LUXBMX Race Blog
Author: Mitch Date Posted:1 June 2015
Author: Bruce Morris Date Posted: 1 February 2019
That’s a really weird title for a race article, adapting to race in flats when BMX was born on flat pedals, but at this stage, your young rider has potentially been racing in clips for one or more years. Maybe even 4 years if they jumped on them at 8 years old and go into the 12 year age group next year. Rightly so, some of the kids are a little miffed as to why they have to go back to flats, as well as the parents, and well, me as a coach to be quite honest. And I grew up racing on flats as a child of the 80s! I still race now and you guessed it, clipped in. Having done so for the past 10 years. They aren’t evil despite what the old schoolers (some of them are my mates) yell from the top of the crumbling dirt berms, they are a part of BMX racing just like carbon fibre frames and tarmac corners are in 2018.
Flat pedals were relevant across all age groups in the era lower speeds and stop-start corners, but this modern era of BMX is more complex, with the technical requirements being at a much higher level, as well as higher (and more constantly higher) leg speeds. Leg speed development is a key component of BMX racing and clips purely and simply enhance this component. This of course is all pure conjecture on my behalf as research doesn't exist to confirm, or reject my theory. It's based upon my 30+ years of racing across the various eras of BMX, my coaching experience, and the fact that I still race to this day at a relevant (to my peer group) level.
There’re two considerations here depending on the age of your rider. Firstly for those that are 11 and under in 2019, they will be forced to race on flats in those age classes for a minimum of 2 years, while those going into the 12 year groups (as stated above) will be going back to flats for a year, then at the stroke of the 2020 New Year, go back into clips. You don’t want to restrict the development of racing speed by not preparing them for racing in clips in their year of racing the 13’s group. There might be a few bad habits to work out of them as well as clip pedals can be responsible for promoting a pedalling style not conducive to skill development. I see some really weird body positions during pumping that are impossible to do in flats, and not desirable as the rider gets older and progresses to manualing and jumping. It takes a fair bit of "un-training" to get the rider back on track.
Lincoln is going to go back to flats for one year in 2019, but there's nothing wrong with his form on clips.
Though that said, the allowance of a rider to ride up in the 13 year age groups and hence be allowed to run clips could cause confusion for the 11/12 year old rider (and parents) as they may “ride up” at every possibility in the 13 year age group. Then be back on flats for any championship event like the nationals, state championships and down to zone champs.
So to circle back to help you and your racer to decide on how to attack next year. Well, it’s nearly the end of 2018 and there’s less than a month before your kid’s (potential) first flat pedal race and you guessed it, you should be on them now if you aren’t so already. Get a good quality set of flat pedals and make sure they match the bike because your kid is going to want that, and if in doubt, just go the reliable black set. Thin profile with a good number of pins. You might scoff about getting the right colour, but they’re your kid…. If they feel good about their race rig, then half the battle is one with this change.
Queensland State Title's Final 2018 - not many of the girls on flats here at Sleeman where speeds are high.
The one issue and resentment to change I’ve already seen in my 10-11 year kids is that in flats they are immediately a little slower initially than they are clipped in and struggle to clear jumps that they were doing easily. It’s not because they are poor peddlers, they’ve lost some power transfer from going from a stiff soled clip shoe to a softer soled casual shoe (okay, Vans. We got plenty of them at LUX just quietly). I’m seeing this on a track that has a flat gate and therefore requires a bit of HP to get going. But even on a more downhill track I’ve seen the same group struggle a bit and yes, jumping does feel different initially. I know as I swap between the clips and flats as well in my own riding, so I can empathise with how they feel. So the kids were bummed for a few weeks, but they are adapting quickly. Though I’ve had to think pretty quickly to keep them pumped on riding when they’ve felt a little regression.
This is only a small sample group of kids I coach and may not be a broader issue. But no doubt you’ve had to face the same questions from your kid(s) as to why they’ve had to go back. I’m in two minds as what to advise for next year in the 12 year group. Do you race them “up” to let them continue in clips? Do you revert fully in preparation for the 2019 Aussies in Shepparton? Ditto for the 11 year age group for the year after. Those that never converted to clips are cool, no change for them.
