Self-regulated Learners: Masters of Their Own Learning: Part 6

Screen Shot 2019-08-01 at 1.18.45 PM

Photo credit:  W. McKenzie 

Here is the completed monitoring document for my PME 800 inquiry project. 

Distal Goal By 18:00 hr, August 7, 2019, I will bike 90% or more of the Goosebumps mountain bike trail, with a self-reported score of 3 or less on the Scared Scale (SS) upon completion of the ride.  

Scared Scale

1) I am in the flow!

2) I am having fun!

3) I am a bit scared but bring it on!

4) I am getting scared

5) I am getting off my bike and walking

6) I think I am going to throw up


Proximal Goal/Date: Determine basic skills required to meet goal/assess resources/explore for barriers to achieving goal: July 14/19

Goal met: July 16/19

Updates: Truck broke down and in need of extension repairs so out of commission for next 3 weeks (July 18 – approx. Aug 9).

July 19: Was able to take off wheels and cram the bike to my car.


Was surprised at how helpful the mountain biking (MTB) videos were (see resources at bottom of document.

 MTB Tips:

  • Stay relaxed – if at a 4 on SS, walk , check it out, defer until I feel ready to do it
  • Session skills – do them over and over until I get it
  • Focus on what you want to do! (not what you don’t want to do ie fall)
  • Start where you are. It’s all about your ride not trying to keep up with someone else
  • Look where you want to go not where you don’t want to go
  • Become comfortable moving on your body on the bike

SRL tips:

  • Set SMART distal goal with support from experts
  • Develop proximal goals in collaboration with experts to help meet distal goal and encourage motivation. Proximal goals will help to establish effective strategies, track progress and provide foundation for feedback
  • Reflection following performance will allow for evaluation of effectiveness of strategies including emotional regulation

Reflections and Insights:

By validating that the fear is real and taking measures to increase confidence I predict that I be able to relax more and therefore will be able to perform skills better on the bike which will increase self-efficacy. By breaking down my distal goal into smaller focused goals I will build the skills and figure out effective strategies for meeting distal goal.


Proximal Goal/Date: Ride Snakes and Ladders and Connector trails and assess effectiveness of Scared Scale (SS). Develop questions for self-reflection: July 15/19

Goal met: July 15/19


Tips for self-regulation (Jenson, 2011):

  • Explicitly identify goals & strategies used to achieve goals
  • Reflection questions: what did you learn, what did you learn about the processes, what will you repeat, what would you do again?

Tips for reflection (Jenson, 2011):

  • Identify purpose to activity
  • Why is it important to do this now?
  • Is this activity applicable for other learning in the future?

Read Wolters (2003) today (July 23) and it got me thinking about the importance of self-talk to regulate motivation. Forcing myself to do a task (focusing on goal completion) will only generate more stress which will increase the likelihood of crashing as I will be tense and will not be able to react instinctually to the terrain. Providing genuine positive feedback like rewarding myself with a wahoo for doing something well in my journey towards meeting the goal will help me relax and will build self-confidence. It will also help me to look forward to the next time biking vs dreading it.

Reflections and Insights:

In order to self-regulate there needs to be an awareness of goals and strategies used and reflection on effectiveness, and applicability present/future. Self-reflection needs to include an understanding of how learning can be applied to this and other contexts. Ensuring the integration of mechanisms for emotional/affect regulation within processes and proximal goals will support learning by creating a safe learning zone and increasing confidence


Proximal Goal/Date: Be able to do a full square with body while on the bike. Be able to angle bike to side when turning. Be able to turn bike around corners using just my body. Be able to move behind bike seat when going down a steep pitch July 17 – 21/19

Goal partially met July 21/2019. Revision: while I am able to shift positions on the bike on wide open, controlled terrain I am still needing a lot more practice to have these movements become instinctual on more challenging terrain.

Goal revision is to first do these skills on a wide open, controlled terrain and then be able to do them on increasingly challenging terrain:

  • Bumps
  • Corners
  • Roots and rocks
  • Steeps
  • Combinations of above


Tips from MTB videos and from mentors:

Body position

  • Ready position
  • Arms bent
  • Knees bent
    • Soak up the bumps
  • Counter braking by moving back on bike
  • Head up looking ahead
  • Look where you want to go
  • Lower centre of gravity –when turning, going down steeps
  • Think of hips making plumb line to bike’s centre of gravity – use arc of movement to create balance with changing terrain
  • Turning into the corner – hips to outside of saddle, drop outside pedal

Line choice

  • Find smooth lines – experiment


  • Brake before the turn if possible, always come off front brake
  • Feather brakes


  • Keep steady smooth circle with pedalling vs stomping down when going uphill
  • If seated will keep better traction going up hill

Reflections & Insights

MTB involves being able to instinctually counter terrain features with body movements to maintain centre of gravity of the bike and traction.

