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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks,

As the subject states. I've got the fear. Specifically, descents, and getting my weight behind the seat and over the wheel. When I get back there, I just get this feeling in my gut that, if I crash, I'm going to feel it in my gut... The seat to be be exact. You know the posture. The back of the seat is right there in front of your stomach and you have a good drop in front of you. It a fundamental skill, but it still doesn't feel right.

So the obvious short answer is "practice". Get back there crash a few times, learn to roll until you get used to the posture, but get used to being back there. But does anyone have any other pearls of wisdom? Help a guy descend. Thanks!

Canwood
 

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How steep is this descent? You don't need to be that far back unless the hill is way steep. For most descents, I personally have found that hovering over the rear of my seat (so I get about 2" clearance and shift my weight back just a bit) gives me the most control at speed (25-35mph max speeds). I do XC/Trail riding though, so while we have some descent downhills, obviously it's nothing like what a lot of the DH guys ride ;)
 

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Canwood said:
Hey folks,

As the subject states. I've got the fear. Specifically, descents, and getting my weight behind the seat and over the wheel. When I get back there, I just get this feeling in my gut that, if I crash, I'm going to feel it in my gut... The seat to be be exact. You know the posture. The back of the seat is right there in front of your stomach and you have a good drop in front of you. It a fundamental skill, but it still doesn't feel right.

So the obvious short answer is "practice". Get back there crash a few times, learn to roll until you get used to the posture, but get used to being back there. But does anyone have any other pearls of wisdom? Help a guy descend. Thanks!

Canwood
Try to relax. I know, I know ..... I did say TRY.

Before you gotta dive take a deep breath, then exhale and "roll on through". You can practice all you want, but if you're too tense then you're not going to get anywhere.

Ummmm, coincidentally, the same thing would apply to crashing. :eek: What?!?!??! It's true!
 

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Canwood said:
Hey folks,

As the subject states. I've got the fear. Specifically, descents, and getting my weight behind the seat and over the wheel. When I get back there, I just get this feeling in my gut that, if I crash, I'm going to feel it in my gut... The seat to be be exact. You know the posture. The back of the seat is right there in front of your stomach and you have a good drop in front of you. It a fundamental skill, but it still doesn't feel right.

So the obvious short answer is "practice". Get back there crash a few times, learn to roll until you get used to the posture, but get used to being back there. But does anyone have any other pearls of wisdom? Help a guy descend. Thanks!

Canwood
What is your bike setup? How long of a stem you using and what is the bar height in relation to your seat?

I never get that feeling when on my trail bike with its shortish stem and bars 1" higher than my seat. On my bikes i get that OTB (over the bars) feeling on those 'oh shiit' descends.
 

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I have a friend, who is a much better rider than me. When I asked the same question, of him, his answer was "Do it scared!" I know it sounds cheezy, but it does work. If you do it scared, a few times the fear lessens. For me,it hasn't ever gone away, but it is much less than it was when I started.
 

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Practise within your abilities.

Try a short, steep, smooth, good run out, little hill.

Up and down, up and down.

Concentrate on getting the weight centered on both wheels.

Remember wyou need say 55 to 60% on rear for braking, and maybe 35 to 40 % on front for steerage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the tips, folks.

sonicsuby: How steep is this descent?
Not all that steep, but steeper than I'm used to. The only spots that need me to get my weight farther back than I'm used to is a big root step while coming down. For those in the Victoria BC area, they'll know the spot on Snakes and Ladders at the dump where you have the chute through the trees. As you say, it's nothing like the downhill guys ride. In fact my buddies nail it on their hard tail XC bikes.

ratt: What is your bike setup?
http://gallery.mtbr.com/showphoto.php/photo/54289/cat/500/ppuser/246064
The bike is an XCish setup, seat at the bars, which is part of the issue. I do tend to drop the seat a bit when I know I'm going to do a descent. But most of the rides are technical XC so changing the stem or setup over all isn't really an option.

jeffscott: Try a short, steep, smooth, good run out, little hill.
That's exactly what I've been doing so far. I'm not quite feeling natural and confident at it yet, so that's why I'm here. Looking for pearls of wisdom which'll help me get there.

