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As a first year racer I learn something new every race. Recently, I learned that I SUCK!:madman:

Well, at lots of technical type riding anyway...... So, for this thread, I'll just ask - How do you deal with steep downhill sections? You know, when it's so steep that front and back wheels are locked up and you are still moving down the hill ? Should you let off the brakes and fly until it's flatter? (risking losing control)

And generally, how out of control do you feel at times in a race?


Next subject in my series of sucky technical riding questions......... "Pile up some logs and my brain falls out." Stay tuned.:rolleyes:
 

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LA CHÈVRE
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Can't wait for the next episode! :p

Have you been riding long before you raced? What did you do with steep and loose descents when not in a race? It's the same thing, just faster. For me, it depends of the descent obviously, if the course is wide and allows many different lines, I may just let the bike go, if it's tighter between trees, with nasty rocks I don't want to touch or with a sharp corner at the bottom, I may use the brakes but very smoothly, keep it in control but don't fight the bike and gravity, I just shift my weight back and adopt a 'go with the flow' attitude. With that said, I suck too at racing (first year racing, many years riding) but it's usually not the technical parts that's slowing me down, it's just my level of fitness that's not up to par.
 

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mutaullyassuredsuffering
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control

Honestly, I can think of very few times I have ever felt "out of control" That only happens when I mess up, and hit something I didn't see, or whip around a corner to a big surprise. It usually only lasts a second, and reminds me to use the ol' noggin a bit more.
Even on loose-steep stuff, I feel in control. I know that I can't just randomly stop on a dime, or whip the bike around in S-turns, but my speed and direction are in check. The only things that make me nervous in those situations are other riders. I keep a distance, and usually so do they...

I end up leaning back and just letting the front wheel "float" where it wants to go. I find that too much front weight bias will cause a spectacular endo if my front wheel kicks off of something. As far as braking, I'm just modulating as much as I can get without the wheels sliding. When I have to turn, I let off all the front front brake for that instant, and often lock the rear for just as long to kick the rear wheel around if need be...

Often you are accelerating, but if the line was totally unsafe, it would not be on a race course, or others would be running down it in front of you!
 

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The trick is too close your eyes, go rigid and scream. Works every time :)



Steep loose descents require you to be confortable at speed. On a loose descent I point it straight, keep light on the front brake, and hope that some place where I can brake comes along.
 

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Pointers

I always coach people on a few downhill rules:

1. Keep CG low. Get your chest down toward top tube.
2. Move your CG aft by appropriate amount. CG intersection with bottom bracket should be slightly uphill. Too much and you'll have no steerage.
3. Steer with your front end. Put it where you want it.
4. Keep your scan farther down the trail.
5. Stay loose and light on the seat, so the bike can move.
6. Drop your heels to strongly influence an aft CG.
7. Modulate the brakes and allow the bike to roll. A locked wheel, front or back destroys your steerage.

"Use the force."
 

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bi-winning
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RideToLive said:
I always coach people on a few downhill rules:

5. Stay loose and light on the seat, so the bike can move.

"Use the force."
If the decent is really steep, i am off and behind my saddle, rather than on it.

How much you try to brake really depends what is at the bottom. If it is a straight run out, you don't need to worry as much about trying to get braking traction, and can just roll on out.
 

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You can do anything on loose and steep that you can do on flat and firm, except turn or stop, So where's the problem?

Actually ride to Live has some good pointers. DON'T lock your brakes, especially your front, once you lock up your wheels you've lost control. Weight low and off the back of the seat. DON'T lock up your arms, keep your entire body loose. Head up, look ahead.

Speed is your friend in many situations in mountain biking, but sometimes it's best to get down a section upright than to crash spectacularly and loose a lot of time picking yourself up off the ground. Practice those fundamentals at slower speeds till you are comfortable in that kind of terrain, then pick up your pace. While there is certainly a lot of technique involved, it's probably more mental than anything.
 