I am still reacting to terrain features by tensing my body overworking the brakes. I still need to work on making these movements instinctual and fluid.


Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 10.05.27 AM

Photo credit: R. McKenzie

Proximal Goal/Date: Film myself doing a lap on the pump track July 22/19

Goal met:  July 23/19


Tips from video and mentors:

  • Position body back on bike when going up lumps and compress down (drive forward) into the bottom of slope
  • Drive into the corners. Start high and end low use angle of corner to help turn

Reflections & Insights

When in the middle of challenging performance it is really hard to be able to view yourself in a sort of 3rd person way and self-correct. This is where feedback from an external source is vital (video is a perfect tool for this).

Here is a link to the video 

Proximal Goal/Date: Be able to ride the ramp on Snakes and Ladders with a SS rating of 3 or less July 24/19

Goal partially met: July 24/19 SS of 4

Rode over ramp in sequence after rooty and rocky section – required a tight turn to get over ramp. SS was at a 4

Goal revision: Focusing only on ramps is not reflective of trails in area are there are lots of rocks and rooty sections. Goal should therefore state: Be able to ride the ramp on Snakes and Ladders and roots and rock sections with a SS rating of 4 or less July 24/19



  • Lift front tire to go over hazards/roots
  • Try to hit roots straight on
  • Scan for roots that are going in a straight line forward – avoid them
  • Bunny hop over them
  • Avoid braking when going over them

Reflections & Insights

Writing down in my journal about what went well and why helped me to identify effective strategies that I was using as I was alone and was not able to get feedback from another source. I found it really hard to relax after I had pushed myself to go over technical sections.

I found an article that looks at the characteristics of MTB and their perceived links to mental health and well being and found it interesting as the reasons listed for wanting to bike are very much my reasons to want to bike; paradoxically, while it causes me stress if I push myself too hard, it helps me feel better mentally and physically too. I see how applying SRL will help me be able to build the skills (self-efficacy) I need to be able to ride the technically challenging trails where I live so that I can help myself feel better mentally and physically (which is the underlying internal motivation to want to bike).


Proximal Goal/Date: Be able to ride a lap of the pump track with a SS of 3 or less July 25/19

Goal met: July 23/19

Reflections & Insights

Was able to ride multiple laps on the pump track with increasing complexity – was only able to ride 1 small lap less than a week ago as SS rating was a 4. I think it went better because I had practiced moving on the bike more ahead of time and had gained more confidence being on the bike.

Changing up the terrain in terms of complexity and location seems to be helping me to not fixate on any one issue but to see each ride as a new challenge. This is developing skills and confidence.


Proximal Goal/Date: Be able to link together 5 bermed corners on Fairly High Trail with a SS rating of 3 or less July 29/19

Goal met: July 25/19

Reflections & Insights

Rode 3 km of Fairly High and linked together > 5 bermed corners, rode over ramps and had a great time! SS 2

Was totally surprised at how confident I felt. Had a couple of tight corners but was able to pull through. What helped a lot was applying the strategies l learned from the videos about positioning on the berm, braking and centering myself on the bike. I was a bit nervous on some of the corners was able to monitor myself during or after the corner and could apply revisions for the next corner.

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 6.50.50 AM

Photo credit: R.McKenzie

Here is a link to the video 


Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 2.03.27 PM

Photo credit: R. McKenzie

Proximal Goal/Date: Film myself doing a lap on the pump track Aug 3/19

Goal met: July 28/19

Reflections & Insights

Was able to go much faster due to improved technique on pump track! Video was helpful to see the difference between the video done 5 days ago and today. What I am noticing now is that as I am starting to understand how to do the correct technique and when I do it, it feels better so this is providing me with additional feedback.

I also noticed that I was feeling relaxed and in the flow for the pump track but hit a SS of 4 on the MTB practice sections. Realized I was focusing on each rock and root instead of looking at the big picture of where I want to go. Used the motto – ‘shop for what you want’! In other words don’t focus on every detail but look ahead and see where you want to go and realize that unlike running, my tires will not hook on every root and rock but will roll over it unless very large.

Here is the link to the video


Proximal Goal/Date: Ride 6 different MTB trails with a target SS score of 4 or less July 17-Aug 7/19

Goal met: July 31/19

Reflections & Insights 

Riding different trails was an exciting challenge. I did not always know what each trail had in store for me so this made me a bit more nervous but also prevented me from building up anxiety from the anticipation of challenges I knew would be just up ahead.

