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Hey MrCrash, I Cleaned #2 on your Everest list (the first lefthand uphill switchback on JTH****) yesterday.

Here's how I made that one:

1) Brand spanking new Kenda Nevegal 2.35 tires, mounted 12 hours earlier
2) Gearing: 22:26
3) Enter standing and lean way forward at the apex of the turn
4) Made it on the 4th try (2nd try foiled by a trail runner, cool guy though, no hard feelings)

Anyway, there are still a few tough uphill switchbacks I'm working on (including that next righthand switchback, that one's gonna be tough.) What do other people do on really tight steep uphill switchbacks? Gearing, leaning, lunging, hopping, the force? How does one become a switchback jedi master?

-slide

p.s. Those Nevegal 2.35's grip like a 2 year old in a supermarket, but on the other hand, I felt like I was towing a family of corn fed sofa jockeys behind me all day. Ouch!
 

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its in the genes . . .

I'm guessing your JTH is in China Camp. FYI- I'm the only person I know who can't nail 'em all every time. Even my buddy's 16 year son -who has flashed everything there for a couple of years -and looks at me w/scorn/pity/wonder when I can't. Most of my riding frends are between 40 & early 50's. (But no SS'rs) For me, switchbacks aren't really that hard physically -I psycho-sabotage myself with the "what if" factor. I.E. its mostly a head/confidence thing. & I can't afford to lose work from a broken wrist etc.
 

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What about the rocky drop on JTH -- in the UP-hill direction? I still can't make that one, and don't see cleaning it in the near future. Time to work on those trials moves! If anyone has pointers for that section, I'd love to hear them.
 

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Good job slide!

Those switchbacks are difficult for us mere mortals, sorry you are not in the club anymore :)

Ryan
 

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slide mon said:
Hey MrCrash, I Cleaned #2 on your Everest list (the first lefthand uphill switchback on JTH****) yesterday.

Here's how I made that one:

1) Brand spanking new Kenda Nevegal 2.35 tires, mounted 12 hours earlier
2) Gearing: 22:26
3) Enter standing and lean way forward at the apex of the turn
4) Made it on the 4th try (2nd try foiled by a trail runner, cool guy though, no hard feelings)

Anyway, there are still a few tough uphill switchbacks I'm working on (including that next righthand switchback, that one's gonna be tough.) What do other people do on really tight steep uphill switchbacks? Gearing, leaning, lunging, hopping, the force? How does one become a switchback jedi master?

-slide

p.s. Those Nevegal 2.35's grip like a 2 year old in a supermarket, but on the other hand, I felt like I was towing a family of corn fed sofa jockeys behind me all day. Ouch!
Good job!

The prospect of dropping off the side of the hill is still a daunting one for me :) I'm okay on the downhill ones, since I can almost hold a balance point at a standstill and let gravity pull me through as I slowly turn the bike.

I did a skills clinic with Joe Lawill, Chris Duncan, and Forrest Arakawa last year at Tamarancho - they taught us to do switchbacks with an outside-to-inside-to-outside-then-turn line.

I like watching the guys on Pete Fagerlin's site pivot on the front wheel to make em - my balance and skills don't let me do that tho. Since I've been unsuccessful in my simple wheelie attempts since I started mountain biking 6 years ago, I'm not counting on being able to do things like that anytime soon.

Can you clean the steep down-and-up shortcut on the Ridge Fire Trail, about 1/4 mile from the paved road on the top heading down the front side? That's a fun one :)

P.S. I'm currently on a Cannondale Jekyll 800 w/ a Weirwolf 2.3 front and a Mutano 2.24 rear, with the geometry set at its most "XC" setting (steepest rake). I'm wondering if I'll be able to clear obstacles better on the Stumpjumper FSR I'm building up - it just seems a lot less apt to wheelie when I'm cranking in the lower gears.
 

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slide mon said:
Hey MrCrash, I Cleaned #2 on your Everest list (the first lefthand uphill switchback on JTH****) yesterday.

Here's how I made that one:

1) Brand spanking new Kenda Nevegal 2.35 tires, mounted 12 hours earlier
2) Gearing: 22:26
3) Enter standing and lean way forward at the apex of the turn
4) Made it on the 4th try (2nd try foiled by a trail runner, cool guy though, no hard feelings)

Anyway, there are still a few tough uphill switchbacks I'm working on (including that next righthand switchback, that one's gonna be tough.) What do other people do on really tight steep uphill switchbacks? Gearing, leaning, lunging, hopping, the force? How does one become a switchback jedi master?

