Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Riding Lesson

Picture this scenario;
You're making fast tracks down your favorite single track and you come up on the root or rock garden that always kicks your ass and slows you down. What do you do?

A) get off and walk
B) try to pick the smoothest line
C) plow straight over the top

Chances are, if you picked A or B that explains why you're constantly getting your ass kicked on this section and your ride times and energy levels will probably reflect this. The truth is, unless you're riding a big box store brand bike you're sporting at least 3 inches of travel which is more than enough to handle most root or rock gardens packed with baby heads.

The problem with trying to pick the smoothest line is that you invariably need to slow down, scan for the smooth route and then wind your way through it. This slower speed reduces the momentum required to easily traverse all but the smallest obstacles while at the same time reducing your stability. Tihs reduced momentum and stability makes it more difficult to hold any kind of line and will require a lot of standing pedaling effort to balance and push your way through.

On the other hand, assuming that you're up on your riding skills most modern valid bikes have the suspension to easily handle roots and rocks 6-8 inches above the trail as well as being able to negotiate 2 foot vertical drop-offs without having to "huck" your way off of them.

Your best bet is to approach the garden with a good speed that will carry you over most of the obstacles without pedaling, stand up and loosen your body and allow your bike to float under you. Pick a relatively straight path through the garden and let er rip! You paid big bucks for that 5" travel trail bike so quit being a sissy and put that suspension to work.

(Alays be aware of trail conditions and your own abilites and never attempt to ride above your abilities except under controlled conditions. It's always better to walk around than be carried out)
-Mike "kerbouchaud" Sullivan