I was surprised that the time I rode alone I actually enjoyed it as I could take my time and settle into my own rhythm.

I rode the lower part of Goosebumps and was at a 4 – almost 5 on the SS as I was so focused on every root and rock on the trail unlike how I approached other trails. I practiced on the one part until I could ride it clean but really had to work on reducing anxiety with positive self-talk and by focusing on effective strategies like looking ahead.


Proximal Goal/Date: Post up progress report on onQ July 30 – Aug 8/19

Goal met:  July 29/19

Reflections & Insights

Posting up my reflections about my progress provided me with insight about much I was actually learning about SRL through this inquiry project. Outlining my challenges made me feel a bit depressed about it all but also allowed me to focus on what I needed to do which included making the decision to bump up the distal goal deadline by 1 week.


Distal Goal/Date: By 18:00 hr, August 7, 2019, I will bike 90% or more of the mountain bike trail, Goosebumps, with a self-reported score of 3 or less on the Scared Scale upon completion of the ride. 

Goal met:  August 1/19 Rode all of the trail with a SS of 3 at completion of the ride! 

Reflections & Insights

Completing this goal was a real mixed bag of emotions. I was really happy I had meet the goal, but it had felt rushed as I would have liked a bit more practice time, but trying to stuff the bike in the car wasn’t going well as the derailer was getting smacked around in the process and this was starting to impact shifting. Also work commitments were ramping up making additional practice and even completion of the goal for next week very challenging.

Additionally, I was disappointed that I was feeling tired and sore going into the ride. It’s funny, I had no idea until now that I had envisioned that it would feel like a triumphant ride down the trail instead of it becoming a ‘just get it done’ ride. Doing the ride in the early morning (which is not my best time for athletic endeavours) may have also compounded this feeling.

I also found that I was really nervous at the start of the ride. I had spent the last 4 weeks fussing about how hard the trail was every time I ran up and down the trail so now every rock and root had enlarged 10 fold and every ramp had shrunk in width by 50% from what it actually was. I had to work hard to reduce the anxiety at the top of the ride so that I could be ready to embrace the challenge and stay at a 3 or less on the SS for the ride down. Focusing on the strategies I had been practicing and using positive self-talk was helpful. It would have been nice to have another rider to follow as well, but I was riding alone so had to trust myself to get into the flow. I think that this also helped to increase my focus on executing the strategies I knew worked. 

I felt sad too after it was all said and done and it took me a bit to realize that it was the fact that the goal was completed. As I contemplated this further it sunk in that self-regulated learning isn’t about just completing distal goals, it’s about taking this learning and carrying it forward to the next learning. So, now (and I write this with a big smile on my face) this distal goal I just met is really the first proximal goal for my next distal goal – biking Frisby Ridge in Revelstoke in October (SS of 3 or less!)

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 10.46.13 AM

Photo credit: W. McKenzie 

Self-regulated Learners: Masters of Their Own Learning: Part 7 will provide a summary of my final reflections about self-regulated learning and future applications for myself professionally and  personally.


There are a lot of mountain biking (MTB) videos out there. Some are down right scary in so many ways! Luckily I found a whole series of MTB videos that are produced by Global Mountain Bike Network that are really solid in regards to technique and recommendations for being safe on your bike.

Here are the ones I focused on:

Building Confidence MB video

Top 10 Ways to build confidence video

MB handling tips video

How to ride a pump track video

Beginner Guide to Riding Roots

10 MTB Tips for Beginners

How to corner with confidence video

Here are some articles I used

6 Ways to Gain Mountain Biking Confidence (article)

The article below (not about MTB) is a really interesting read from a university prof  (UMD) that did an 8 year research project on promoting self-regulation and critical reflection with her students. (I used it to help me think about self-reflection questions I wanted to ask myself following every ride in my journal). 

Jenson, J.D., (2011) Promoting Self-regulation and Critical Reflection
Through Writing Students’ Use of Electronic Portfolio International Journal of ePortfolio Volume 1, Number 1, 49-60. Retrieved from:

Wolters, C.A., (2003) Regulation of Motivation: Evaluating an Underemphasized Aspect of Self-Regulated Learning Educational Psychologist 38(4) p 189-205 

The article below is about MTB but was another interesting read about why people ride.

Why Do You Ride?: A Characterization of Mountain Bikers, Their Engagement Methods, and Perceived Links to Mental Health and Well-Being 

People resources:

Rachel (my daughter)

She has been MTB riding since she was 11 (so for 13 years now). She can MTB anything and is a great support and mentor. She has also worked hard to overcome some serious very injuries; she understands what it means to face the fear of MTB.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s