Often there is not enough detail in mtb advice or it is flat out wrong. This is an example of not quite enough detail. When I first started riding I was taught to rest on the descents (by coasting) to save energy for the climbs. This is partially true but it leaves out a Huge speed adding and energy saving technique. Won’t you like to complete your ride in less time while using less energy?!
The technique is simple, pedal some downhills and rest on the uphills! How is this possible?
One reason I quit racing cross country years ago was it was frustrating being held by riders who were fitter than me but seemed to lack this seemingly common sense skill as well as riding skills. On one rolling section of trail at the Iron Horse Classic in 1994 I was able to maintain what felt like 20 miles an hour over a section of 12-15 rollers without pedaling (after the first downhill) in practice. In the race a physically stronger but less skilled rider was in front of me in this section and we managed about 10 miles an hour while working our tails off! Frustrating to say the least!
What a weekend for some of our women BetterRide mountain bike skills campers!
BetterRide coach, athlete and US National Champion Jackie Harmony won her third Pan American Championship, this time in Argentina!
Jackie with her gold medal!
Two time BetterRide camper Eric Tingey winning the Cactus Hugger in Utah ahead of two time BetterRide Camper Jen Hanks!
As a mtb racer and a coach I am always looking for ways to improve my riding and my coaching too and like you, the faster the better. The funny thing is, we ignore, gloss over and just don’t want to talk about the thing that really holds us back from reaching our goals in all aspects of life. Our focus tends to be on the physical; “what are the mechanics of a j-hop?”, “what should my body position be in a corner?”, “will these lighter wheels will make me faster?”, when it is our mind that is holding us back.
In the past we have stressed the value of positive self-talk (“I am a good descender and getting better at climbing with practice.”) which is far and away is better than negative self talk but turns out not near as good as interrogative self-talk. Interrogative self-talk is asking, “Can I do this?”….
Positive self-talk makes you feel good and possibly confident while interrogative self-talk prompts you to come up with ways to accomplish the task.
Before or during your next ride instead of declaring your abilities with positive self-talk simply ask yourself, “can I do this?”.
How To Mountain Bike Skills Article by BetterRide founder Gene Hamilton
A real key to mountain biking at your best is to always be on the offense. Defensive riding gets you hurt! When you are on the offense you are riding at the limit of your abilities which improves your focus, coordination and allows you to reach the “Flow” state.
One way to always be on the offense is simply focus on what you want to do. Thoughts like, “get to the bottom of this FUN rocky section as smooth as I can”, “rail this corner as fast as I can”, “stay balanced and in a neutral position on this loose decent”, “climb this loose rocky hill like a Billy Goat, in balance and looking past all the obstacles”.
Always focus on what you want to do and always ride on the offense! As a matter of fact, stop riding your mountain bike and start driving your mountain bike. The word “ride” is passive, we ride roller coasters and amusement park rides, the ride is in control. The word “drive” is active, we drive cars, trucks and go-karts, we are in control. Drive your bike with authority.
Mountain Bike Racing article by BetterRide founder Gene Hamilton Wow, what a week! On Thursday and Friday (Jan. 17-18) I did a private skills camp the AFD Racing team who had driven all the way down from Canada and on Saturday and Sunday I videoed and did some race coaching with students from previous camps. […]