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Hello I am new on this page. Whats the best way to train on becoming more relaxed on down steep hills? I have a park close by I that has some pretty steep hills but also has concrete stairs as well. I just got back into riding again. Many moons ago I used to ride down a mountain in Washington state. Just trying to be more bold. What has those that are experienced done and still be safe?

Can I get some words of wisdom and personal experiences?
 

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For me, the best way to train is just to ride whatever you can. If that means a short 20 minute ride, then that would work. I have a park nearby that is a simple 30 minute loop with some pretty steep sections. Its pretty up and down, up and down, but it gets me riding. If I can't make it out for longer rides, then I'd just go there and do 2-3 laps around.
 

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Not sure exactly what you want to accomplish, but I am back into riding after 15 years off.

Biggest thing for me, was just learning what these new bikes are capable of. If there is a section that I am unsure of, I will if I have the time, is hold the bike up on the section. Look at the angle, and figure where my body will be. If it looks like my center of mass will be 6" or so from the front axle, it's a hairy drop. 8-12+", I just go for it.
I am not convinced a dropper post is the answer to everything downhill of technical. If you can put your body weight on the seat ( I fortunately am tall enough I easily can put the rear of the saddle in my chest) and I find it helps hold the rear down. Similar to weighting the outside pedal or peg on a motorcycle.

For faster sections, that just takes time. I am still re-learning that skill. Usually I want to try to look at least 5-10 full bike lengths ahead (depends on speed and how technical a trail is), and read the trail at that distance. I try to map my route out in my head. Dont keep looking at a section, but keep looking ahead, and let your vision memory guide you.
 

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If you can put your body weight on the seat ( I fortunately am tall enough I easily can put the rear of the saddle in my chest) and I find it helps hold the rear down.
Ouch! Sorry... have to comment here. The dropper gets the seat out of the way so that it is nowhere near close enough to hit you when the bike is bucking around under you. With as hard as the back end of the bike comes up when it hits me in my rear-end, I can't imagine wanting that same force hitting me in my chest.

If you don't get a dropper, I HIGHLY recommend at least stopping for a second and dropping your seat manually before you do this again. You can probably get away with hanging off the back end of your bike a few times, but that will eventually catch up to you in a very expensive hospital trip. I'm super glad you are riding bro, I just really want to save you some pain here.
 

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I'm sure it depends on riding terrain, and I'm sure higher speed terrain is more of a concern in that case.

I am not talking about laying on the bike while descending, that would be silly. I guess it kind of sounds that way though! When I "lay on the seat" is over steeper areas, either over large rocks, logs, or terrain in general that puts my center of mass less than 8" from the front axle, which is usually our much slower sections. Example - we have a 32" high log here, where if you did not get way over the back, you will likely flip over the front on the down side. In those instances, of course I am not going very fast, and on the downside of the log, I do lay down on the saddle.

Definitely do NOT just lay on the saddle, especially anyone who is an inexperienced rider. The bike needs to be able to dance under you!
 

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I've found it to be a good exercise to find a spot that's really at the limit of your comfort zone, then ride it a few times. If you botch it, don't leave it at that: give it another try. Your last repetition should be a successful one, so you leave with a good mind-set.

Also there will be times when you are heading down with both brakes engaged. If the section is fairly straight, just let go of the brakes and keep your eyes to the front: look at the line you want to take, ignore obstacles. It's quite exhilarating and builds confidence to your skills.
 

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Getting off and dropping the seat down is a good practice for steep stuff, a lower center of gravity will help save you from a painful endo. Getting too far back off the saddle is no good either. Any bucking of the back wheel will send you into an endo. You can also buzz your butt on the back tire and/or get your ballsack sucked between the tire and frame. I have done both and it is not recommended:eekster: Grab a milk crate or find a large step somewhere, but your back tire up top and your front tire on the ground. Lock the brakes, have an assistant hold you upright and get a feel for your center of balance. You want your feet on the pedals doing all of the balancing for you, your hands shouldn't have a death grip on the handlebar or holding you up. You should be able to let go of the bars and not fall over, just enough grip to hold the bars with a finger on each hand. This is how you should always feel on the bike, all your balance at your feet, you should be able to let the bike rock and roll freely underneath you back and forth. When you get the feel for this, riding anything steep will feel more controlled and comfortable.
 

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Ya know, since it was mentioned, riding stairs is a good way to get comfortable with the general feeling of descending steep rocky/rooty sections of trail. Start with a small set, work your way up. You'll learn a lot about how to relax and feel in control while your bike is bouncing around and gravity is tugging you along. The uniformity of stairs helps make things a lot more predictable than trying to practice on different sections of trail. Start with a set of 3 or 4, work your way up to 20 or 30 (the bigger the better, the more time you can spend descending continuously, the more of a comfort factor you'll develop more quickly, IME anyway.)

Starting out, remember to give yourself enough run-up room; you want to be comfortably and confidently riding along when you reach the edge, not fumbling to find your foot position and balance, etc. Get at least 8 or 10 pedal strokes in if possible. Roll in at a fast walking past, once the front tire goes over the edge, relax, look at your run-out, commit, and let the bike bounce straight on down. You can drag your brakes a little, but you don't want to do it too much - there's stability in momentum. There're lots of good videos, etc on body positioning, as well as what other people have already said here. You'd be surprised how much you can learn about riding in the local park, or your driveway for that matter.

Definitely drop the seat while practicing. Dropper posts work, but a seatpost QR or an allen wrench do too. The purpose is not to let you sit lower, but to get the seat out of your way while you ride standing (first things first, you have to be comfortable riding out of your saddle - I'm assuming you're there already, but if not, it's critical to riding steep or technical stuff to be able to move around on your bike).

Good luck!
 

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With as hard as the back end of the bike comes up when it hits me in my rear-end, I can't imagine wanting that same force hitting me in my chest.
Rear tyre hitting you in the balls is better than seat thumping you in the chest?

Seriously: I find that getting my weight low over the bike is at least as important as getting my weight back, when riding down something a bit steep.
Try not to brake in the steepest spots...
Walk your bike down in spots that worry you. Observe what the bike does when you don't disturb it much.
 
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