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Thread: I suck at downhilling
07-11-2012, 05:41 PM #51
My biggest "DUH" moment was the day I figured out that I have a dominant foot when jumping. I could not for the life of me figure out why some attempts through a rhythm set at our local dirtjumps would be successful, while others were terrible with me bailing out after one or two sets. It took some over-analyzing, but it finally dawned on me the culprit was which foot I had forward. When I told other people of my findings, they looked at me like "Well, yeah. Ya retart. Everyone knows that."
Since then I've worked on being moar bi-footal, some days it works... other days "Not so good, Al."ProjectBaja.com :: Donate to our project and help me race the Baja 1000!
The older I get, the faster I was.
07-11-2012, 06:05 PM #52
Something I practice a lot just riding to work and back, or whenever the opportunity arises, is riding no hands and steering around corners or weaving back and forth. It helps me feel my balance on the bike and how just using hips & ass to push the saddle out one way, I can steer the whole thing but still stay over it. Or, stand with the pedals at 3 & 9, hold the saddle nose with your knees, and do the same kind of no hands drills steering the bike with your legs. Last, something I've done practicing for cross is to pull one leg all the way over the bike like I'm going to do a running dismount, then lean the bike over 20-30 degrees and just ride it straight until I run out of momentum. Can be a nice stretch, and it reenforces the idea that you and the bike can move separately and still be in control. Ultimately it's all about balance and confidence.
07-11-2012, 06:45 PM #53
I don't do the big bike thing, but here's another vid on cornering that gave me instant results.
07-11-2012, 06:52 PM #54
Hell, I took my rear brake off entirely. Lately, I am just into skidding my front tire into berms. It's rad. Gives jumps a whole new flavor, too!
07-11-2012, 07:42 PM #55
My friends and I decided to go CamelBak-less this year. Way more better! Except when you flat. But then there's cute bike patrol boys to pick you up. Pros and cons to everything.There are two rules to life...
*Speed is your friend.
*When in doubt, air it out.
Life. Liberty. And the pursuit of Shred!!!!
07-11-2012, 07:43 PM #56yelgatgab
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
- Shadynasty's Jazz Club
The above quote bugs me, so I want to clarify that while I mentioned front braking, my point was related to braking in corners in general.
I think the points woo and flow make are really good, but they complicate matters. Written technical advice is hard enough to put into practice, then you start adding things like late braking, trail braking, late apexes. For me, putting to practice the absolute basics, and then learning how the bike responds has always worked. In addition, you guys are already pushing your bikes to the absolute limits of handling. You're comfortable setting up the bike for the apex, leaning the bike and literally carving a turn...using the brakes to make small adjustments if necessary. The average rider, myself definitely included, likely isn't getting the absolute most out of his or her bike. So, the advice to scrub speed before the turn, keep off the brakes through the apex and carry speed is substantial. That's something my mind can grasp as I'm hitting a corner. I know I can hit this corner faster, and I know I need to brake less to do it, and I know that if I get spooked and grab the brakes mid-apex, I'm going to straighten up, the knee is going to come out, the foot is going to drop, etc, etc. For me, it's better to just stick to the basics. Slow down, look through the turn, lean the bike, feel the tires engage, feel the suspension load up, and push the bike through the turn. Okay, that felt good, but I wasn't going that fast. So, do it again, only faster. I'm about to enter this corner, I need to carry speed I'm a lot less comfy with - lean bike/stay off brakes is about all my scaredshitless brain can handle. Sure, feathering a little is going to be better than hauling it in with reckless abandon, but here's the thing. I'm already beyond my comfort zone. Once I feel like the bike is going to give up (which it isn't), making small adjustments is out the window. And, hell yes I brake in turns, especially when I'm not supposed to. Fortunately, the dirt here is like riding on grip tape compared to Utah, so comparatively, I feel like I'm cornering fast.
So, having babbled all that crap, I think oversimplifying has its place for the non-pro rider types, like myself (though I've just over-oversimplified). That's why I like marshal's advice. That's something an intermediate rider can take and build on. If in 10 years, they're still overshooting steep fall-line to scrub turns because they don't know to brake, then they're never going to learn. If boob is a semi-pro looking to move up, then he can ignore what I said. And I'll reiterate the fact that, going out and riding with woo/flow/marshal/whomever is going go infinitely further in developing skill than reading what they have to say. In my experience, even at resorts where regulars will point and make fun of you for wearing a full face with sunglasses, it's really not that hard to get a good, solid rider to show you a thing or two.
Now that I've dug my hole, can somebody toss down a blanket and pillow?Remind me. We'll send him a red cap and a Speedo.
07-11-2012, 07:47 PM #57
Never wear goggles on a road ride, either.
