Day 1: Finding My Groove and Making Connections

As I rolled into Highland Mountain Bike Park on Friday morning, I felt a mix of excitement and nervousness. Not knowing anyone can be a bit daunting, but that quickly changed as I was warmly greeted by the coaches and fellow attendees at breakfast and check-in. After a hearty meal, we all gathered under a large tent where we’d meet throughout the weekend. The head coach Kevin welcomed us, giving a detailed rundown of how the weekend would unfold and any crucial information we’d need. Each coach introduced themselves, sharing a bit about their background and passion for mountain biking.

Our first stop was the indoor park facility (HTC) where we stretched and warmed up. Once we were all limbered up, we split into our smaller groups to get started. We began by discussing our current skill levels and what we hoped to achieve over the weekend. Diving right into fundamentals, we worked on techniques to help us progress faster in the skills park. With a few pointers and newfound confidence, we headed to the chairlift for our first trail runs.

On those initial runs, we practiced the skills we’d just learned, stopping occasionally to focus on specific trail sections. Our coach videotaped us, offering valuable feedback to help us improve. As the day went on, we pushed our limits and tackled more challenging features. By the end of day one, everyone in my group had made noticeable progress and already formed a tight-knit bond. Dinner was filled with laughter and stories, as if we’d known each other forever. The evening ended perfectly with a campfire, where we chatted about the day’s adventures before heading to bed for some much-needed rest.

Day 2: Dialing In and Going Big

Saturday morning was filled with high-fives and smiles as we fueled up with a hearty breakfast and coffee. We quickly regrouped, did some stretches, and hit the mountain. The day started at the jump park, where we honed our techniques for bunny hops and popping off lips. Feeling confident, we took our skills to the trails. After a few laps down a trail called Hellion, our jumping abilities soared, leaving us all craving a burrito break.

Refueled and ready, we tackled some technical trails, discussing the best line choices and why they worked. By the next run, our efficiency and speed through these trails had significantly improved. As the day wrapped up, we enjoyed a few chairlift rides under bluebird skies, with party laps full of hoots and hollers.

We ended the day with a taco feast, sharing stories of our accomplishments and the jumps and drops that had initially intimidated us but now felt like victories. With day two successfully in the books, we were eager to rest up for the final day.

Day 3: Checking Off Goals and Celebrating Achievements

Sunday morning, we arrived a bit tired but determined to check off the goals we’d set at the beginning of the weekend. We started with some chill laps on green trails, gradually building up to bigger drops and jumps. A few brave souls conquered the Reef Drop and other large features throughout the park. Lunch was a time to relax, share our successes, and prepare for the afternoon’s fun.

Our goal for the rest of the day was simple: have fun and stay injury-free. We joined multiple groups for some party laps, making the most of our final hours together. As the sun set and dinner was served, we reflected on our incredible progress, the skills we’d learned, and the friendships we’d forged. The weekend had been transformative, and it was amazing to see how much progress everyone made with the right coaching and support.

Highland Adult Ayr Academy was more than just a camp; it was an unforgettable experience that left us all with valuable skills, newfound confidence, and lifelong friends. A huge thank you to Highland Bike Park and all the coaches for organizing such an amazing event. I’ll definitely be back for more and to help others achieve their goals, just as I did.

If you’re looking to up your mountain biking game and make some great memories along the way, Highland Sessions is the place to be. See you on the trails!

Words and Photos by Tony Campono.