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My XC "coach" is a sponsored DH guy, so I get to watch and get pointers from his perspective...which helps immensely in downhill sections of the course.
First off, I have somewhat adopted the philosophy of "bombing" down hill. Even if it's loose, as long as it's not a "boulder" garden.
Next, any time I'm trying to be agressive (i.e. fast), I make sure to maintain an aggressive riding position with my elbows out, knees bent, lower center of gravity...and I try to maintain "rider/bike separation". This means that the bike can move around beneath me while I put my body into position to take a turn, or maneuver how I need to. I kinda think about keeping my grip tight, but my elbows loose, if that makes sense.
The same stuff applies to other areas of riding as well, if you just learn to lead into turns and some other minor technicalities...

As a side note, I raced for the first time this year (the start of a new hobby for me!), and I was completely amazed to hear an EXPERT rider say that he got off and walked his bike on one of the downhill sections because he hates going downhill. WTF??:eekster: On that particular course, I remember FLYING on all the DH sections!!:D
 

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Don't feel so bad, I've been in the "I suck at downhill camp" for years since I've started mountian biking. I've struggled with all the aspects of downhilling skills and what parts I need to be a better downhiller. Too make a long story short, I would crash on average 3-5 times everyride due to my poor skills. While I consider myself a great climber, I used to dread any downhills. So 3 years later, here is what I've changed that now has me enjoying them and not dreading them.

In order of the changes made.

1. Correct bike suspension settings, sag etc..
2. Larger volume tires with lower air pressure settings.
3. More practice (I mostly ride the rode, and found that more practice familiarized me more with the techniques needed.) Includes riding position and clearing descents with more speed when needed.

And the best change of all!
4. 3" Gravity dropper.
With this latest change I can more confidently role down those loose, steap scary descents where you have to really squeeze the brakes.
 

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If for some reason I can't go fast on it, I usually semi-lock the brakes. I got good DH skills (for xc), so although it might look scary, I'll usually go down it. There are some times where your best bet is to semi-lock the brakes and control the bike, instead of maintaining normal control.
 

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-Stay relaxed and smooth
-Shift back, behind the seat
-Use your hips to control your rear wheel and do the majority of your steering
-relax your grip and use the brakes as necessary, not too much and not too litte
-look forward, farther than normal
-use your arms and legs in a flexed "athletic" position to absorb impact and make changes to position as necessary
-breath, and don't look at the the things you are afraid or want to avoid. AKA if you look at the rock or log, your body/bike will follow your eyes
-Flow like water
 

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Brant-C.
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on very steep sections like that:

i put my butt behind the seat
almost have my stomach on seat (low center of gravity)
one finger on brakes and try not to skid but keep in slowing down and in control
the whole time i'm yelling "OH SMUTCH, OH SMUTCH, OH SMUTCH!"
when finished, i thank my creator!
 

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Member of The Yeti Tribe
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I am a Downhill racer that also races XC for training and I like the head to head competition that you dont get as much in DH.
but with my DH background I tend to just use the brakes enough to keep me from gaining speed but not enough to really slow me down or lock up the wheel.
all the time with a rear-ward Bias on the bike.

but alot of the time I just let her go and just pin it, because thats what I do on my DH bike so I naturaly just do it on the small bike too. :thumbsup:

you have to pin it to win it right dude?:p
 

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Simple Physics

It is simple physics that you will only accelerate only so much and will eventually hit terminal velocity thus you will not continually accelerate forever:D

Seriously, I would hope there is never a place on a race course that would be super dangerous. Right ?

I am a Newbie racer this year. If its really steep I will try use the front brakes as much as I can without locking it and I may have the rear locked up a bit. My stomach can sometimes be on the seat.
How much brakes will have more to do with whats at the bottom. The easier and straighter the landing point is will mean less to no brakes being applied and let'er rip!

I am also rarely out of control but when it happens it is only a few seconds as used2Bhard stated and for the same reasons.

Cheers,
 
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