07-11-2012, 08:19 PM #58
Riding with better/faster riders, IMO, is the best advice EVAR. Many of ya'll in this thread could be riding tricycles and still ride me into the ground.
I'm still a DH hack, and timid with air time, but lift riding and riding with faster/better riders has made me a better rider, particularly at getting more comfortable with faster speeds. Slow speed technical is my forte, and getting out of that and more comfortable with mach retarded is a good thing. Still timid in the air, especially with full on jumps/gaps, but one thing at a time I guess.
Currently working more on my cornering and gapping over stuff in general. It's fun, and has very good results at improving my trail riding, which is what good since I rarely get to ride DH/lift stuff anyhow.
Paying more attention to my suspension setups front and rear, and running wheels/tires I feel confident in has made a big improvement as well.Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper
07-11-2012, 08:26 PM #59
I have to constantly remind myself to get off the f brake in turns. I usually find myself coming in super hot and late and end up letting go of the lever out of pure self preservation. The times where I am on point and straight up butter a steep techy turn I get all proud.
Honestly I just think a confidence in your bike, tires and cartoon physics is one of the most valuable things to grasp.Bike Shop Bully
07-11-2012, 09:37 PM #60
Honestly......I never think about any of this stuff. I just try to always go faster and think I just quit doing things that hindered that goal.
It's not like the first capable people on bikes took lessons. The 'technique' junk comes from guys like lee mcCormack who try to figure out what he's doing differently than guys going faster and come up with 'rules' that no one he's emulating ever considered. Aaron gwinn going through a turn looks nothing like mitch ropeloto but they both go faster than most. Who's right? You can say gwinn because he wins races but I'd much rather ride like mitch
Just go ride. A lot.
And don't buy schwalbe tires.STRAVA: Enabling dorks everywhere to get trails shut down........ all for the sake of a race on the internet.
07-11-2012, 09:44 PM #61Registered User
- Join Date
- Jan 2010
I'm going to add something I learned from roadracing motorcycles which applies to bikes just as well.
The tighter you grab on to the grips, the less front traction you'll have. The front tire will make all kinds of little steering adjustments to optimize traction just fine without any input from the rider. A death grip just gets in the way of that process.
That relates to this thread because I had to practice separating squeezing the brakes from squeezing the bar. It's natural, if you're flying into a corner too hot and you need dump speed quickly, to clamp down with your whole hand, but if you do that, you're giving up vital traction.
Of course, you've got to hold on well enough to stay on the bike.
07-11-2012, 11:04 PM #62Registered User
All I want is to be hardcore.
- Join Date
- Aug 2008
07-11-2012, 11:53 PM #63
There's been lots of good advice and discussion so far, thanks guys.
The point above from hitek is pretty valid for me. I started snowboarding when I was 20 and never bothered with lessons. I started skiing 10 years later and a lesson to understand the technique etc made a huge difference. I'm a desk-jockey who tries to get out and ride nearly every weekend - I can't ride heaps more than I already do. The guys I ride with are faster, but they're improving as well. I need to improve more to catch up.
Anyway, keep it coming
07-12-2012, 07:28 AM #64
1. Go back to when you were 8 and get a BMX bike.
2. Ride it every waking hour until you figure out BMX and playing in your fort ain't cool anymore
3. Buy some POS Diamond Bike "MTB" and ride it on every hiking trail you can find.
4. In the 90s, never give in to the spandex craze. Ride your XC race bike like a freeride bike before freeride existing. (This will = lots of hospital visits but it's worth it).
5. When you can finally afford a good FS bike, JUST FUKKIN' PIN IT!!! This is key. Bikes these days are able to go so much faster than most riders, myself included, are willing to go. Have faith and PIN IT!!!
Without sounding like a dick (hard to do on the webs) riding a bike is riding a bike. Those that are the most fluid and natural on the DH or Trail or AM or XC bikes are those who have never stopped riding a bike since they were a kid. So if you want to get good at riding a bike, put on the miles. Flat track your cruiser while walking the dog, trials up on every boulder while your waiting for your girl on the XC ride, try to manual though sections of trail that you use to bounce down.
I'm not saying that the advanced techniques are not helpful, but you got to get to the point where the basics are automatic. When are where to use f and r brake, lightly gripping the bars, which pedal to have in what o'clock, suspension compression before jumping. You've got to able to feel this shit.
GO RIDE YOUR BIKE!!!
07-12-2012, 08:02 AM #65
That's so true.
I wish I'd started riding mountain bikes earlier (started when I was 20 and got my license suspended for too many speeding tickets), but truth be told mountain bikes were really really really stupid until about 1997. I made fun of them and just kept riding skateboards.STRAVA: Enabling dorks everywhere to get trails shut down........ all for the sake of a race on the internet.
