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Well i've taken everyones advice in the climbing situation, and wow it makes a difference. I was out tonight with my riding partner and even he comments on how i was making it up the technical climbs a bit better. (believe me i still slid out and lost traction on the rocks since they were wet.) but on average i'd say i'm getting a bit better at the whole climbing deal.

Now for the next techie Q. I have inferred from readin that a track stand is being able to be clipped in to my clipless pedals and be totally stopped and just balancing there. Well i trying it tonight. And all i got was a lot of scratches and a few dings on my bar ends from tips. Whats the trick to doing this. Is there any way to cheap and practice and work up to being able to just sit there without holding anything? this would really be convient on trails so i don't have to find a tree to lean against. Thanks again in advance.
 

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Penn State said:
Well i've taken everyones advice in the climbing situation, and wow it makes a difference. I was out tonight with my riding partner and even he comments on how i was making it up the technical climbs a bit better. (believe me i still slid out and lost traction on the rocks since they were wet.) but on average i'd say i'm getting a bit better at the whole climbing deal.

Now for the next techie Q. I have inferred from readin that a track stand is being able to be clipped in to my clipless pedals and be totally stopped and just balancing there. Well i trying it tonight. And all i got was a lot of scratches and a few dings on my bar ends from tips. Whats the trick to doing this. Is there any way to cheap and practice and work up to being able to just sit there without holding anything? this would really be convient on trails so i don't have to find a tree to lean against. Thanks again in advance.
It took me about a year to learn the trackstand with any compentency, and now I can do it for minutes at a time, on almost any slope- up hill or down. The trick for me was to lock my brakes. This is not a "pure" trackstand on a slope like the track guys do, but it works.

I generally use the middle ring and the biggest or second biggest cog. In a standing (it can also be done sitting, although I find it less usefull) position, I get on my good foot with my cranks pretty close to horizontal, lock the brakes, and apply pressure on my good foot pedal while turning my handlebar about 30-40 degrees away from my good foot. The idea is to establish an equilibrium of forces between rolling forward, braking, and turning sideways to remain stationary (goofy explanation, and I'm sure someone will explain better), while using subtle shifts in body position to maintain balance. I sometimes rest the top tube against my right thigh (I'm on my left (good) foot, with the handlebar turned to the right. Contrary to popular belief, you do not maintain "perfect stillness" for more than a few seconds at a time, but you keep all of the motions small enough that you basically remain in one place. It takes practice to do well, but will really save your hide during slow technical sections, switchbacks, tight singletrack, etc.

My trackstand basically looks like the one on this site http://www.trials-online.com , except that I lock my brakes.
 

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Track stands 'n stuff

Penn, you can try these steps:

Trackstands:

1. Stand on your bike with the cranks horizontal. (Track stands can be done sitting, but start out by learning to do them standing.)

2. Coasting very slowly to a stop, apply the front brake with one finger and hold it. (You can use the back brake too if you want to.)

3. Turn your handlebars about 45 degrees to whichever side feels most comfortable. (Some people prefer to always turn the front tire toward the leading foot. Also, you'll eventually discover the angle that's suits you personally.)

4. Adjust your weight so that your chest is fairly far over the handlebars.

5. Twist your body parallel to the turned handlebars.

6. Keep your legs outstretched and solid on the pedals, but not too stiff. The front foot should always put some pressure on the forward pedal, so that the bike would move forward if the brake was released.

7. Stick your hip out to the opposite side of the turned handlebars.

8. Stay relaxed (but not too much - there will always be some body tension due to the pedal pressure and the forward lean). Avoid any stiff or cramped position. Don't have a death-grip on the handlebars, or an overall rigidity will set in.

9. Make slight adjustments to keep balance.

A list like this is useful at the start because it helps us try to do it the same way every time, but once our instincts take over we'll never think about these points again.

Tips:

- pick a spot to focus on, perhaps five feet ahead on the ground, or out ahead, such as a point on a tree or on the horizon. Keep you head up, and don't look down at the bike. Try for a feeling of inner calm. .....OOOOoooooommmmmmmmmmmm....

- you'll be more confident if you practice on grass or soft, level ground.

- practice you track stands un-clipped until you get the hang of it. If you can't stand comfortably on your clipless you can just screw on some cheapie platform pedals. A few bucks at Wal-Mart will do it.

- You can practice track stands in your back yard, living room, or anywhere there's a three-by-six space. Indoors, cover the carpet or nice flooring with something first, and always hold the brakes so you don't shoot forward if you have to dab with your back foot. Doing it in a doorway or a hallway gives you something to put a hand on to steady yourself, but be aware that your hands and handlebar ends will put some blemishes on the surfaces. Just be sure to wear your helmet and move anything to the sides and ahead of you that you could bash your head on. It's a good rainy day activity too... just like riding small figures in your basement to practice your slow-speed handling. (pays off in technical terrain, switchbacks etc., produces higer ROI on that $6.50 you spent at Wal-Mart.)

- some people do a track stand without the brakes on, and keep the same weight on the pedals to avoid moving forward. You can always try that later, after getting good at doing them with the brakes on.

- after you learn to do a track stand with, say, your right foot always forward and wheel to the right, then practice it the opposite way (left foot forward, wheel to the left, right hip out). It won't take long to learn to trackstand on the new side, and you'll be more comfortable in the variety of situations that can happen on the trail.

About wet stuff:
Wet rocks are tricky, and wet roots are worse. Try to take both wet and dry roots at 90 degrees when you can. When rocks are wet try not to pass over their sloping sides if you can help it. Especially, stay off the sides of round, wet rocks.
 

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Here is a site that teaches the full technique:
https://www.63xc.com/gregg/101_12.htm

It was easier for me to learn on the pavement
Conditions are ideal on pavement and it's easy to repeat and practice techniques.

The key to trackstanding is to have just a slight incline. I am talking about the slight incline you find on the street as it slops downward towards the gutter. So nothing major.

You want to turn you front wheel up the slight incline. This will make your bike want to roll backwards. Then just slightly use your pedals to kinda move your bike up the incline and find that balance between letting the bike roll and then applying just enough pedal force to keep the bike in the same spot. If your front wheel is turned to the left, then you left pedal should be the forward pedal (9 o'clock), likewise if your front wheel is pointing to the right then have the right pedal forward.



The next half has to do with balance. Keep your cranks horizontal and stand up with your weight over the center of the bike as you stand.

I was good on the roadbike because I learned to trackstand 15 years ago. The 90 degree sweeps on the roadie bars really help with side to side movement to keep the bike balanced. When mtn biking with flats or risers, the hand/wrist placement isn't as ideal for body control. My Jones H-bars changed all that and the 45 degree sweep makes it easier to control the bike in situations like trackstanding. Now I can trackstand on my mtn biking very easily.

Practice on your driveway incline.
 

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Good advice above. The key is practice and more practice. To make the learning less threatening don't clip in (use regular shoes) or replace the pedals with flats. It's so much easier to push the envelop when you don't have to start thinking about releasing the clips.
 
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