Need advice - technique
I've been doing night rides lately so my issue is more pronounced. The issue is tackling technical climb sections. Stuff I see other guys cruise over I'm having issues with - specifically low speed rocky climb sections.
The other night I didn't tackle a section well and pretty much fell over clipped in onto some boulders - not fun!
If I wasn't clipped in I could dab here or there, but being clipped in makes it a lot harder.
I can get clipped in and out fairly easily if I'm not under the stress of eminent fall over.
So my question is should I adjust the tension on the pedals? They're time atac ...
Should I look at different pedals? I want to be clipped in but these trails are giving me fits. Is there something in between pedal wise?
It's would be nice to be on a platform pedal for those sections... I'd have a lot more confidence climbing them.
This has become highly frustrating. I want to tackle this bad especially on the night rides.
Any thoughts are appreciated!
try flats. you can always switch back if you hate them. i love flats
I switched to clipless earlier this year. Had to take it easy for 4-6 rides, and it was frustrating and embarrassing.
Then, for a while, I thought I had the hang of it, but still had issues when the pressure was on.
Six months later and I only see benefits. I eat it regularly, and I never even think about unclipping anymore, it just happens. Same for drifting corners with a foot down, same for dabbing on techy climbs.
They say it's best to build good technique with flats, then switch to clipless. If you have good technique, stick with the clipless pedals. You'll get used to it.
what about a pedal like the CB Mallet 3 that has a decent sized platform with pins, as well as allowing you to clip in? Then you can unclip in a sketchy part if needed, or if you accidentally slip out in a technical climb where it's really hard to clip back in, you've got enough of a grippy platform to grunt through.
Dont Rep me
Mallets may help you transition from flats to clipless, but if you're used to clipless it's just extra weight.
You can't unclip and pedal well, because the eggbeater part sticks out and the shoe is not secured on the pins.
But it does help if you can't easily clip in on techy uphill.
I'm going to say gearing. As you might be a newer rider, you might be thinking it's best to spin a low gear really fast through these sections, but it's basically a recipe for stalling out. There are many sections I can't make in the granny gear, but I can make them just fine uphill in the middle ring. Your wheel has way too much torque and you get thrown off balance way too easy in the granny gear much of the time. Try to ride a few gears higher. It's usually uncomfortable at first, but you adapt. It was kind of a rule back in the day that the 22t chainring and 32t rear cog was not a "realistic" combo, because you'd be going too slow to balance, so often the lowest people would shift was 1:2. Now with 29ers the wheels are a bit more stable, but the same idea still applies and depends on the rider's skills and other factors. You can still be riding uphill in too easy of a gear. It just might be that this is the gear you "barely make" the climb in, but if you limit yourself to just the middle ring or a certain gear in the rear, you'll find that in a few weeks your body adapts.
"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.
Lower tension. I have my SPD's on lowest possible.
All good advice and I appreciate it a ton.
I won't go back to flats - I really like the clipless for 85%+ of my riding time !
Gearing - yes I was getting that sense, so today I started trying it hammer more up stuff than go into the lower two gears and spin through it - success to some degree!!! It felt great! I tackled a few sections I haven't been able to before... Awesome!
I'm still going to switch to Shimano xtr pedals - I think setting the tension lower and having the larger platform will help getting in and out a lot quicker. I notice with the time atac pedals I slide around here and there trying it get back in. I think the larger platform will help if I can't clip in immediately.
Great stuff guys... Thanks so much! It felt great today to work on my inertia and hammer through more in slightly harder gears. I love the feeling of banging through a techy section!
Re: Need advice - technique
So, great pedal advice aside here's a couple tips technique wise:
On really technical climbs, you wanna slow down, catch your breath and conserve energy when its smooth or flat, saving that energy to explode/tackle the rougher/steeper sections. Inertia is your friend.
So when negotiating the steepest or most technical parts, what to do?
Large step up or multiple steps:
Often a quick standing power climb, initiated a couple yards before the feature, and carried through, will get you over these.
Then, when in the rough parts, crouch in your stand, and let the bike move under you to get over the steps.
For that one extra big step up, at the top, get your weight forward to lunge your center of gravity over the feature, then let the bike follow, and get your weight back to get it over.
For longer really step sections with relatively good traction, or moderately steep but gravelly / sandy, or moderate rocky/bumpy with loose rock, try to stay seated and spin, crouching chest down low over the bar.
Fitness can't be understated for tech climbing, and, interval training is really good for this: strong sprinting intervals are the type of fitness that will really help. Also cleans and high rep squats or leg press. (15-30 rep sets to failure)
And finally practice! Break it up into shorter sections and practice those one at a time. Go back twenty feet and try it again then again. Once you nail it, don't leave it behind! Go back and do it again so muscle memory sets in.
Hope that helps.
A bike can be lightened, optimized in setup and tweaked for all there is to make it easier but I find that having some basic trials skill like trackstanding and pedalpunching really goes a long way to tackle the climb. Able to hook the front on a ledge and still track to take a breather and think out the next step... priceless skill/technique that should be on every mtber's list.
Bigger tires, tubeless, with less pressure.
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