-slide

p.s. Those Nevegal 2.35's grip like a 2 year old in a supermarket, but on the other hand, I felt like I was towing a family of corn fed sofa jockeys behind me all day. Ouch!
Congrats on your achievement. Nothing like the feeling of finally mastering one's nagging obstacle. When you're ready for some really nasty switchbacks, come to Dimond Canyon in Oaktown.
 

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My Technique for JTH

slide mon said:
Anyway, there are still a few tough uphill switchbacks I'm working on (including that next righthand switchback, that one's gonna be tough.) What do other people do on really tight steep uphill switchbacks? Gearing, leaning, lunging, hopping, the force? How does one become a switchback jedi master?
Several years ago, I thought those swichbacks were impossible on a bike. I've been making them regularly for 3 - 4 years now.

My technique for these two switchbacks, especially #2 - the righthand turn, is to turn the front wheel almost 90 degrees, and hold it in place --- so that the bike is turns in an arc, almost pivoting on the rear wheel. You've got to commit: turn the wheel to a nearly 90 degree turn, hold it while slowly pedalling, then release the turn and continue down the trail. The front tire should not slide at all, it should be one perfect arc turn.

You'll want to keep your weight straight up, so that the frame is not leaning during the turn. You'll want some pedalling pressure so that the bike will continue through the arc. Practicing on pavement can be helpful.

Several years ago, I thought those swichbacks were impossible on a bike. I've been making them regularly for 3 - 4 years now.

Other China Camp spots:
- end of Quercus. As someone stated, now that the tree has been removed, it's much, much easier. In the past, I'd made this regularly, but over the past 2-3 years, I've been unable to do it. It seems like the challenge is taken out of it now.

- steep up and down on Ridge FR. I'm happy when I make the downhill section clean and not going flying off my bike. I've never made the uphill, but have come close. This section needs a good name.

- rocky drop on JTH in reverse. That would be tough. I haven't rode in reverse direction lately... will need to do so and try.
 

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Know it isnt switchback, after one

but anyone want to speak to the how one clears the very rooty/technical section at the top of Tenderfoot, after the very tight switchback?
 

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Here's how I do it

baycat said:
Know it isnt switchback, after one

but anyone want to speak to the how one clears the very rooty/technical section at the top of Tenderfoot, after the very tight switchback?
Here's how I do it. I get off my bike, pick it up, and carefully walk through the root section. Then I get back on my bike. Works every time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
MrCrash said:
Good job!
The prospect of dropping off the side of the hill is still a daunting one for me :) I'm okay on the downhill ones, since I can almost hold a balance point at a standstill and let gravity pull me through as I slowly turn the bike.
Yeah, gravity makes the downhills much easier, but the fear factor is a bit higher on the downhills for me. Harder to commit, but easier once you do.

MrCrash said:
I did a skills clinic with Joe Lawill, Chris Duncan, and Forrest Arakawa last year at Tamarancho - they taught us to do switchbacks with an outside-to-inside-to-outside-then-turn line.
What's the idea with that? More lean? How was that class btw? I've thought about it. I have to learn how to manual/wheelie/hop better...
MrCrash said:
I like watching the guys on Pete Fagerlin's site pivot on the front wheel to make em - my balance and skills don't let me do that tho.
Can you clean the steep down-and-up shortcut on the Ridge Fire Trail, about 1/4 mile from the paved road on the top heading down the front side? That's a fun one :)
Gotta link? Re: Ridge tr, There's so many distractions back there, I can only remember riding that once or twice. First time I did it the wrong way and it was a challenge just pushing the bike up it. I'll have to revisit it. BTW, thanks for the inspiration. I cleaned that switchback earlier in the morning on the downhill with a foot to spare and your post inspired me to try to hit it on the way back.

-slide
 

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Brah said:
Several years ago, I thought those swichbacks were impossible on a bike. I've been making them regularly for 3 - 4 years now.

My technique for these two switchbacks, especially #2 - the righthand turn, is to turn the front wheel almost 90 degrees, and hold it in place --- so that the bike is turns in an arc, almost pivoting on the rear wheel. You've got to commit: turn the wheel to a nearly 90 degree turn, hold it while slowly pedalling, then release the turn and continue down the trail. The front tire should not slide at all, it should be one perfect arc turn.

