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  1. #1
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    Skills problem - Mind blocking or Gear issue ?!?

    Hi guys

    I feel the need to speak about this and hopefully get some support/advice from you guys. I stopped riding almost 2 years ago, i think i was a very decent rider, i was fast, i took jumps and nailed drops with no issues what so ever, i used the terrain in my favour to gain speed, but most important thing, i took all of this in an relaxed enjoyable mood. Now, i bought a used spech Enduro a couple of months ago, on my very first ride i went smoothly and took some care cause i am very "rusty", still i made some very steeps descents and small jumps, i can`t tell you in words how happy i felt returning to mtbiking. The frame is small size, i`m 5,6 and the stem that came with the bike had 90mm long, although i jumped and dropped well i missed some agility on twisted singletracks, it was hard to enter the corners....so i changed to a 50mm stem, an attempt to improve this; well i think i did it, but on the other hand i cant jump now, i go off balance to the left, maybe i`m pushing too much with my left harm, dunno, let`s say in 3 attempts i only do it well on one, i find my self tense, stiff body and the worst of it, a bit scared. It`s been highly frustrating to think i used to do these kind of stuff and now i`m having this issues, cant have fun and i arrive home thinking if i got the right bike or something, you know ? Did i screw it by changing to a shorter stemm or is the problem in my mind ? Thx for reading, i apologise for the loooong post but as i said i need some advice.
    Last edited by drapeado; 03-21-2011 at 03:24 AM.

  2. #2
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    Couple fo things, first check to make sure the stem is not too tight on the headset binding up your bearings. If it is it could be enough to throw off your rhythm. Second, take a few "easy" rides to get accustomed to the stem change and riding again. Just playing around not trying to go fast. Work back into it and relax.
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  3. #3
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    Now jump or drop expert, but you did make a HUGE change in stem length dropping 40mm (about 1.6"), maybe not go so extreme and go for a 70mm (about a 3/4" length decrease) stem. Also what width bars do you have on? Normally when one goes for a much shorter stem its accompanied by a wider bar. The headset is a good thing to check, it only takes the smallest thing sometimes to throw you off your game.
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  4. #4
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    Changing your stem won't change the way the bike jumps, but it will change how sensitive it is to changes on the takeoff. You're probably favoring one side as you take off leading you to shift in the air. I'm struggling with the same issue, but I've heard that keeping your elbows "up" is the way to correct this. To be honest, I'm still working out what the proper amount of up is, but it seems to be helping so far.

    Don't change your stem, get used to jumping straight. You've been gone for a while, I wouldn't be so hard on yourself because you can't jump after a 2 year absence. I can hardly pedal a straight line after a winter off let alone start jumping straight away.
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  5. #5
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    it could be in your mind that your not 100% committed. im not a big jumper but i know if i attack a rock garden or rail or jump skiing and im in the mindset im not gonna make it im probably gonna fall.

    but also as zebrahum said youve been gone 2 years, i wouldnt get too worked up that you cant jump great after a couple rides.

  6. #6
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    Thx for helping me out guys.

    @Lynx: yeah, going from 90 to 50 is huge but i only rode one time with the longer one, i mean, i didnt get used to it; 2 years ago i had a 50mm stem, so i couldnt go wrong, i guess....my bar has 69mm, 40mm high.

    @DFSA: no mate, it`s not too tight, but thx anyway.

    @z and b-kul: z, i hope you nail it soon cause your riding won`t be the same. Yeah, i keep "lying" to myself that everythings fine, thing is,when i`m aproaching the drop/jump lip i`m not relaxed. I`m riding with the same people i used to, they keep telling me to loosen up but it`s not being easy tbh, also they are riding very very fast indeed, or did they developped a lot or it`s me that i am very very slow,lol. i have some solutions in my head: The obvious one, take it easy and give time to time to recover my "old" rythm,( but it`s frustrating)or borrow a 60/70mm stem from a friend to try it out; or forget about the money burned and put the 90mm back, the best riding day i had since my return was with this one after all....

