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Why You Should Always Ride on the Offense

You should always Ride on the Offense, not the Defense.
Riding on the defense puts you mentally and physically at a disadvantage by taking away your confidence and your coordination.

My occasional guest coach, Greg Minnaar, compromised his season with this mental mistake at the 2017 World Cup in Mt Saint Anne.

Here is what we can learn from Greg riding defensively:

Greg came into the race with a massive points lead in the World Cup and chose to ride conservatively and “safely”. Greg ended up crashing, going off course, getting disqualified and ultimately losing the World Cup Overall.

Aaron Gwin chose to ride on the offense instead of the defense at the same race.

My analysis of his run will give you an idea of what to look for. I always want my students to ride confidently! Feeling lucky that you made it; survived it, doesn’t build confidence.

Ride with authority or get off and walk that section if you can’t. You don’t learn correct techniques by scaring the heck out of yourself.

In addition to riding on the offense, Aaron puts on a body position and vision clinic!

My Body Position Video Tutorial will teach you how to practice these solid techniques. The Hinge is vital to being smooth (dynamic, athletic, centered, neutral, powerful).

Check out my video tutorial on the hinge and how to practice it here:

Helping Students Get into Body Position for cornering in my
Park City Camp in 2019

Vision is critical, it greatly improves your balance, line selection, speed, and the timing of everything! 

Even Aaron Gwin makes mistakes every now and then. Watch him almost throw away this otherwise perfect run with a vision mistake:

What to watch and when:

  • At 04-06 seconds into his run, there is a mellow corner (large radius, less than 90-degree direction change) and Aaron makes a mistake!
    At least it looks like a mistake, watch his rear wheel; it slides out a bit. He tried to push through the corner (load his suspension by pushing into the ground with arms and his legs), but there was not enough traction for that technique and his rear slide out, costing him some exit speed.

    However, this happened immediately after the start of his run and he may simply have been testing how slick the track was so he knew how hard he could ride but stay in control. That little slide cost him a little time/momentum, but I think it gave him the confidence to ride hard as he was able to control the slide.

    Watch and learn from Aaron’s amazing body position! He stays hinged at the hips with elbows up and out, weight on his pedals, chin up and looking ahead the entire run.

  • At 10-12 seconds into the video, he is hinged even while pedaling.
  • At 21-29 seconds in, notice how close his chin is to his handlebars (that’s hinged) and notice how centered he is over his pedals.Being hinged at the hips, with your weight on the pedals and your elbows up and out is a very neutral position where you are prepared to handle whatever the trail throws at you.
  • At 47-57 seconds watch Aaron’s head. It doesn’t move although his arms and legs are extremely dynamic, extending and contracting through their complete range of motion.
    It’s a perfect run except for the one time he looks down and almost throws away this amazing run.
  • At 1:19 into the video (3:21.7 in his race time) he glances down quickly like he is double-checking something and he immediately hangs up on a rock. His upper strength saves him from crashing but that little snag costs him more than a second in time which is massive in a downhill race!

I hope this helps you understand the value of correct descending body position, correct vision techniques and most importantly, how riding on the offense keeps you riding confidently.

Please share this article with anyone you think may benefit and feel free to call or e-mail with any questions.