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  1. #1
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    Help - How to avoid the "dead sailor"

    I'm getting to the age where I don't bounce like I used to so I'm getting more careful.

    At the same time, I really want to improve my jumping ability. Yes - this is an accident waiting to happen. However, I pre-qualify myself because I used to jump all over the place on my old BMX bike.

    Now, I've read that generally too much input on the take-off - like bunny hopping or trying to "pop" the lip - is a good way to dead sailor. But that used to be my whole style. I could get more air off smaller jumps than anyone I knew.

    So, here I am today. My rigid 29er actually jumps pretty good, but it still feels awkward when I get too high. My 5" 26er jumps pretty good, too, but I get the same awkward feeling - so I'm thinking it's me, not either bike. Any pointers outside of practice practice practice? Trying to get that old feeling back.

    btw - the best jump line around here is Ray's Indoor MTB Park, and I'm pretty awful on that. Stringing together jump after jump seems to be completely beyond me right now. I have no qualms about the expert drops at Ray's, though.

    Oh, and the 29er is set up for XC, leaning toward AM, while the 26er is set up AM, leaning toward XC. Maybe my bars should be higher? They are still below my seat on both bikes.

    Thanks,
    -F

  2. #2
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    I also never bail.

    Even when I should. I always think I can save it. Which, of course, is only true about 50% of the time.

    A whole 'nother skill set lost to dis-use.

    -F

  3. #3
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    How 'bout bad timing?

    Pulling up late or pre-compressing at the wrong time so that the suspension is in a weird spot when you launch?

    -F

  4. #4
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    1. Get a camera
    2. Film yourself practicing said jumps
    3. Post video here

    Not saying I am one to give instruction, but the only way to avoid the "dead sailor" is to stay FLUID on the bike in the air. Without seeing what you are doing, I don't think anyone can coach you thru it.

    Besides, we all enjoy bike vids.

  5. #5
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    Definitely post a video of yourself crashing.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Pinpillage View Post
    Definitely post a video of yourself crashing.
    Naysayers never apologize. Critics go to their grave thinking everyone else is wrong.
    ╭∩╮( . )╭∩╮

  7. #7
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    Neither of the bikes you described will be very good at jumping at Ray's. Take out one of their demo DJ bikes for a little while and see how that feels on the jumps. Their rental bikes are Trek Tickets and Mullets both would be better than your current bike selection.

    The jumps at Ray's are built specifically for 26" wheels with the angles of the ramps, it becomes more difficult with a larger diameter wheel just like it is difficult to ride a 26" DJ bike at a BMX spot. I would at least give the proper bike a try before you go claiming it's all your fault. I'm certain you have technique issues that you need to work out but it's much easier to do so on the proper equipment.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  8. #8
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    Preload your suspension @ the base of the jump and let the suspension take care of the "pop" at the lip. As a beginner, it also helped me to turn the bars a bit in the air...seemed to put me more in control instead of just going along for the ride.

  9. #9
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    The best advice I got on jumping was just to think of it like an extension of pumping. Pump the transition and let the bike come up to you, sucking it up with your legs, then extend your legs and the bike to land.
    Dead Sailoring is usually a result of not using your vision properly, focusing to much on the lip of the jump and not on where you are going to land. Soften your gaze at keep your eyes moving forward past the jump.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post

    Maybe my bars should be higher? They are still below my seat on both bikes.
    Well there goes one huge problem right there. Look at any dirt jumper or freeride rig and you'll notice they all pretty much have slammed seats.

    Don't raise your bars, lower your seat.

    Then make sure you DON'T do nothing in the air. That is the worst thing to do (nothing). Do as was mentioned above, at least tweak your bars. It keeps you in control of the bike vs the bike in control of you.
    Transition Bank
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by whodaphuck View Post
    Preload your suspension @ the base of the jump and let the suspension take care of the "pop" at the lip. As a beginner, it also helped me to turn the bars a bit in the air...seemed to put me more in control instead of just going along for the ride.
    this is what i learned to do. transfer that energy and momentum off the lip with a tiny bit of style. no need to whip but blowing off that energy helps the wind in directing your sail. I definitely agree with the other post about getting the right horse for the course. right technique with the right tools. got a foam pit to practice in?
    i really should type less and tread more

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53119 View Post
    . got a foam pit to practice in?
    His home jumps are at Ray's, there's a foam pit there.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  13. #13
    usually cranky
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    best way to avoid being a dead sailor- vitamin c.

  14. #14
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    Having your seat above your bars is a huge problem when jumping. Going out of your way to give a lot of preload is not a good idea either. The best way to clear any jump is to give yourself some "pop" by a controlled preload/bunny hop that is one fluid motion with no jerking movements. Nice and smooth with a little style.

    Also, the jump in the beginner room at rays is one of the harder ones to clear because you have to rail the berm that lead up to it pretty hard to get enough speed to clear it. I have spent the last few years teaching my wife to clear jumps there and they got rid of the best jump to learn on last year. (the single box that was in the moen section, now replaced with some awkward jumping over log things)

    I was talking to Ray a few weeks back and there are suppose to be a lot of changes this year, so hopefully they will have some new jumps that are good to practice on for you.

