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10 Tips for Mountain Biking in Sand.

10 Tips for Mountain Biking in Sand.

Its fall and time to start heading south to ride which means desert riding season is upon us!  Riding in deep sand can be frustrating experience. If you follow these tips it will be much more enjoyable.

1. When trying to apply power in a straight line, sit back on your saddle a little and pedal forward like on a recumbent (so the “bottom” of your pedal stroke is about 4 o’clock instead of 6). Missy Giove taught me this 15 years ago in Moab and it really works.
2. Use an easy gear (pushing a hard gear will dig you down into the sand) and be realistic about your speed. You will not be able to accelerate quickly or even maintain much speed in deep sand.
3.  When going from hard pack to sand realize that this is going to suddenly slow you down. Although I always stress riding with your weight centered on your bike, this is one of those instances where you want to get your weight back a little as you transition from hard pack to sand. If you hit sand centered you will immediately be forward as your bike will slow down in the sand but your body will keep going forward.
4. When coasting, stand and shift your weight back a little so the front tire doesn’t sink in.
5. Don’t worry if you get a little off line, as long as you are vaguely going where you want to go
you are fine.
6. Do not steer! Changing directions in sand is done gradually by leaning/using counter pressure, trying to quickly change direction will make your front tire “crab” and dig into the sand.
7. Stay centered on your bike in corners, the urge to “creep back” will take weight off the front wheel (good in a straight line in sand bad in a corner) causing it to slide out.
8. Look ahead, where you want to go (I know that you already know this but you aren’t doing it), I stress this a lot because it is huge! Looking ahead is not 3 feet in front of you (the last time you stopped in sand where were you looking, that’s right, you were looking right where you stopped, it is so easy to say, “yeah, I know to look ahead” but it is very hard to actually look ahead (2-10 seconds ahead on the trail)). We spend 45 minutes explaining vision, how to use it correctly while riding and doing vision drills in our BetterRide camps and clinics and then expect you to spend the next 3-8 years doing the drills we teach to master this. Knowing to do something is way different than actually doing it.

9. Relax! Relax your grip, breath, smile and don’t fight the sand (as it will win).

10. Wide tires really help you float on top of the sand. If you are headed to Moab or other areas with a lot of sand a big 2.3-2.5 inch tire with big tread will help greatly in the sand.

More Praise for Andy and the BetterRide Core Skills Progression!

Hi Gene,

Thank you for creating what has been one of the best learning experiences of our lives.  We traveled all the way from Australia to attend your camp in Golden, Colorado and it was worth every penny! Andy was a fantastic teacher with great personal skills. He has our highest commendation for creating a safe, exciting and fun environment for learning.

It is refreshing to find someone who understands their field well enough to be able to deconstruct difficult and often hard to pinpoint concepts. This is a rare talent. We appreciate all of the careful thought that you and Andy have put into creating the mountain bike skills curriculum. The content was well-organized into different sections, and logically progressed from foundational skills (like body position and braking) to more difficult skills (like cornering). It is obvious that you have spent a lot of time not only thinking about how to mountain bike, but also how to teach it to others.

Learning these mountain biking skills has truly made us “betterriders”.  Thank you for the opportunity to attend your camp and we look forward to attending a core skills camp #2 !

Sincerely,
Tracy and Matt from Canberra, Australia

Is Andy Winohradsky a better mountain bike coach than Gene Hamilton?!

Wow, considering Andy does a few less camps than me each year it is amazing how many glowing emails I get about his coaching! My goal in hiring Andy was to create the best coach in the sport who could duplicate/replace me.  I thought  by fusing his enthusiasm, incredible riding skills and skills knowledge with the coaching techniques I have learned over the last 20 years he would become a really good coach but I am blown away by emails like this:

“Hi Gene,

I was just now sitting at my computer thinking of emailing you when this email popped up at the inbox.  (I had just emailed him the first of many follow up emails to his camp)

Thanks so much for making available such a great bike skills camp.  Like I was telling Andy as we were finishing up last Sunday, I did my research and knew you guys had a good course but it really exceeded my expectations. Your course has given me the foundational skills and empowered me to be the best rider I can according to the effort I put into practicing and working on the skills taught.  Andy is a great person, instructor and bike handler. Also thanks for sending the good info with this email, I really like the figure 8 drill and plan on making it a staple of my practice time.

Thanks—Charles Wallace”

Notice the “great person” comment. Charles is at least the third person this year to mention what a great person Andy is. Hearing this really makes me happy as it has been scary to hand my baby over to other coaches.  It feels good to know I have such a great coach working for me.  It also forces me to step up and continue to improve my coaching as I can’t let Andy beat a coaching, he has already beat me on the race course enough!

Thanks Andy, for you continue to impress me and our students.