At the end of the day, the fast kids will still be fast on flats and there will be no revolution at the national championships when a completely unknown kid comes out of the skate bowl to win the 12 year Boy's/Girl's title. So my tentative advice for your 12 year old is keep them on flats and running in their own age class up until the Aussies (if that’s where you are heading) and focus on the adaptation period over the next few months. Anyone that says that there’s no difference in the two systems hasn’t ridden them, if at all, but the kids will quickly adapt. Just reassure them that it’s the same for everyone. Then start to blend their usage in riding and training sessions (kids can train at 12, it’s not a crime) throughout the rest of the year to prepare them for getting back on them in 2020 by letting ride up into the 13 year age group. If the rider's goal is a state title, then stick with flats right through to Sept/Oct, but once they are done, switch them over and "ride up" in a few races after that.
As far as the younger age groups go, just hide the clip pedals and send off the berm into the rhythm section and they’ll figure it out. All they need to clear something is enough speed and the realisation that sometimes you crash. The fundamental pedalling skills are still the same. We mash the hell out of pedals in BMX whether you’re on flats or clipped in. Gate starts may feel a little funky for the little shredder, but they’ll adapt. Kids are good at that.
Here's our pick of the best pedals for smaller feet.
See you at the track, and if you have any questions about coaching or bike set up, hit me up here.
Who’s the Coach?
Bruce Morris – LUXBMX’s race program manager
BMX Racer – 35+ years
BMX Coach – 7+ years
Additional Experience – 30 years in the fitness industry training people from all walks of life
Author: Bruce Morris Date Posted: 30 April 2018
Introducing LUXBMX Coaching – Finding Your Edge
We’re all riders at LUXBMX, which isn’t really surprising as all the good BMX only shops around the world are owned and staffed by passionate people who love what they do. We’re thankful every day that we can combine both work and riding BMX and as LUXBMX expands its racing side, we thought we would add another service layer and share our passion for coaching riders by regularly offering insights and tips to make you a better racer, a faster racer, and a racer that’s stoked on BMX 24/7.
Marrying carbon and clips to the world of CrMo and flat pedals at LUX has been in the works now for just over 12 months and as the shop’s racer, I thought it was time to confess my age and give a little background on my riding, and the other BMX stuff I do outside of LUX. As a rider, I’ve been on the pedals racing for over 35 years, starting at 12, and wearing a coach’s hat for around the last 6 or 7 years. Prior to, and blended into all of these years of racing, is a career in the health and fitness industry allowing me to apply my understanding of human physiology with the physical demands of BMX racing.
BMX coaching in the modern era (post Olympic introduction – 2008) has been caught up in the Wattbike/Ipad/gate “reaction”time/1RM frenzy, and whilst there’s a place for that at the top end of the sport, for the other 95% of racers not destined for elite racing, or the even smaller percentage heading to the next Olympics, there’s much more gain to be had in understanding the rider you are, and understanding what truly makes you smile on the bike. Crack that formulae and the rest will come easy. Including winning if that’s your end goal because training in a fun environment will allow you to truly reach your potential.
Eminent Australian BMX coach Sean Dwight with Connor Fields and Chase/LUXBMX riders Shannon Petre and Ashlee Miller at a recent session at the Sleeman SX track in Brisbane. Training in a group elevates all of the riders with the right environment.
Finding the Edge – I’ve been very fortunate to have insight into the world of Australia’s foremost BMX coach, Sean Dwight, and it has been very surprising that the coach of the current Olympic gold medallist Connor Fields (amongst many other champions) talks at length about the artistry of riding a BMX race bike and the similarity of racing skills and freestyle (or vice versa). Touching on points such as the connective points of the body to the bike through the hands and feet, and the irrefutable proof that big-bowl riders have the sort of spatial awareness that BMX racers could only dream of.