    Edit: You really dont need any "pop" with the rythem section in the moen area. That section can be easily cleared by just having a reasonable amount of speed.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by morandi View Post
    The best advice I got on jumping was just to think of it like an extension of pumping. Pump the transition and let the bike come up to you, sucking it up with your legs, then extend your legs and the bike to land.
    Dead Sailoring is usually a result of not using your vision properly, focusing to much on the lip of the jump and not on where you are going to land. Soften your gaze at keep your eyes moving forward past the jump.
    This.

    The key to avoiding dead sailing is to stay real loose and SUCK the bike up under you in the air by bending your arms and legs (Lee teaches "landing gear UP" in air which is a great analogy).

    And word of advice... you'll get better advice for jumping questions in the DH/FR forum. We don't bite... hard.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    Last edited by Gman086; 09-13-2011 at 04:48 PM.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post

    The key to avoiding dead sailing is to stay real loose and SUCK the bike up under you in the air by bending your arms and legs (Lee teaches "landing gear UP" in air which is a great analogy).

    And word of advice... you'll get better advice for jumping questions in the DH/FR forum. We don't bite... hard.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    ^ Agreed, letting the bike come up under you is key, then you can do other stuff for style once you get that down.

    Dead sailoring is also caused by trying to set a trajectory coming off the lip. i.e. you don't want to compensate for a steep landing by trying to initiate a forward rotation of the bike off the lip, instead keep the front wheel up until the rear is off the jump, let the bike come up under you and level out, then push down on the bars to meet the landing.

  17. #17
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    Great advice guys, especially the trick of doing something while in the air, to sort of give you something to push back on before landing, and putting the landing gear up is likely key as well. I am not a good jumper, currently on a no big jump policy due to a concussion last time at Dithie.

    I want to work on it more and get good at it.

    Thank you all.

  18. #18
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    oh man, i sailored during my first (light) dh run ever last week and i felt totally helpless in the air. i was essentially only holding onto the bars and thankfully managed to just land properly on the pedals but it's not something i want to experience again. unfortunately for me, the only way to practice is to ride those runs again and hopefully not crash. i understand what to do in my head but i cannot execute it. i am just totally frozen when airborne.
    RIP Adam Yauch

    "M.C. for what I AM and do, the A is for Adam and the lyrics; true"

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine View Post
    oh man, i sailored during my first (light) dh run ever last week and i felt totally helpless in the air. i was essentially only holding onto the bars and thankfully managed to just land properly on the pedals but it's not something i want to experience again. unfortunately for me, the only way to practice is to ride those runs again and hopefully not crash. i understand what to do in my head but i cannot execute it. i am just totally frozen when airborne.

    Where were you riding at? what kind of jumps were you doing?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by morandi View Post
    The best advice I got on jumping was just to think of it like an extension of pumping. Pump the transition and let the bike come up to you, sucking it up with your legs, then extend your legs and the bike to land.
    Dead Sailoring is usually a result of not using your vision properly, focusing to much on the lip of the jump and not on where you are going to land. Soften your gaze at keep your eyes moving forward past the jump.
    Thanks everyone for the great comments and advice.

    A bike swap may help. But damn, a 5" bike should fly no matter where you launch it (Ray's may be an exception).
    Seat down will prob'ly help.
    Looking at the lip is bad (how did you all know I did that when I didn't even know I did that? ).
    Doing a small move in the air - and not before I leave the lip - will prob'ly help.

    This (above), though, rings loudest for me. This is "that old feeling". Pump the tranny - at the right time.

    Lots of food for thought. I need to build some dirt jumps!

    See? This forum does work right sometimes! Bookmarking right now.

    Of course, if I take a header it's all your fault.

    -F

    PS - Mullen is dead on in his description of the "beginner" jump and the now missing jump at Ray's. I still can't totally clear the beginner jump - the rear tire hooks the end of the deck almost every time, no matter how fast I feel like I'm going. The other line, where the jump is gone, launches you, but you don't come all the way back down - you step up onto a low deck, which I still get clumsy on. Maybe some body armor for extra courage would help.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Pinpillage View Post
    Definitely post a video of yourself crashing.
    You guys suck!

    -F

  22. #22
    GAME ON!
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    Quote Originally Posted by innovator8 View Post
    Where were you riding at? what kind of jumps were you doing?
    blue mountain in ontario. couple of small booters.
    RIP Adam Yauch

    "M.C. for what I AM and do, the A is for Adam and the lyrics; true"

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    best way to avoid being a dead sailor- vitamin c.
    Fixed
    Naysayers never apologize. Critics go to their grave thinking everyone else is wrong.
    ╭∩╮( . )╭∩╮

  24. #24
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    I was, well guess still am in the same situation as you....first thing, whatever was done on a BMX is a very different thing on bigger wheels. After accounting for all the differerences like a zillion time in my mind and gotten tuned to my 6" AM bike... the biggest factor to pulling it off and landing safe has been: Breathing.

    I'm not too skilled to give the finer points of how to execute the moves or variation on how to change things in midair. but like so many things I did previously, swinging a golf club to firing a rifle, timing that one deep breath right does loads of wonder. Looking at the landing and focus instead of looking wide at everything helps for me too. Much less tendency to twitch the bar every which way and help keep getting freezing up.

  25. #25
    usually cranky
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y View Post
    Fixed
    haha thanks, but i actually think lemons are better than limes in that case.

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