You'll want to keep your weight straight up, so that the frame is not leaning during the turn. You'll want some pedalling pressure so that the bike will continue through the arc. Practicing on pavement can be helpful.

Several years ago, I thought those swichbacks were impossible on a bike. I've been making them regularly for 3 - 4 years now.
I'll give that technique a shot.

Other China Camp spots:
- end of Quercus. As someone stated, now that the tree has been removed, it's much, much easier. In the past, I'd made this regularly, but over the past 2-3 years, I've been unable to do it. It seems like the challenge is taken out of it now.

- steep up and down on Ridge FR. I'm happy when I make the downhill section clean and not going flying off my bike. I've never made the uphill, but have come close. This section needs a good name.
Combining it with the short downhill chute with the entrance about 200 feet uphill from where the Ridge Fire Trail starts, we've been referring to it as "Chutes and Ladder". I'm pretty good on my steep descents and carry a lot of speed down the second chute, which takes care of most of the uphill. I'm just over 50% on it.

I used to get it by crosschaining it pretty severely, using my small ring front with the smallest rear cog that didn't clank around, firing down to granny for the last little bit when I ran out of momentum. I've been able to middle ring it and generate more speed at the base the last couple of times.

- rocky drop on JTH in reverse. That would be tough. I haven't rode in reverse direction lately... will need to do so and try.
Wow, that one is tricky enough for me going the "standard" direction. I'll have to give it a shot myself sometime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Brah said:
Several years ago, I thought those swichbacks were impossible on a bike. I've been making them regularly for 3 - 4 years now.

My technique for these two switchbacks, especially #2 - the righthand turn, is to turn the front wheel almost 90 degrees, and hold it in place --- so that the bike is turns in an arc, almost pivoting on the rear wheel. You've got to commit: turn the wheel to a nearly 90 degree turn, hold it while slowly pedalling, then release the turn and continue down the trail. The front tire should not slide at all, it should be one perfect arc turn.

You'll want to keep your weight straight up, so that the frame is not leaning during the turn. You'll want some pedalling pressure so that the bike will continue through the arc. Practicing on pavement can be helpful.
Great advice! I've been riding that trail for almost a year and used to just bail when I got to them. Only started realizing they could be ridden recently.

It p!ssed me off when the tree on q*** was cut down. First time I road that trail last year I was with a guy who came within a couple inches of cleaning the exit. I thought that when I cleaned that, I could say I was good. Then the tree came down in November, major bummer. As it is I've only started cleaning it without the tree recently after many many attempts...

-slide
 

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haha good call, my technique is the same. But I have seen you climb probably do it uphill in your sleep!

Ever get those Annadel pics developed?
 

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My uphill switchback techniques... for what they're worth....

- If you can dial down your front fork do that - make it the smallest travel as possible - lowers center of gravity and will keep that front wheel on the trail.

- Granny Gear it

- Slow down 10 feet before the switchback to give your legs 5 seconds of rest

- 2 feet from the switchback pour on the power so you're going into it faster than you think you should. This will give you momentum for the turn and climb out....

- LEAN FORWARD almost kissing the handlebar but also stay seated to keep weight on both wheels...

- Take the wide route around the turn - that is go DEEP into the switchback before you make the turn back.

- LOOK where you want to go - NOT at the turn... Actually turn your head to look up the trail at your exit... your bike will follow....

:thumbsup:
 

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Interesting thread here, because these are the most technically challenging of the trails I ride on a regular basis.

I've finally gotten to where I can make all the entries and exits, but the switchbacks on JTH are still a bugaboo. Downhill, at least I stand a chance, but uphill, forget it. Props to Slide for showing us rookies how it's done!

Going uphill, I've got pretty good technique for leaning forward, spinning fast, and going into a switchback on the high side, so the front tire can fall back into the line. But those switchbacks (on JTH) are just too dang tight, I can't rotate my bike in such a tight arc.

There are additional tough switchbacks on the far end of the trail that connects JTH to Aquinas Drive...same thing, just way too tight! Also, there is a creek crossing on that trail that consists of a wooden timber over some jaggedy-ass rocks. I always look at it and chuckle, thinking 'There's just no way...".

Great riding, all of it!
 

