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  1. #1
    Jwo
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    How do I get over the fear of downhill speed?

    Hi Everyone,

    I am new to this forum and new to mountain biking. Just started 3 weeks ago. I've semi-enjoyed it so far. I have had some bad spills and have some pretty bad scars on my legs already. My biggest fear is catching speed when going downhill. How do you get over this? Any suggestions? I really want to get out there and not be scared.

  2. #2
    Round is a shape!
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    Wear more protective gear, and just do it. There are shin/knee guards that DH/freeriders use. There are also body armor, helmets, ect ect. Untill you feel good about things. But an accident is just that, you can never predict when things will turn for the worse.
    Common sense isn't so common....

  3. #3
    The Martian
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    I'm going through the same problem right now.

    I've been riding long enough now that I know I have the skills to go faster than I do but I'm a bit of a wimp (despite the fact I've yet to wipe out going downhill...came close yesterday though).

    The past few rides I've been selecting fireroad type trails that I'm used to and relatively confident on. I then force myself to think "do I REALLY need to be in my brakes right now or can I take this turn". I've found thinking that and forcing myself not to think "O my gosh I'm going to miss and fall off the side of the mountain" has helped me build speed over the past few weeks comfortably. In fact yesterday I didn't touch my front brakes at all and rode some of the hill with both hands completely off the brake levers. I also make a pact with myself ahead of time that it's ok to get some roadburn just not go over the handlebars; of course I think that for me finally falling will help me in the end (I'm strange like that).

    It's about time for me to try some things with a bit more difficulty than a fire road, but alas there aren't many available to me at the moment.

    I agree with the other poster though. If you are beating your legs up that much you may want to get some pads (I just wear a soccer pad on my right leg, chain ring side). Also remember that it's ok to go slow until you get the hang of your technique and can safely go faster.

  4. #4
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    Jwo Hi Everyone,

    I am new to this forum and new to mountain biking. Just started 3 weeks ago. I've semi-enjoyed it so far. I have had some bad spills and have some pretty bad scars on my legs already. My biggest fear is catching speed when going downhill. How do you get over this? Any suggestions? I really want to get out there and not be scared.
    I was the same when I just started. Just to let you know... It's better to catch speed going downhill then it is to brake down. Try it once, you won't fall. After that, you'll just enjoy doing it. I bought some protective gear recently but they seem to get more in the way then let you enjoy yourself

  5. #5
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    My best recommendation for you is to take it slow.

    Fear is a function of anticipating your perceived inability to deal with the unknown. It is the most basic of our instincts, and the one most responsible for our survival.

    There is no shame in taking your time to learn the basics of control and finesse, to hone your feelings of reaction and proper degrees of compensation for your new bike.

    I have over 25 years of mtn biking experience and even still when I encounter a new technical rock garden or strangely cambered turn for the first time I slow down and savor it, study it, re-ride it, again and again seeking to learn the secret of its perfect line.
    With time and miles will come confidence in both your bike and yourself.

    Take heed Grasshopper, to learn every nook and cranny of the envelope before you try to push its boundary’s.

  6. #6
    pronounced may-duh
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    Quote Originally Posted by WorldWind
    My best recommendation for you is to take it slow.

    Fear is a function of anticipating your perceived inability to deal with the unknown. It is the most basic of our instincts, and the one most responsible for our survival.

    There is no shame in taking your time to learn the basics of control and finesse, to hone your feelings of reaction and proper degrees of compensation for your new bike.

    I have over 25 years of mtn biking experience and even still when I encounter a new technical rock garden or strangely cambered turn for the first time I slow down and savor it, study it, re-ride it, again and again seeking to learn the secret of its perfect line.
    With time and miles will come confidence in both your bike and yourself.

    Take heed Grasshopper, to learn every nook and cranny of the envelope before you try to push its boundaryís.
    I agree with this guy. Are you racing? If not then why do you need to go faster? The point is to have fun and get some exercise but mostly have fun. So go as fast or as slow as you want. Ride so you are successful. Success breads confidence. Soon you will be more comfortable at speed and riding will feel more natural and less like your forcing the issue. Just do what makes you happy.

  7. #7
    bi-winning
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maida7
    I agree with this guy. Are you racing? If not then why do you need to go faster? The point is to have fun and get some exercise but mostly have fun. So go as fast or as slow as you want. Ride so you are successful. Success breads confidence. Soon you will be more comfortable at speed and riding will feel more natural and less like your forcing the issue. Just do what makes you happy.
    I was going to suggest riding behind a more experienced rider, but i think the above may be a better idea while you are still building skills and confidence.

