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Cycologist
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Picard - Close your eyes, relax your mind and trust the Force.

Oh wait, that's Star Wars, not Star Trek. Uh, beam me up Scotty?
 
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I've never claimed to be Brandon Semenuk, I'll never 'full-send' A-line in Whistler, but I've literally never understood the fear of drops.

Like... you just....ride off them. Get just a little speed, Pull up the front a little and make sure your back tire is over or at least very close to the edge before your front tire starts to trend downward. That's all there is to it. rock ledge, wood fearture, doesnt matter.
curb height or ten feel, doesn't matter. It's the same.
This one is a 6' tall wooden feature, with a long transition, making the total vertical drop to where wheels touch down closer to 9-10'. It's really no different than riding off a tall curb.
View attachment 1952310
A lot (most?) of our drops here are slow awkward, often with weird lips that are already going downwards quite a bit and definitely require a more specific technique than just 'riding off kinda fast'. Also our landings are often janky as Hell.

As someone that also was pretty deathly afraid of drops and still needs to improve, I'd suggest the OP find a drop that suits their skill level and that he really practices that same drop a lot. Work on different techniques, try to go slower speeds and just play with it. A big thing that helped me was accepting and embracing that it's fine if the front tire lands first. Once you realize that it's no big deal this really helps.

My technique, is my own and this is what I do as the drops slow down (no need to do much at all if you are going fast): right before the front tire crests the lip, pump down on the fork to compress it a bit, then as it's rebounding shift your butt backwards while keeping it low. This makes the front tire stay totally high and super light. Practice this on your street and your front tire should basically float for a few feet if you are doing it correctly. It does not require a bunch of strength, the front end gets light due to the pump and shift back. It's critical this is done at the last possible moment. Your butt should be moving back as the tire goes off the edge. If you do it early, you are screwed. Of course late isn't much better.

IMO, just yanking up on the front is pretty much the worse thing you can do. Basically if you yank up your arms are now straight and your body is real tall and the front end barely gets light anyways, the front end will inevitably drop before the rear tire clears the edge, and because your arms are straight and body now tall the bars will pull your body forward and down sending you in to that classic endo posture.

Ps. Jumps are very easy comparatively.

GL OP.
 

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I've never claimed to be Brandon Semenuk, I'll never 'full-send' A-line in Whistler, but I've literally never understood the fear of drops.
Never say never homie! Spending several days in a row in Whistler increases your jumping and dropping ability markedly because the place is so well designed and built. If you can drop that drop in the photo then you can hit A line. You could totally do it! Going to a place like Whistler means you can do multiple runs in a day while progressing
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I am terrified when the bike is in mid air during the drop. It like I lose control

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Get a long-travel full suspension bike.
It covers up a lot of your mistakes, saves you from many crashes, and makes it look like you have more skills than you actually have. Like just popping in the air off from small features in the trail any time you like.
 

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I think Chaz nailed it with closing your eyes, that way you won't even know you're in the air. Problem solved.

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Red Bull and cocaine
 

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EAT MORE GRIME
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watch all these fails

don't do dat

 
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Red Bull and cocaine
I went to a private pretty hardcore Enduro spot about 2 years ago, was terrified but rode everything, slowly. It was a training day for an upcoming race.

Then during my lunch break I drank 1 beer I had with me, I then turned on my Strava (which I had used maybe 5x in my life at that point) and proceeded to get 1 KOM & 3-4 top 6 places. Some of the people on that list raced the Pro class, but still being a private spot the # of total riders was pretty small and certainly some of those guys were still getting up to speed.

However it was pretty apparent that I was a faster, smoother, less 'in my head' rider after just 1 beer. Which I could not feel at all otherwise.

I now often carry one of those plastic 99 cent bottles of vodka in my hydration pack and find that it's a good tool to loosen me up and make me ride more in the moment if a ride or obstacle is stressing me out. Liquid courage I guess.
 

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I went to a private pretty hardcore Enduro spot about 2 years ago, was terrified but rode everything, slowly. It was a training day for an upcoming race.

