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  1. #1
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    Bike skills to learn for rocky desert terrain

    Some riding mates of mine were debating which skills are the best to master for navigating our trails here in Arizona. We are all higher intermediate riderís. So which base skills are most important to a have solid fundamental of:

    Cornering
    Bunny Hop obstacles
    Track stand/hopping
    Jumps
    Fill in the blank...

  2. #2
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    I don't know what the riding is like in AZ but I'll be in Sedona next month. From what I can see from vids, it is pretty chunky/steep so I would say good brake modulation/balancing is important. Staying loose in the chunk and not tightening up would also be important.

  3. #3
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    I would say line selection trumps all the others, and to go along with that, maintaining momentum on the rough sections. I once stopped at that spot on Porcupine Rim in Moab; you all know the spot -- where you first get a nice view of Castle Valley..anyway, there's a staircase of rock leading down to that overlook. On one occasion, I watched three riders in a row go over the bars in that section. One of them broke his arm.

    They all picked the worst possible lines through that section, despite the trail being at least 15 feet wide right there. Also, they had their seatposts all the way up.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.

  4. #4
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    Removing cactus spines.
    Do the math.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    I would say line selection trumps all the others, and to go along with that, maintaining momentum on the rough sections. I once stopped at that spot on Porcupine Rim in Moab; you all know the spot -- where you first get a nice view of Castle Valley..anyway, there's a staircase of rock leading down to that overlook. On one occasion, I watched three riders in a row go over the bars in that section. One of them broke his arm.

    They all picked the worst possible lines through that section, despite the trail being at least 15 feet wide right there. Also, they had their seatposts all the way up.
    Hahahaha i love that spot for lunch. Admire the view, then watch people screw up the stairs. It's great.

    AZ riding demands good skill at step ups/step downs and staying on the gas on climbs. Being really good at letting the bike 'flow' under you as it goes through rocks is helpful. There's absurd grip in some spots, and being able to take advantage of it is a big deal. Being able to track stand is part of being a capable mtb'er; you use it constantly (if briefly) when it's in your skill set. Cornering and jumping is not much of a factor compared to most places.


    It could be summed up as AZ riding requires a calm body and a good understanding of the bike's balance points.


    I did a 3 month mtb trip in AZ a couple years ago. Rode almost everywhere. The trails and useful skills are fairly different to my northern california home, where hitting jumps, sliding through turns, and easy climbs are the normal thing. It was hard to find the >2000' descents that are part of almost every ride here.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    I would say line selection trumps all the others, and to go along with that, maintaining momentum on the rough sections. I once stopped at that spot on Porcupine Rim in Moab; you all know the spot -- where you first get a nice view of Castle Valley..anyway, there's a staircase of rock leading down to that overlook. On one occasion, I watched three riders in a row go over the bars in that section. One of them broke his arm.

    They all picked the worst possible lines through that section, despite the trail being at least 15 feet wide right there. Also, they had their seatposts all the way up.
    I always have lunch there.

    Also, this is the most import skill I would as well. Being able to read the trail will ( dare i say) trump the other skills. Second I would say loading and unloading the bike or weighing and unweighting each wheel to make the chucky stuff where you do not have as much speed to keep moving smooth. As we all know is that type of riding there is rocks, lots of rocks so pedaling is not always the best option.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by hitechredneck View Post
    I always have lunch there.

    Also, this is the most import skill.


    ....
    Keep trying to do the awesomest thing you've ever done.

  8. #8
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    How to shorten your chain to make it single speed

    How to boot a tire with cliff-bar wrappers or a dollar bill

    How to bring enough water/be hydrated

    How to wear pants and jacket when it's 60 degrees

    How to use sunscreen on every ride

    How to remove cactus spines with duct tape

    How to keep stinging sweat out of your eyes

    How to set and maintain tubeless tires/sealant

    These are important skills in AZ.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  9. #9
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    For climbing in technical terrain I found practicing track stands (even in parking lots, curbs, etc.) around my house 1-2 times a week made a very quick improvement. I was that rider that if I lost my balance on a techy section for a split second, I was foot-down and walking. But it didn't take long and I noticed a difference and was often able to keep my balance and start pedaling.

  10. #10
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    The worst I remember from my Phoenix childhood was the sand traps on dirt roads and in arroyos. Go fast to float, try to keep from breaking through... Also learn to tolerate fist-sized rocks rolling out from under your tires

  11. #11
    Thinking about riding.
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    Letting the bike do the work, while staying fluid on it.

  12. #12
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    ^^^, yeah, loosen your grip and let it rattle

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