Track speed is much more than simple horsepower out of the gate and out of the corners. Modern BMX tracks demand a very high level of bike handling skills and it’s perplexing that many current BMX racers, young or old, are looking for the edge in the gym, or doing road sprints. The paradox is that that approach would be applicable in the 80s when most track’s total jump count equalled (or more likely to be less than) the jump count on the third straight of most modern tracks.
The real science of BMX coaching is breaking down the physical and mental elements of a BMX lap, and presenting them in a format where a rider can work on those individual elements, then reform them to start banking all the skills to build a perfect lap.
Chase rider Connor Fields and BOX BMX's Trent Jones applying maximum focus before hitting the 8m hill at a recent Sleeman SX track session.
Where do you start? Let’s start at the gate and look at rethinking our approach to what is typically 99% of the Australian BMX racer’s training methodology of smashing out a 100 starts at “gate night” in as short of time as possible. So changing our mindset with regards to “training”.
Let’s try this… before you pack the bike in the car, have a plan of what you want to achieve from the session that day/night. Are you going to do the same thing as last week, and the week before? Or are there some other skills that you could work on to give you track speed advantage? Plan rest periods and don’t rush! Of course, the gate start is vital, but are you going to work on your reactive ability tonight and break it right down to just the first pedal out of the gate? Combined with a 5 or so first straight efforts.
Or maybe you don’t go near the gate and work on nailing the backsides on the rhythm straight at over-speed. Just have a plan before you get there to make the most of the time on the track and apply focus to your session. Don't just don't wing it because it's virtually impossible to train all of the elements of a BMX race in one session with the various energy and skill requirements compromising the outcome of the session. Not to mention the risk of craching. You'll be amazed at the change in your riding after a few weeks of focused sessions.
So, there’s a little bit about my background and hopefully you’ll realise there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to making you a better racer. Progression isn’t just about the results’ sheet, it’s about evolving your riding and training sessions as well. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses and making a plan to work on them. Not just following the others.
Catch you next time
Bruce Morris - LUXBMX
Author: Bruce Morris Date Posted: 7 March 2018
Balance – A New Approach to BMX Coaching and Mentoring
Centenary Plains BMX Club is set to host a BMX event that will draw upon a pool of talent and will collaborate in an Australian first to bring the riders of Queensland an unprecedented depth of BMX knowledge and wisdom. The end goal is to provide high-level coaching and mentorship on the day for riders as well as cement their love of riding BMX.
The coaching/mentoring line-up looks like this.
- Connor Fields – Olympic Gold Medallist 2016, (USABMX) Pro Champion 2017
- Warwick Stevenson – UCI World Champion 2004, (USABMX) Pro Champion 2001/2003
- Khalen Young – Olympian London 2012, (USABMX) Pro Champion 2008
- Tony Harvey – 2000 Elite National Champion
- Jamie Gray – 2003 Elite National Champion
- Trent Jones – Olympian Rio 2016
- Brett Scruse – Multiple National Titles, 2 X World Titles
Connor Fields - CF11
The coaching/mentoring group is drawn together by event organiser Sean Dwight, his experiences have spanned 4 decades on the domestic and international BMX circuit, Sean like the group associated has witnessed firsthand more major changes in the sport than any other generation. The collaborative experience of this group creates the opportunity to pass on this knowledge to stimulate growth and longevity.
Connor Fields with coach Sean Dwight
This event itself is aimed at younger riders split into two groups, 8 to 12 and 13 to 16 with the first group’s session in the morning and the older group in the afternoon. The Centenary Plains BMX precinct houses a newly opened pump track which will be utilised along with the BMX track to give the riders exposure to a wider riding environment. Technical aspects of BMX riding will be covered in separate sessions in each group, including an opportunity for parents of the riders to connect with the coaches in a Q&A session which will allow them to draw upon the experience of the coaching group and learn about the history of the sport in Australia.