Then during my lunch break I drank 1 beer I had with me, I then turned on my Strava (which I had used maybe 5x in my life at that point) and proceeded to get 1 KOM & 3-4 top 6 places. Some of the people on that list raced the Pro class, but still being a private spot the # of total riders was pretty small and certainly some of those guys were still getting up to speed.

However it was pretty apparent that I was a faster, smoother, less 'in my head' rider after just 1 beer. Which I could not feel at all otherwise.

I now often carry one of those plastic 99 cent bottles of vodka in my hydration pack and find that it's a good tool to loosen me up and make me ride more in the moment if a ride or obstacle is stressing me out. Liquid courage I guess.
I feel like maybe that technique might work against you at some point?
 

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However it was pretty apparent that I was a faster, smoother, less 'in my head' rider after just 1 beer. Which I could not feel at all otherwise.

I now often carry one of those plastic 99 cent bottles of vodka in my hydration pack and find that it's a good tool to loosen me up and make me ride more in the moment if a ride or obstacle is stressing me out. Liquid courage I guess.
I am hesitant to ever advocate drinking and dangerous activities, but I have also noticed that I seem to ride better (?) after a single beer. Like you mentioned, I seem to 'find the flow' a little faster, not over-analyze things.
I have done a 'booze cruise' mtb ride with (a few) shots, for a local shop-owner's birthday ride, and man by shot #3 in 90 minutes I ride like trash.

I'm uncomfortable yet "taking a shot" to work up the nerve for progression, but it's a curious sensation feeling how dialed in I am after a trailside ale.
 

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I thought I got better at skiing moguls after getting a beer buzz but in hindsight I bet that it was just my perception and I was actually sloppy as hell.
 

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I pretty commonly have a beer or a nice stiff shot before dropping in on something steep and gnarly on a snowboard. Definitely helps fight the jitters and takes away the nerves.
Learned this while living in Chamonix as it was pretty common practice.

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For me, the short answer to all of this is practice. And specifically, practice on something that doesn't scare you. And practice until you almost feel bored with it, and then move up to something larger.

I find drops much easier than jumps for some reason. Drops just feel natural to me, especially ones with even a moderate amount of speed. I primarily use the "throw the bike forward" method. Plenty of videos on youtube can help you get the idea

Given, I've not hit anything abnormally large (my largest so far is about shoulder height), and any time I do anything larger than I've done before, I do get a bit apprehensive, and go scope it out a bit, and will only hit it if I'm "feeling" it that day.

Jumps are really difficult for me though, especially anything lippy, or that shoots you high (vertically) into the air. Something about the way they are shaped plus the speed makes me think I'm going into orbit. And my history with dead sailoring or otherwise being sketchy on jumps has me riding scared.

So this summer, when I was visiting family in Utah (I brought my bike, best decision ever), I decided to hit up a local jump skills park almost every day I was there. Each day I did 20 laps of the a run that was a combination of their Green, "double green" and blue trails. The run had 5 "actual" jumps on it. So every day I was doing 100 jumps. Later in that trip I made it to Trailside Park in Park City Utah, which, to its credit, has some of the best jump practice trails I've found anywhere. I spent another two days riding those.

On each individual run, it was hard to notice any progression if I'm being honest. But comparing runs from the end of the day to the beginning, I really saw improvement, and the difference from the beginning of the trip to the end, was pretty dramatic. I went from casing every jump on the trail, to clearing everything. I went from being rigid on the bike, to starting to throw some movement (lets not get carried away here... it was a slight bar turn and tilt of the bike... but it felt huge and amazing).

TLDR:

My personal biggest problem is fear, and how that fear makes me ride the jumps/drops.

The best way I've found so far to counter that fear... is by griding out time on jumps and drops that feel "too easy". This is intentional, as doing something that is "too easy" over and over again encourages you to start to play around a bit (to make it not boring), and playing around with something makes you more comfortable with it. And once you are truly comfortable on the smaller stuff, start working your way up.
 
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