There is a lot of sound advice out there suggesting that if you want to get better, ride with people better than you. Absolutely. But there’s another perspective that says you can make significant improvements by riding with newbies. Here’s how: As you start to master mountain biking, much of what you do moves out of conscious awareness. Most of your skill becomes hardwired which is a great thing. It frees up space to learn new skills which propel you to ever higher levels of mastery.
Teaching newbies moves your mind in the complete opposite direction. You bring skills that you now take for granted back into conscious awareness. How is this helpful? Besides the satisfaction of introducing a great sport to initiates, teaching is like taking a refresher course. Through instruction you become hyper aware of whatever deficiencies may have snuck into your riding habits while you weren’t looking and you have a chance, even an obligation, to refine them. As a result, your fundamentals improve where otherwise they would’ve been neglected indefinitely.