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MTB Skills Factory: Making a big impact through professional MTB coaching

September 21, 2022 4 min read

In addition to being a nationally known MTB apparel brand, we launched a full-scale Custom MTB Apparel Program for non-profit trail clubs, bike shops, ride groups, industry partners, race teams, and privately owned businesses. We focus on giving our customers the same high-quality performance gear that Cognative is known for and help non-profit trail clubs fundraise through merchandise sales. As a result of the success of our program, we often meet amazing people in the industry, and we want to share their stories in hopes you'll give them a follow on social media, help support their cause or utilize their services. 


At Cognative, we thrive on sharing stories about how mountain biking changes lives for the better. And there seems to be a common thread throughout all the stories we hear: "we like to ride bikes, and we're trying to build and educate a community." In growing forward and listening to our community, we've adopted a new slogan, Ride Bikes, Build Community, so that's what we're setting out to do through sharing stories, supporting others, and riding bikes.   


So we'd like to introduce you to Josh Whitmore, Owner / Head Coach of the MTB Skills Factory. Josh is a PMBIA Level 3 "AIR" and "TECH," Instructor-Trainer PMBIA, Wilderness First Responder, and 2018 XCM National Champion in the 40+ age group. We met Josh through our custom program, where we hooked him up with some amazing jerseys, but we also got the chance to get to know him and felt compelled to share his story and how he's making a big impact through professional coaching. 

MTB Skills Factory


How did MTB Skills Factory come about? A native of Brevard, I started teaching mountain bike skills lessons in the late 90s at local summer camps. After retiring from full-time racing, I started coaching as my primary profession in 2012. As the popularity of mountain biking grew, I was booking sessions 2+ months in advance, and that was with no advertising. I was turning away a ton of work due to not being available to meet all the inquiries. In 2021, I decided to expand my business, brand it with a name (other than my name), and hire other MTB instructors to teach with me. Hence, MTB Skills Factory was born. 

Josh Whitmore Ride Kanuga MTB Skills Factory


Who is involved, And how does it help the MTB Industry? CurrentlyI have four part-time instructors working for us. We're the official skills school for Ride Kanuga Bike Park, but we also teach in DuPont, Pisgah, and other global locations. We aim to raise the bar for MTB skills instruction by bringing high levels of excellence and professionalism to the field. The idea behind this is that individual skill levels often limit the number of trails we can ride safely and confidently. We'd love to teach people how to ride better, more intentionally, and with more control so they can access more trails and have more fun! There are three ways we can do this:


Intentional Skills Instruction- People can learn how to ride by trial and error, figuring it out as they go, and I bet that is how most of us learned to ride. However, through Intentional Skills Instruction, we can have a trained and certified coach help us understand and progress much more efficiently. The coach can teach proven riding techniques quickly and help us avoid developing bad habits. They can also help us keep progressing when we plateau and need some breakthroughs for improvement. 


Focused Practice- Sure, we could learn from watching videos or reading how-to's, but nothing beats practicing specific drills with a coach on natural trail terrain with actual features. A coach can break things down into individual skill components and help you focus and develop that skill through drills and practice. 


Thoughtful Analysis and Feedback- Some instructional resources, like how-to videos, are available on the internet. Some are great instructions, and some are utter crap. The bottom line is they all lack any feedback for you as the actual rider. A good coach constantly analyzes performance and the skill you are working on with real-time feedback. So often, we think we're doing the right thing, but only a trained eye can spot the areas we can improve.


Do you see space for improvement in the industry, and how could we make changes? Absolutely! I believe we can all work together to break down barriers to entry and participation in the sport. We aim to create a welcoming and safe space for everyone to participate and empower them to continue progressing through intentional skills instruction. 


What are the future goals for MTB Skills Factory? We aim to be an industry leader and model for high-quality, professional MTB skills instruction. In addition, we're continuing to expand what we offer to the Community, including more options for private lessons, more group clinics, and starting a kid's program in 2023. 


How can we (the public) help MTB Skills Factory succeed? It would be great to help educate the Community about quality MTB skills instruction. For example, is your instructor certified and insured? What is their level of emergency medical training? Do they have permission / commercial user permit to teach on the land you are riding on? Are they following industry standards for emergency action plans, risk management, and ongoing evaluation/training? 


Why did you choose Cognative MTB for your custom merchandise? High quality, full custom product at a reasonable price. Local company, small enough to actually know the people I'm working with. Company values are in-line with my company values. Interested in Cognative Custom? Click here

Cognative MTB MTB Skills Factory Jersey


How would you like the industry to view your brand, and what message/story are you trying to tell? We want to be viewed by the industry as Professional, High Quality, Fun, Inspiring, Welcoming, Precise, Certified/Licensed/Insured, Empowering, Methodical, Inclusive, Precise, Efficient, Custom, Supportive, and "Mom Approved."    



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