WOW! Check this out!
BetterRide head coach Andy Winohradsky explaining in further depth why being centered is so important, even on a steep hill.
In this update, I’ll explain proper weight placement while descending steep terrain, why this is so important and how it relates to controlling your bicycle, and I’ll also dispel one of the most infamous myths about body position and weight placement while descending.
It is EXTEMELY IMPORTANT that you remain centered and balanced on the bicycle in steep terrain, and this means having ALL of your weight on our feet. Not 50% on your hands, and 50% on your feet, not 70/30 … ALL of your weight needs to be on your feet***.
If the rider’s weight is too far back on the bike and there is not enough weight on the front wheel the front wheel will lock up and skid (perhaps this has happened to you – scary, huh?!). At this point the rider has a few choices: release the front brake and accelerate rapidly with no hope of making the sharp turn at the bottom, skid the front wheel to an inedible crash, or, (the correct choice) – and this one better happen instantaneously and perfectly – shift weight properly onto feet, regain control, control speed …
If you are not centered and balanced on the bicycle, you are out of position and will not be able to effectively control the slide. The tiniest mistake can lead to big problems on steep terrain if it is not immediately and effectively dealt with, and this means having rock solid, near perfect technique in these conditions.
In my quest to create a series of mountain biking “competencies” (tests to show if you have mastered a skill) here is a wheelie and weight shift competency (see post titled: Ways to test your mountain biking skill and monitor progress in mtb skill).
Here is a great video of clearing a rock using two basic skills, a wheelie and weight shift. This is the exact same skill to get over a small curb correctly just done on a larger obstacle. Remember, always use “baby steps” when progressing a skill! It is much better to gain confidence through a series of victories than risk injury and/or a big failure that can set you back mentally.
If you can clear a 36″ rock with 12″ square edge at the bottom you have mastered the wheelie and weight shift (although there are definitely larger rocks on some trails if you can clear a 36″ rock you have the skill for a much bigger rock, you just need to work your way up).
Great student write up on both his BetterRide Camp and his experience with James Wilson’s Strength and Mobility programs. check it out: http://chriscowan.us/2-garanteed-steps-to-improve-your-mountain-bi
Recently, Gene (owner and founder of Betterride) and myself were discussing what are known as “Indicators” in sports outside of MTB. An example of an indicator is the following: in downhill ski racing, there are certain skills that an athlete must demonstrate, under certain conditions, in an allocated amount of time, in order to be […]