07-12-2012, 08:36 AM #66
No Woo, mountain bike riders were stupid in 1997, most still area. All bikes have and will always be totally fucking cool. See skateboarders make the best mountain bikers. All these "moves" and "tricks" with names like "wheelie-drops" and "manuals" and what's the name of the one that's like a "bunny hop" but you pull the front end up first so it should be called an "ollie" are really just skateboarding.
Really, skateboarding is where it's at. We should start a skateboarding fourm. I'm changing my advise, the best way to get good at biking is to buy a skateboard. It's really got it all, stupid fashions - check, a scene because ya know you've got to be the part 24/7 - check, cool stickers, you've got to have cool stickers - check.
Oh wait, it's too fuckin' hard. Have you ever seen an adult try to learn now to skate? Is there anything more humorous than watching a half coordinated 40 yr. old try and ollie? it's like watching a retard throw a frisbee -- painful.
When I'm too tired to go on a ride after work, I just head down to the skatepark, carve the bowl with the old dudes and wonder if I'll ever have enough sack to go for a front side rock-n-roll in the deep end. Aside for the namby pampy "being out in nature" and "good cardio exersise" stuff it really is way cooler than mountain biking. I mean "g-ing out on that corner", "so fast I scared myself", that's every second in the skatepark. [mid life crisis/]
07-12-2012, 09:18 AM #67
Skateboarding was too hard so I took up mountain biking.
07-12-2012, 09:30 AM #68Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
- columbia valley
Don't ever wear a full face with sunglasses (or a camelback for that matter)
07-12-2012, 12:00 PM #69
1) Be a pilot, not a passenger. Actively control the bike at all times, and don't ride it like the suspension is there to bail you out of shit. It IS there to bail you out, but you don't want to ride it as if that's your whole game plan. Use your body as active suspension, sucking the bike up toward you as you go over obstacles, and extending back into the depressions when you clear the obstacle. Also known as "pumping the terrain" in other posts above, like toast's.
2) Try to stay square to the direction of travel, and steady your noggin. It's a lot like skiing in this sense. Keeping a level, quiet torso will help you in surprising ways.
3) Speed IS your friend, but if you just start grip-fisting it everywhere you're gonna reach speeds that may scare you. When that happens, don't panic-brake. Just haul her down with some steady braking.
4) Experiment with braking styles. Lots of riders I watch are coast-and-skid riders. I find that a very jarring, sloppy way to ride, hard to hold speed/momentum. On the other hand, just dragging your brakes all the time is tiring and not fun! Try little pulses of braking.
5) Pay attention to the trail surface, just like you'd pay attention to the snow conditions. Adapt to the conditions.
6) Learn to be loose and let the bike travel in something like a 12" wide stripe. Don't freak yourself out by worrying that the front tire is 4" off line, or the back tire is dancing around. Allow the bike to do a little dancing beneath you.
07-12-2012, 12:22 PM #70
it's all been said already in this thread. just wanted to reinforce the idea of learning what it feels like to have the corner knobs digging in. whether for you it ends up being about the angle of the elbows or the slope of the core hypotenuse or the alignment of the moons of Saturn is irrelevant and can be debated forever online...but, as with skiing, try different gear and technique ideas until you get that carving feeling. for me the key was getting the right bar/stem setup, but YMMV.
other point that can't be overstated is the importance of brakes that work well and tires that grip when brakes are applied. when i upgraded my GF's brakes a few years ago, she immediately rode much faster.
07-12-2012, 12:54 PM #71Registered User
- Join Date
- Aug 2008
What kind of air pressure should I be running for tubed tires? I kind of have a feeling I have way too much air in there right now. I'm running about 35psi front and rear now.All I want is to be hardcore.
07-12-2012, 12:55 PM #72
Tubes? You are spot on, unless you live in rocky chunder.
07-12-2012, 01:24 PM #73
07-12-2012, 01:40 PM #74
Marshall, You mean you don't have rangers with radar guns out on your trails in CO like they do in the Bay Area?!?! Lucky bastards. 15mph speed limits on some trails.
The biggest mistake my XC friends make while descending and, I am convinced the reason why they never improve, is they sit down most of the time. You need to be up out of the saddle. bikes don't work well in rock gardens or while cornering if you are sitting down. You need to be up and active. If you are sitting you will never get the feel that foggy goggles is talking about. the only feeling you will get is a sore ass."A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles."
— Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
07-12-2012, 02:04 PM #75
Go tubeless. Makes DH better.
Lower pressure = better grip. No tubes = better grip.
Wear fucking gloves. This shit with not wearing gloves will end soon. It's dumb as shit.
I might get some shit for this, but get a GoPro and do some follow-cams with your friends. Watching yourself on video will help you improve. There's a reason a lot of athletes review themselves on video.
I guess this should be mentioned. Lower your seat for DH. Should be obvious, but as mentioned, a lot of XC dudes just don't. No reason why you shouldn't.