  7. #7
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    Im not sure if its the equip. as much as it is your mindset. Are you trying to compare how you're riding now as opposed to two years ago? You are on a different bike now and you' re still trying to get comfortable with riding again. Give yourself some time.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gold123
    Im not sure if its the equip. as much as it is your mindset. Are you trying to compare how you're riding now as opposed to two years ago? You are on a different bike now and you' re still trying to get comfortable with riding again. Give yourself some time.
    Yeah, i guess i am, and you`re 100% right. Gotta replace the frustration by patience.

    Just noticed it`s your very 1st post, welcome to mtbr mate, enjoy your time here, tons of usefull info. around here.

  9. #9
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    Go take a few rides by yourself, getting pushed by your fast friends is not helpful for getting back into the flow. It sounds like you're uncomfortable with your friends right now and it's going to make your tension issues worse. It's not your stem, keep the short one on; you just need to ride more. Build up your confidence and skills then go back to riding with your friends.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    Go take a few rides by yourself, getting pushed by your fast friends is not helpful for getting back into the flow. It sounds like you're uncomfortable with your friends right now and it's going to make your tension issues worse. It's not your stem, keep the short one on; you just need to ride more. Build up your confidence and skills then go back to riding with your friends.
    I echo Z's comments. I had a similar experience a few years ago after returning to riding about 1 year after a high speed OTB crash. Found myself exhausted after just a few miles cause I was so tense. It really helped me to get out on my own, not push the pace and enjoy the trail, being outside and also just being alone. At the same time I continued to tweak my bike, as you are doing, in order to get that "just right" feel for me. Most important, as noted above is to ride, ride, ride. Take it easy and hit the stuff you are comfortable clearing until you can do so without mental effort, then move on up to the next level.

    Nothing wrong with tweaking your bike along the way, cause that is it's own kind of fun anyway.

    Also, This past spring I went back to the NC mountains to ride the trail that threw me those years ago. That monkey is officially off my back :-). It was a combination of...

    Having the right gear - this was a fast downhill that I crashed on my xc racer, now I ride an On One Summer Season with a very stable, slacked out HTA.
    Relaxing.
    Not chasing the guys I ride with.

    Best of luck to you.

    John
    On One Summer Season Single Speed

  11. #11
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    It`s the strangest advice someone could have given me...never thought about it....but you guys really have a point there. I feel an idiot by thinking i feel "pressure" because of my friends pace, i always rode mtb for myself, the personal goals i achieved over time were to me, and only to me, but after some serious thoughts about it...you guys are problably right. I`ll try to ride this week, all by myself and i`ll let you know how i felt on the trails. Cheers fellas

  12. #12
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    The stem has nothing to do with you current problem. I see this all the time and it always amazes me how many people never figure out what's going on.

    When people and they're nervous they tend to get stiff and the bike naturally kicks away from their dominant side cause it pushes harder. You're right handed. That's why it kicks out left. The only solution is to thoroughly convince yourself that it really isn't any big deal. I find it helpful to scope out stunts LESS before I hit em. The longer you stare at something the less likely you are to hit it. Glance at it once, don't do practice runs unless the runup sucks, and just hit it.

  13. #13
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    I think that was some sound advic given and your smart to take it I too find sometimes that when I'm riding with other who are around my skill level that I get a bit flustered to clean/make things and can end up getting frustrated because I don't, riding alone I have cleared/cleaned more obstacles than I could have imagined, but the one thing you don't have when riding alone is the sense of saftey that if something goes wrong there are others there to help and so I mostly like to ride those tech trails with those sorts of features wit at least one other rider if not group.

    Quote Originally Posted by drapeado
    It`s the strangest advice someone could have given me...never thought about it....but you guys really have a point there. I feel an idiot by thinking i feel "pressure" because of my friends pace, i always rode mtb for myself, the personal goals i achieved over time were to me, and only to me, but after some serious thoughts about it...you guys are problably right. I`ll try to ride this week, all by myself and i`ll let you know how i felt on the trails. Cheers fellas
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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  14. #14
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    Updating...