Interspersed throughout the day will be a “Ride IN2 BMX” day that will give the opportunity for potential new BMX racers to witness what the sport has to offer. We will encourage the camp’s participants to connect with the new riders during the break between the two groups to spread the word about how awesome BMX is and what it has done for them. The participants of this side of the event will also have the opportunity to meet 2016 Olympic Gold Medallist Connor Fields. People who sign up on the day as a new Centenary Plains’ member will have the chance to win a Redline MX Expert race bike courtesy of Redline Australia.
Colony BMX Brand and LUXBMX will host a freestyle jam session on the day showcasing what free riding and flow truly means. Wade Bootes, Cycling Australia’s National BMX Technical Director will be keeping an eye on proceedings with the UCI's Freestyle App being launched to the wider freestyle community in a test of its ability to highlight grassroots riders.
Whilst the event is focusing on coaching and mentoring of young riders, the event’s organisers hope to show the BMX community that we can work and learn from all disciplines of BMX riding.
Camp Information - click flyer below or:
Register on OSM - Click here.
p. 0419 960310
Warwick Stevenson and Kyle Bennett
Khalen Young representing Australia at the 2012 London Olympics
Author: Bruce Morris Date Posted: 1 March 2018
BMX Race Helmet – Buy one that fits right.
Without doubt your helmet one of the most important pieces of your race kit, it’s one area that any rider or parent shouldn’t skimp on and yet we are still amazed that helmets pop up on second hand sites for sale. Not only does the mere thought of sticking your head into someone else’s sweat pit kind of leaves us nauseous, you have no idea if that helmet has taken a big hit prior to you buying it, leaving you vulnerable to a potential head injury from just a small off. Most manufactures recommend replacing a helmet after a big crash, and so do we.
Luki J - 100% all the way
At LUXBMX we sell a range of helmets for a range of budgets and even those helmets at the bottom end of the price spectrum will protect your head better than a ill-fitting second hand helmet. Not only does the correct fitting helmet protect you better, your range of vision isn’t compromised and as coaches, the first thing we often do with new riders in our sessions is push up their peak and then check the fit of the helmet. Too big a helmet and it’ll slip down over the rider’s race obscuring their vision, plus it will move too much in a crash. Or come off completely!
100% Status in camo and in youth sizes
We stock the 100% Status helmet and it carries a few features that we really think makes it a perfect BMX race helmet. One of those is that the Youth range actually has a smaller shell, rather than just extra thick lining and padding, plus the helmet comes in at just 1 kilogram. Lessing the strain on young rider’s necks.
Click here to see you full range of race helmets.
Going to happen one day...
Author: LUXBMX Date Posted: 26 February 2018
The first round of BMX Australia’s national series in Penrith NSW saw the Chase/LUXBMX team make its debut on a hot weekend of racing in western Sydney in late February. Bringing together riders from Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, the team was housed under Elite Cycle Imports (Chase Bicycle’s Australian distributor) corporate set up for the first time which gave the riders a area to chill out, and the rider’s families a chance to meet each other.
A brand-new team to the Australian race scene, the Chase/LUXBMX partnership was pulled together in a short time frame at the end of 2017 after Gary Brookes from Elite Cycle Imports (ECI) met with Chase’s Christophe Leveque and Pete Dylewski, along with Aussie coach Sean Dwight at the USA BMX Grand Nationals in Tulsa Oklahoma to discuss forming a team. Partnering with Aussie BMX icon retailer, LUXBMX, the idea was to create a team that would foster rider development, mentorship and generate results through harmonious reationships. The 8-rider roster is made up of four riders that were already part of a existing ECI Chase team, and four riders coached by Sean Dwight, all brought under the one umbrella to form the Chase/LUXBMX Team.
The weekend was an outstanding success for the team, not only for the wins and podiums, but also for the chance the riders and families had to meet each other. After the introductions, there was an immediate feeling that this was a group of people that all shared the same vision of BMX, with high achieving athletes hanging out together in a supportive environment. With only a couple of the riders directly competing against each other to add a little spice. No egos, just acknowledgement of each other's performance and ability, and a fair bit of Aussie humour to keep the nerves at a containable level. The team immediately gelled as a unit and the results flowed by the end of racing Sunday.
