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Loser
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok I have only been riding seriously for a few months and I can't seem to be able to conquer rocky sections going uphill. I always get up to them and then become so focused on not falling (haven't had an accident so far...knock on wood) that I instinctively clip out and lose all of my momentum. Now these are pretty technical sections, with various rock ledges creating sort of a step system up the hill. What do you guys usually do in these situations? Should I just clip in and try to power my way up, or do I need to go slow and lift my front tire onto each level.

Also, does anyone have strategies for getting my front tire up off the ground? I really seem to have issues with pulling my handlebars to one side when I do this, and it only comes up a few inches at most. :madman:
 

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Welcome to technical riding! Don't get frustrated. The word is: If you did not have to push the bike you didn't try anything technical. :p

Now: Climbing rocky sections with steps and ledges is really difficult. Congratulations for even trying. Here a few hints...

1) Consider using platform pedals (DH/BMX style) and shin guards. The pedals have great grip but allow you to bail if things go wrong. You can switch back to clipless once you have the confidence to make the section.

2) Lose momentum in a rocky uphill and you need trials style moves to get going again. In most cases it really is just ploughing through.

3) The secret is moving your hips (and thus your weight) in the right way. To get up a bigger ledge you:
- Kick the pedal while throwing the hips back and slightly down - front wheel lifts (note: arms are only slightly bend, they transport the pull from the hips but not more... don't jerk with your arms!)
- Put the front wheel on to the ledge, continue to pedal
- Throw the hips forward to get the rear wheel up
- Throw the hips back to get the bike forward and on to the ledge

4) Note that many ledges on trails only require the first part of the move. Unless the ledge is really big or slippery more often than not the rear wheel simply rolls up.

You can practice the move going up a curb, over a small log, up a bench, two stairs, ... For practice I really recommend platform pedals and shin guards. (Shin guards, no kidding. I thought they weren't cool when I started learning technique. But I realized fast that hitting the shins with good platform pedals really hurts.)
 

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good advice from klaus.

i would definitely second the recommendation to use platforms to practice technical riding. i was very comfortable through technical sections before ever switching to clipless, and now with clipless i'm even more confident. i think it helped to learn on platforms so its easier to bail and not get hurt, but everyone has their own opinion.

also, very good point about body movement. you weigh much more than your bike, so use that to your advantage. lift your front tire and thrust your weight forward to get over a ledge, this really helps at slow speeds.
 

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I also have a problem with rocky uphills, but in my case it is because that part of the track is also scattered with loose rocks and pebbles. I lose traction, or stop because I am afraid I will lose traction and fall backwards on rocks for 15-20 feet. That thought petrifies me, and I never do get unclipped in time. I will follow Kaba Klaus' advice by removing cleats from my shoes and see if that helps (I don't have plain platforms). I just don't have enough momentum to get up those hills because I am afraid to go up them fast.
 

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Bikecurious
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denmikseb said:
I also have a problem with rocky uphills, but in my case it is because that part of the track is also scattered with loose rocks and pebbles. I lose traction, or stop because I am afraid I will lose traction and fall backwards on rocks for 15-20 feet. That thought petrifies me, and I never do get unclipped in time. I will follow Kaba Klaus' advice by removing cleats from my shoes and see if that helps (I don't have plain platforms). I just don't have enough momentum to get up those hills because I am afraid to go up them fast.
I run into the same problem. Especially lately because we've had some hard rains that have washed a lot of loose rock down the trails. I'm stil learning how to best handle some of these more difficult sections, but here are some things I've found that help:
Momentum, keep it up.
Get into the proper gear before you hit the climb. One that's not too hard to pedal in, but not so easy that you just spin out.
Keep your weight on your back wheel. Stay seated if you can, but you still need to lean forward a bit so your front end doesn't pop up. You just need to find the right balance there. I always find that when I stand on the loose stuff I start to spin out.
Commit to it. Stay clipped in as long as you can and just go for it. You'd be surprised what you can ride through if you just commit and don't give up. If you fall, well you fall, just try not to roll off a clff. I've got a nice gash that oddly matches the teeth on my chainring from a loose, rocky climb last weekend.
Oh yeah, and having tires that work well for the types of trails in your area help too.
I'm sure some others could give you more advice, but these are some things that I've found help me.
 

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While platforms are a good idea, maybe, to try some new technical skills, you're never going to be able to consistantly conquer technical trails unless you graduate to clipless. There are times you just have to spin, while out of the seat and WAY forward over the handlebars while climbing. If you are not securely attached to the pedals, you just don't have the same capability....sorta like standing on skis without bindings. Yeah, you can certainly bail easily enough, but at some point you are gonna just have to commit.
 

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Loser
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the advice guys. I guess I am too focused on prospect of falling (maybe I just need to let myself take a big crash so I can get the first one out of the way). I am going to go practice today on some sidewalks. I figure that is a similar situation where I need to lift my front tire onto the next level in order to continue climbing. Once I master that I will attempt to go after the sections I am having trouble with.

Interesting note: I put my stock pedals back on and took a short ride. Now that I have ridden clipless I actually feel less secure riding on straight platforms. It is comforting to know that no matter how rocky the trail may be I won't lose my grip on the pedals. Platforms would probably be a lot better for getting out of potential falls, but I think the loss of power/grip was not worth it.

Another random question: What's the best way to hit a stream crossing that is in a little ditch? So basically it is like this: \_/ (less steep of course, each side has loose rock/dirt with a 10-15 foot climb out on either side) I can't seem to keep the grip/momentum to carry thru this section.
 
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