Cool Video from the Nevada State Championships Downhill Race featuring many of my students. Look for these Betterride athletes: pro winners, Mitch Ropelato, Jackie Harmony, Jr. Cat 1 winner Cody Kelly, 7th place pro finisher Jon Widen and a host of racers tearing it up. My future student (in this weekends DH camp) 3rd place pro finisher Bryson Martin is also featured.
I am so fortunate to coach such a diverse group of riders. From eager, passionate riders just getting into the sport to World Champions like Ross Schnell they all need to master the same core skills that 20 years of riding will not help you stumble upon.
Notice how he is staying centered on his bike (weight on the pedals) and in a neutral position so we be smooth, maintain his momentum and keep his wheels on the ground.
Ross is balanced, using counter pressure to lean the bike, looking through the turn and back on the gas before he exits the second corner!
Here the corners are steeper and tighter but Ross is still managing to stay low, centered and neutral. In this one he should of slowed down a bit more and finished his braking before the left hand turn to generate more exit speed.
“Gotta go slow to go fast!” (this for all riders, especially those more concerned with control than speed, please read on!)
So here are two guys that pay (or used to pay) their rent by going faster – not by slowing down – telling us we need to slow down to go fast? What gives?
In the following, we’ll explore what the saying actually means and how it can help not only racers, but also recreational riders ride more efficiently, more in control, safer, and, faster.
every time we descend on the bike, its an exercise in momentum management. Every corner we take, every rock or root we drop off, etc. Every time we almost get thrown over the handlebars by improperly negotiating an obstacle, its because we screwed up on managing our momentum.
So I find it kind of amazing that very few riders look at riding a section of trail in terms of momentum management.
So sometime on a future ride, do this: look at sections of trail purely in terms of momentum. Use momentum as your tool to generate speed. Use momentum as your tool to clean obstacles. Think/look “outside the box” and don’t feel the need to follow the typical lines of the trail. Chances are, you’ll start to see things quite differently. You will start to “go slow to go fast” and reap the benefits of managing your momentum. If done correctly – and when combined with other proper techniques such as proper use of vision, body position, etc – instead of fighting the forces of physics in order to hold a particular line or drastically increasing or cutting speed, you’ll start to instead “flow” with the trail.
Great World Cup and US Open highlights. Check out Mitch’s crash in the Giant Slalom and the interview with US Open Downhill Winner Andrew Neethling. Listen to what Andrew says about slowing down to win the race! Something I stress with so many of my students, fast in doesn’t always mean fast out, sometimes you gotta go slow to go fast.
So its not quite too late for New Year’s Resolutions … and here’s one for anybody that rides a bike on dirt: get out there and get your hands dirty with a few days of trail maintenance this season.
So how do you get great riding out of a place that is a flat, sandy, swampy, bug-infested jungle? Simple (or not), you build it! There is one reason that the trail systems that I rode were in existence and a blast to ride: a massive amount of trail work.
My point is this: from the above rant, did it sound like I had a good time? Those people made some awesome trails out of nothing. I don’t plan on moving to South Florida anytime in the future but if I do, I’ll still be an avid MTB’er and I won’t be hurtin’ for a wide selection of fun trails – all because a few people were willing to dream the dream and then put it into action.
So, skip a ride or two this season and help build some trails. Trust me, the cold beer will taste just as good at the end of the day … maybe even better!