Skills Challenges

Skills Challenges





Challenge #1 – Side Saddle, Dismount, Remount

We’re kicking off our Skills Challenges with a skill that will help students become more efficient at getting off and on their bikes. The base level of the challenge is the ol’ fashioned side saddle (both ways). The next level up is dismounting and remounting, which is commonly used in cyclocross to quickly get around large or unrideable objects. While this may be easy for those versed in ‘cross, it’ll take some practice for those new to it! Here’s a video with both levels being demonstrated.

TIPS: You’ll need to be coasting for a while to nail this. For the side saddle maneuver, practice first by getting a little speed and then coast with weight on the left foot on the left pedal. The left pedal will be positioned with the left leg fully extended so that the right leg isn’t bearing much weight. Okay, so you’re coasting, you’ve got weight all up on that left leg, and now you’ll carefully swing the right leg around the back wheel of the bike and bring your right foot to the outside of your left leg. Yea? Got it? Now practice with your other side. It’s probably gonna feel a little wobbly, maybe a little funky, but keep in mind the weight on the outside foot with that leg completely extended and you’ll be set. Once you’ve mastered this, if you’re feeling up for the next level of the challenge, move onto the dismount/remount. Once you’ve completed the side saddle, the dismounting is easy peasy; just put that foot that you swung around from the other side down on the ground, and get the other foot off the pedal to meet it. You’ll slide off the saddle so that you’re upright next to the bike. Keep moving once both feet are on the ground, because you’ll need some momentum to help you get back onto the seat. Okay, you’re next to your bike on the left side, you’ve got a little pep in your step, both hands are on the handlebars, and you’re ready to get back on your bike. Let’s do it. While moving forward with the bike and looking forward, bring your right leg up to the saddle with the intention to land on the saddle land on your inner thigh a fair bit up from your knee. Once you’ve made contact with the saddle, slide your right leg down to meet the right pedal, and then pair up your left foot with the left pedal. Remounting complete!



Student-athletes will have two weeks to complete each challenge. Student-athletes can work on each skill individually at home or with the team, but each skill must be demonstrated at team practices to be confirmed by a team coach.

Student-athletes only have the two weeks following the announcement of each skills challenge to complete the challenge.

Student-athletes will use mountain bikes to complete these challenges. Road, ‘cross, track, and BMX bikes are not allowed.

Coaches will observe and confirm each student-athlete’s ability to do the skills challenge and will report how many student-athletes on their team completed the challenge by the end of the two-week period. Reporting will be done through the online document sent on 9/21 to the Head Coach and Team Director. 

Each team can earn up to 100 points per challenge. Coaches will note how many student-athletes on their team are able to complete the challenges through the forms sent out on 9/21. The forms have a complete list of registered student-athletes on the team and can be printed and shared with other coaches for tracking.

Each challenge has two levels, and each skill at each level can receive one point. We recognize that some student-athletes will be challenged by the base level of these challenges while others are not. To keep interest and encourage students to test their abilities, there’s a higher more advanced level to each challenge. That means that each rider can score up to 2 points per challenge.

Example: You have a team of 10 student athletes, so your team has the opportunity to get 20 points for each skills challenge (10 riders each x 2 levels of each skill challenge = 20 points). If 5 student-athletes on your team are able to do the base level of the challenge, and 5 riders are able to do both levels of the challenge, then that’s 15/20 points. That math puts your team at 75%, or 75 points, total for that challenge. 


There might be prizes! There might not. Either way bragging rights are on the line!

For Coaches

What kind of area/space will be ideal for practicing these skills on?
A field of some sort will work great! No need to do any of these on a legit trail.

How much time should we focus on each skill?
You could spend a whole practice on each skill, but to keep things interesting, it’s more likely you’ll want to incorporate maybe 30-45 minutes of the current skill challenge into your team practice, and then ride bikes with a focus on the skill while out on trail.

If there’s a skill we don’t know how to do or teach, how will we learn?
We’ll announce each skill in a newsletter to coaches, along with info about how to teach that skill. Chances are these are going to be challenging for a majority of coaches and students! Your team may have students who are able to do the skills with ease and could be great teachers for the rest of the team. Practice makes perfect, so remind your students that they can keep working on each skill outside of team rides.

Questions? Send us an email.