By the end of the weekend the results sheet read:
Max Cairns – Elite: 2nd
Izaac Kennedy – Jr Elite: 1st
Ashlee Miller - Jr Elite: 2nd
Shannon Petre – 15 Girls: 1st
Wade Turner – Elite: Semi
Dean Patch – 35+ Masters: 5th
Phobe Wallen – 16 Girls: Hit the deck and the ER room.
Harvey Brooks – 8 Boys: 2nd
Straight after this round, both Max Cairns and Izaac Kennedy flew out to the US for 2 months of training and riding with Chase Bicycles team rider Connor Fields, while the rest of the team will be competing at the national championships in March. Both ECI and LUXBMX can’t wait to take this show on the road and are looking forward to an incredible 2018.
Author: Bruce Morris Date Posted: 22 December 2017
Two major forces of Australian BMX have partnered to form a new race team for 2018 and beyond. Australian Chase Bicycles Distributor Elite Cycle Imports, and Brisbane bike shop LUXBMX have a long-established business relationship, with ECI supplying the shop with various brands stretching back to the opening of LUX in 2010. Established as a freestyle shop, LUXBMX decided to go “racing” in 2017 with a philosophy of reconnecting freestyle to racing like it was in the beginning and immediately struck a chord with the race community off the back of the enviable reputation already built by LUX owners, Mitch Wood and Evan Jaques.
LUX has supported riders from the beginning and currently have a killer team roster that includes a couple of ex-racers carving up the freestyle world; and they were itching to add racers to the line-up. It was through a connection between LUXBMX race program manager Bruce Morris and world-renowned BMX coach Sean Dwight, that sparked a conversation with ECI owner Gary Brookes about combining many years of BMX racing experience to form a team. Elite Cycle Imports also has a long history of supporting riders and teams in Australia since 1997 from its conception and continues to distribute some Quality Race BMX Products, Brookes is as excited as the riders to be involved. Thus, the Chase/LUXBMX team was created.
Speaking of riders, the first four riders on the roster below are mentored by Sean Dwight and one of the cornerstones of the team’s philosophy is that of personal development, with as much emphasis placed upon it as all other aspects of the training program. Dwight, amongst many of his other world class achievements, took Connor Fields to a gold medal and Alise Post to a silver medal at the 2016 RIO Olympics, he will be a huge asset to the team.
Following the first four riders are a collective of Victorian racers that ECI was already supporting under the Chase banner, with new comer Phoebe Wallen rounding out the gate of 8 riders. Anyone following Australian BMX racing over the past several years will read the list and recognise the names immediately, having either seen them on podiums around the country, or result’s lists from races like the recent USABMX Grands. An enviable line-up of depth and potential.
Underpinning the team is the support of Chase Bicycles owner, Christophe Leveque and team manager, Pete Dylewski. Brookes and Dwight met with Leveque and Dylewski at the recent USABMX Grands to discuss the formation of a national Australian Chase team and were onboard immediately, recognising that the potential of the team and its association with Dwight would see the Chase brand’s profile lifted even higher here in Australia. In addition, Sean’s relationship with Christophe and other key industry people, along with his professionalism and experience provides an opportunity for the riders to tap into the broader BMX world beyond Australia, elevating their racing development and ultimately providing long-term sustainability in the sport.
Congratulations to the riders listed below and all the success in the upcoming 2018 race season.
Chase/LUXBMX team line-up
· Max Cairns (Elite Men) – VIC
· Izaac Kennedy (Junior Elite Men) – QLD
· Ashlee Millar (Junior Elite Women) – NSW
· Shannon Petre (15 Years Girls) – QLD
· Dean Patch (45-49 Men) - VIC
· Wade Turner (Elite Men) - VIC
· Phoebe Wallen (16 Year Girls) - VIC
· Harvey Brooks (7 year Boys) – VIC
Team Manager Bruce Morris