. I took this opportunity to allow a professional to assess my personal skills in the space provided. All of this technique breakdown was refreshingly new to me. Each clinic built on the previous, allowing us to try newly polished skills in ever-reaching areas of the park, all at a low-stress pace. What a great way to learn and grow!
About six to eight of us would return for each of the four clinics providing familiar faces to catch up and check in with. Clinics would kick off with stories of how the skills we had been learning were being adopted. Elaine’s focus on student development was consistently strong and highly valued by all attendees. Offering a caring ear when questions were asked or if hesitation was shown, Elaine was always attentive and caring, providing the kind of great environment to nurture growth.
I came into the clinic with experience on the bike, but I left the clinic with a better understanding of safety, enthusiasm, and community. The four weeks went by too fast! But luckily, not without a last clinic pump track session with Elaine and students to celebrate the end of a fantastic series.
Thank you, Elaine, NWTA, and Gateway Green!