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I know that one.

Quercus agrifolia said:
There are additional tough switchbacks on the far end of the trail that connects JTH to Aquinas Drive...same thing, just way too tight! Also, there is a creek crossing on that trail that consists of a wooden timber over some jaggedy-ass rocks. I always look at it and chuckle, thinking 'There's just no way...".
Every time I come to it, I study those rocks, looking for some type of a line. Even as I'm walking my bike over it, I'm trying to figure if there's some way to ride it.

I haven't found it yet... I'm sure at some point, I'll be there contimplating it... and someone will blow right past and school me on it!

Lots of good trails on that side of the mtn.
 

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slide mon said:
What's the idea with that? More lean?
I think it flattens out the path of travel for the front wheel, but I'm not sure. I'll email them on it.

How was that class btw? I've thought about it. I have to learn how to manual/wheelie/hop better...
It was great for the two friends I took there, both of whom were pretty new and struggling with switchbacks and technical terrain. I had a good time, but would have liked to take the course on more challenging terrain. I know they do offer it in other places (like Sea Otter) - imagine something like that up at Demo!

They do spend a lot of time going over J-Hops and Manuals, if those are some of the skills you're looking to develop. I did the jump clinic a month or so later, and had a good time with that too.

Gotta link?
http://www.mtbvideos.net/video/sky04.mpg
 

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baycat said:
haha good call, my technique is the same. But I have seen you climb probably do it uphill in your sleep!

Ever get those Annadel pics developed?
I've never gone UP Tenderfoot- always down. So much more fun that way! Let me assure you that there's no way, up or down, I could ever clear that root ball. Unless I was feeling suicidal, in which case it wouldn't matter. If it was a straight shot it would be doable, but since it has that tight little jog right in the middle, which directs you right at a cliff, no thank you. I know a guy who says he can do it, and from what I've seen of him, I have no doubt he could. But alas, I am a mere mortal.

Ah, the pictures. I'm still waiting to finish the roll of film. I will post them on the IH board when they're done.
 

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fully agree with all that

jhruth said:
- Slow down 10 feet before the switchback to give your legs 5 seconds of rest

- 2 feet from the switchback pour on the power so you're going into it faster than you think you should. This will give you momentum for the turn and climb out....
especially the above. I try to relax before coming into the switchback, downshift one gear (if I'm not already in granny!), then spin with a fast cadence through the switchback... that gives me the best chance of making through the turn
 

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* There is such a thing as a gear so low that you're too busy spinning the pedals to generate enough forward momentum to carry you through a good uphill climbing turn. A gear so low that you're more likely to have a balance problem, smack a pedal on an obstacle, or make a steering mistake before you even get a chance to clean the turn. The 1st gear on most modern drivetrains is a gear this low. Most steep switchbacks and/or uphill climbing turns should be ridden one or two cogs higher than your lowest gear for these reasons. When I'm approaching a turn I've never ridden before i'm more likely to hit it in my 2nd gear. 3rd if i have some idea how it flows, when to hit the gas, and when to pull/twist/etc.

* for a fairly clean, well banked or bermed climbing turn, a good basic approach is as follows. Set up for a line that stays fairly wide at first. This uses the berm to your advantage by gaining more height early in the turn and decreasing the effective steepness as you come down off the berm in the second half of the turn. So take a wide radius at first, power into the first half to generate some momentum that will carry you through. Partway through the maneuver, decrease your pedal thrust (but don't stop entirely, just ease up a bit) and concentrate more on steering/twisting through the finish. But that's not all. If you stop with only that much knowledge you'll look great coming into it then you'll either wheelie, or fall off balance to the inside of the turn. The final stroke that wraps it up is, just as your momentum begins to stall out and one of those two things is about to happen, pull yourself toward your bars. Use plenty of arm strength, moving your position forward over the rig to keep the front wheel from lifting. That should finish it off. Just at the moment that the front wheel almost (but doesn't) become weightless, you complete the turn and ride cleanly out of it, in balance, not even breathing too hard. That key maneuver of pulling and moving your body forward on the bike is very much like large log riding technique. Also the distinct mental separation of the turn into an initial thrust phase and a second steering phase helps out.

Beginners can apply these two ideas to move up from novice to intermediate switchback technique. To continue on to advanced from there doesn't really require adding any more technique -- just a big addition of power, timing and balance.
 
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