Railing Corners, maintaining body position while braking for corner.

Interesting braking and cornering question asked by one of my students:

“Just a quick follow up question.  I have been having a problem getting out of position before cornering, primarily caused by hard braking (especially if there are rough terrain before the corner or if I come in too hot).  As I brake, my body gets behind the center and lower as well, and by the time I start entering the corner, I am out of the “attack” position.  My front wheel feels light, and it becomes difficult to get in the correct cornering body position.

If you have suggestions as to how to properly transition from braking into cornering (especially under hard braking), I would appreciate it.”

Interesting question, I have been working on the same issue, especially last weekend at Snowmass. The problem stems from getting back while we brake, getting low is good but we need to stay more centered so when we release the brakes and the bike accelerates we are centered and ready to attack the corner.  I was taught the old school, “get way back while you brake” which does help the rear brake a bit but actually hurts the effectiveness of the much more powerful front brake.  Getting back also puts me out of balance and makes it hard to corner correctly.  My entire focus at the last two races has been to stay centered as I brake, use A LOT of front brake and then let off and attack the corner. Believe me, the entrances to these corners are really rough and brake bumped, but you can still stay centered. When working with Greg Minnaar he really stresses this. It sounds scary but once you do it you realize two things: 1. you can brake in a much shorter distance with more control (less front wheel slide) 2. you are in a much better position to corner when you let off the brakes. This is another reason to practice the braking drills from the camp you took.

As always it comes down to doing drills to master skills then practicing with purpose and a focus on quality!

Create a railed corner (or two)!

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  1. Ned says:

    After taking your camp I came back to the home trails and found myself struggling with staying centered on the bike, having to bob and weave around vegetation wasn’t something we had to deal with in Fruita. Eventually I resigned myself to just getting beat by the bushes but was riding smoother and faster. Braking was my other big struggle since you often can’t see around the whole corner which makes it difficult to judge your speed. I started focusing on using the front brake as much as possible and what a difference it’s made. I’ve retrained myself to use it to the point of making it “growl” which I use as a cue to let me know I’m getting the most out of it. To stay centered and not get thrown over the front and keep traction on both wheels I focus on weighting my feet, sort of rolling my heels down to keep from sliding off my flat pedals, and it took a lot of the pressure off my hands too. I don’t feel like I need to get way off the back to keep control as long as I keep that weight on my feet. When I first started doing this I was actually riding slower since I was still using the same braking points but was dropping speed MUCH faster. Once I found new braking points and got used to slowing down that much I started riding faster! Hope this is something helpful you can pass onto your students, it’s helped me out tons and I unlock just a bit more speed every week it seems.

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