Thanks, again, all. I'll keep at it and if anyone else has any tips, drop'em in.

CanWood
 

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It is like picking a line. If you focus on the obstacles, you'll likely hit them. Instead, focus on the line and what you want to hit. Wrecking always hurts; you have little control over where it hurts. Instead focus on riding and where you want to go.
 

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ol'guy who says hi &waves
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For smooth decents, what everyone else has suggested

For technical decents, what helped me alot was using the heaviest tires, wheels, and even slime tubes. The heavier rotating mass felt very stable and secure at slow speeds building my confidence and my descending speeds Then, going back to a more XC tire/wheel weights, the decents were more comforable.
 

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Maybe try a riser bar. I have a 1.5" riser, not the typical XC setup. With this and a setback setpost I feel like I can attack the steeps. Most of my buddies have either a flat bar or a low rise type bar. These tend to put me more over the top and make me very nervous. Also the setback seatpost allows me to stay on the seat back further.

Just my thoughts.
 

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AlexIsFubar
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Well, in general (cause u dont refer to ur bike set-up), you should have your saddle low for 1st. after that, make sure you got a killer rear brake -you're gonna need it-. Does your fork work well? Have you checked for bound-rebound? if it's too soft, it will compress too much at the bottom of the descent and you'll probably get otb. just start by doing small descents (personally i found stairs very helpful), then a little steeper etc. you'll get it right sometime. don't judge by my pic in my gallerie,it happened under muddy conditions... :prft:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks again for all the tips folks. Specifically, the technique tips. As for changing the setup of the bike, I expect the setup will stay the same. The fork and brakes do the job well (x-vert and XT hydros). It's ideal for the majority of my rides. I'm used to the geometry and it serves me well. I'm just trying to hone the skills for those last few sections that I still walk.

I think this one will be a head game, not a rebuild. So far we've got "don't tense up", "armour up", "focus on your line, not your obstacles", "practice increasing steepness", "do it scared (until you're not)". Sweet.

Canwood
 

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Canwood said:
Hey folks,

As the subject states. I've got the fear. Specifically, descents, and getting my weight behind the seat and over the wheel. When I get back there, I just get this feeling in my gut that, if I crash, I'm going to feel it in my gut... The seat to be be exact. You know the posture. The back of the seat is right there in front of your stomach and you have a good drop in front of you. It a fundamental skill, but it still doesn't feel right.

So the obvious short answer is "practice". Get back there crash a few times, learn to roll until you get used to the posture, but get used to being back there. But does anyone have any other pearls of wisdom? Help a guy descend. Thanks!

Canwood
Crash once or twice. It happens.

Although last time I crashed like that, I cracked 2 ribs, so it'a give and take.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Broken wrist once, at least one concussion, broken ribs three times, puncturing and partially collapsing a lung one of those times, and opened up my arm on a rock needing nine staples to close it. The arm was at this particular spot on the trail where I'm wanting to get the descent nailed. Believe me, I've had my share of "once or twice" :) Hence the fear. I ride a little bit more conservatively these days.

That's be why I'm looking for tips now. But we've all had our wounds. Ride on. It's worth a few of 'em.

CanWood
 

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Pick your line. Don't let the trail dictate where you want to go. Just point and shoot. Speed is important. Too slow and you get hung up, too fast and you get out of control too quickly, although I personally have to be going REALLY fast (20+mph) to really get out of control. You can probably go faster than you think and still stay in control. Trust your bike. It can probably take more than you think it can. Hit that rock. It's OK. That's what your fork is for. Ride with your arms loose, your pedals in a neutral position (one foot at 3 o'clock and the other at 9 o'clock). No one has mentioned unweighting the front end. I ride with my butt off the back in the steep stuff and if I hit a really steep dip or pocket, I pedal kick to wheelie drop. To do this you have to be in a gear that allows you to PUMP it one rotation at the same time as you unweight the front end. It will be like doing a wheelie, but you are going downhill. Look where you want your front wheel to go and PUT IT THERE! Your back wheel will follow. Soak up the jolt with your body and keep on rolling. Easier said than done, but after a few tries, you get used to it and it's just another one of the tricks you've got in your back pocket that makes you a better rider.
 
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