    Well, yesterday i took the bike to my usual store, the owner is a very cool guy and always ready to help, so i explained to him what was happening to me lately, he suggested a 65mm stem to start, then he would borrow another one if i needed to. even in the parking lot doing some bunny hops i felt more confortable, but i had to take some trails to be sure. I went today for a 2 hours ride, all by myself...man, the pine smell, the silence, what a joy.....anyway, every root or rock i have seen i pointed there to pratice lifting the bar..after a couple of it i can honestly say that i am happy again, you should see the smile on my face mates, i even screamed a nasty word...i was alone anyway, lol. I have decided to took one of the hardest trails we got here, i took everything except 3 huge jumps, the other ones i did it and i felt a bit nervous but the problem is mine now, i managed to jump straight while in the air, that`s what i was looking for to do, the confidence will come with more riding time, still on the trail i forgot about stems and fears and just had a lot of fun. So for now, this Easton havoc 65mm will remain on the bike, not cheap but the smile on my face, the confort i felt on the trails is priceless, i am back to mtb. Thank you for all your help fellas, happy riding !!!

  15. #15
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    Awesome! Good to hear, now go have fun!
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  16. #16
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    The longer the stem, the slower the steering so it is masking your poor jumping form. Like was already said by Mr. Blonde - you need to learn to RELAX in the air and NOT stiffen/dead sailor! Sucking the bike up under you with both your arms and legs while airborne helps immensely with form and allows you to place the bike to match the landing versus just trying to hang on and hope you fly straight! And the All Mtn forum is the worst place to ask these questions (several have even admitted they are not jumpers but are giving advice anyway?!) The best jumpers are over in the DH/Freeride and DJ sections.

    Have FUN!

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    Last edited by Gman086; 04-12-2011 at 12:42 PM.
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  17. #17
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    I asked for advices, good or bad they are all welcome . I think i`m an all mountain rider, so i asked here. I keep riding on the weekends, confidence is getting higher but i`m taking it easier on the trails, i had a big crash last week and was lucky enough for not getting hurt, i want to have fun and recover my old speed, but i sure don`t want any injuries at this stage. Cheers.

  18. #18
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    I took a big break in riding and found that the come back rustyness is very aggravating. Best bet is you are pulling up and trying to explode off the jump to hard with not enough speed. I find some jumps without boost style lips that I push into and try to boost on a full suspension bike that i tend to straighten out to much and end up over extended and leaning. try the same jump with a bit more speed and less pulling up at the top of the lip. Push into the face and let relax and see what happens, and relax spot landing and ride it out.

  19. #19
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    Have you compensate for the suspension front/rear? it's a big difference on timing. Glad to hear that your mojo is back.

  20. #20
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    Going to a super short stem takes a bit of getting used to... I have a 90mm on my Reign and a 35mm on my TranceX and I keep over-steering in the air on the Trance... I land everywhere but where I want to. Getting tired of extracting myself from the side of the trail.

    I think Gman is onto it, but I also think there is such a thing as too short a stem, at least on a trail bike with 67-8 HA and 710mm bar... Proper DH bikes have the angles to tame twitchy steering.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis
    Going to a super short stem takes a bit of getting used to... I have a 90mm on my Reign and a 35mm on my TranceX and I keep over-steering in the air on the Trance... I land everywhere but where I want to. Getting tired of extracting myself from the side of the trail.

    I think Gman is onto it, but I also think there is such a thing as too short a stem, at least on a trail bike with 67-8 HA and 710mm bar... Proper DH bikes have the angles to tame twitchy steering.
    No such thing as a stem thats too short.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotu
    No such thing as a stem thats too short.
    That's a great story.

    Your turn...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885
    Have you compensate for the suspension front/rear? it's a big difference on timing. Glad to hear that your mojo is back.
    Not sure mate, i think that`s one of those things you really don`t think about it at the moment, but i understand your point.

    @Haggis: i used 50 mm some years ago and it was perfect, so when i came back riding i couldn`t go wrong, it was a natural and necessary upgrade, but after some rides i gave up, with this frame i can not use it, maybe the frame itself it`s too small for me, dunno, what i feel is that with a longuer stem i feel a lot more confortable moving around the bike, while cornering and jumping/ taking drop offs, the more i ride it the more i like it, also the balance has improved on rough terrain with speed, with the shorter stem i noticed my waist and belly were too close to the bar before i pumped, causing the stiffness/disconfort i felt, hope you understand what i mean, english is not my native language. Anyway, personal tastes aside i am very happy guys, i have returned and i am having a blast with each ride.

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