  8. #8
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    From a fellow newbie I can say...take your time...no need to rush...

    I have had a few spills...but all mine were slow falls on technical stuff (for my skill level). We have some fun downhills at the trails we ride regularly...the first time I took the downhill I went REAL slow...but with each time down it I would remember the best line for my skill level, and time after time I would get faster and flow better with the trail...now I am going 25mph+ down the hill with no problems at all...yeah, there are still sections I slow up on...but I have FUN doing it and best of all, I don't kill myself!!
    "Havin' a good time, here today...Watching the sun shine, matinee...Never the wrong time, time we stay...Living the moontime, time we play"

  9. #9
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    And of course having good tires that you are confident in does help a lot!
    Life's a bi&*h & then you Ride!

  10. #10
    OMG!
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    As with learning any new skill- start small and work your way up. It's good to push the envelope, but you need to know your limits.

    A good way to get better quick is to find a hill you like and do it over and over. Go slow your first time down, and then make improvements from there.

    Have fun and be safe!

  11. #11
    Jwo
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    This is all really great advice. I do need to take it slow and not feel the need to push it so much. I think one of the problems was that I was riding with guys who are MUCH better than me and I felt like a slowpoke. I wont let that get in the way from now on. I'll let them go in front and I will catch up with them later!

  12. #12
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    Good advice above. Hit those breaks. That will stop the fear of going too fast.

    Besides not having the experience there are also many different types of riding. I think different people enjoy different aspects of it. This is why there are the different categories.

    So perhaps what your friends are enjoying is something that you are not that interested in and may have nothing to do with lack of experience.

    Different strokes for different folks (is that how that goes?) ! Give yourself time to decide
    Not much for a man to ask I dare say.. the simple maturity to ensure a limitless supply of clean socks.

  13. #13
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    I got this quote somewhere- "Speed hasn't landed people in as much trouble as braking has".

    Now this is not to say that you should just bomb the downhill run and smash everything in your path.... as several people have said- take it slow, and build up the confidence, that will help you gain trust over your bike handling skills.... and do wear a helmet.
    "Winners never quit. Quitters never win. But those who never win and never quit are idiots."

  14. #14
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    Lower your seat on the descents.

  15. #15
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    I'm new too, but maybe a few rides ahead of you. Like others have suggested, I picked up some downhill pads even though they are overkill for the trails I ride.

    I had a fall into a cholla cactus that took my nerve away and wearing the pads out for the next two or three rides helped me ride without fear--not that they would have helped much with cactus. Once I got my nerve back I left them at home. I never wear them now.

    Also, I did some drills. The cause of the cactus fall and others was loss of momentum on uphills and not being able to clip out reflexively. I found a grassy soccer field and rode as slow as I could seated and standing. I practiced clipping out too.

    Lastly, I picked up a couple of books. I'm a reader and it helped along with riding three times a week to practice.

    I still scare myself at least once on every ride but itís because Iím having fun trying to improve in small bits.

    Donít practice frustration. Try a just little more than you can do until you get it then try a little more.

    Good luck and have fun!

    Dan

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jwo
    Hi Everyone,

    I am new to this forum and new to mountain biking. Just started 3 weeks ago. I've semi-enjoyed it so far. I have had some bad spills and have some pretty bad scars on my legs already. My biggest fear is catching speed when going downhill. How do you get over this? Any suggestions? I really want to get out there and not be scared.
    I would listen to your fear. We all have different levels of eye hand coordination. Some people can react twice as fast as another person so i would not try to keep up with the JOnes.

  17. #17
    Baton Rouge, LA
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    Use Johnny Drama's Method

    Quote Originally Posted by Jwo
    Hi Everyone,

    I am new to this forum and new to mountain biking. Just started 3 weeks ago. I've semi-enjoyed it so far. I have had some bad spills and have some pretty bad scars on my legs already. My biggest fear is catching speed when going downhill. How do you get over this? Any suggestions? I really want to get out there and not be scared.
    I'm in a similiar situation. I just started yesterday, and found myself looking down some imposing descents, all scared and alone. But, I followed the lead of Johnny Drama from the HBO show Entourage, and recited the following line 3 times:

    You are not a {female body part}

    Hope this helps

  18. #18
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    I don't have downhills where I live but the general principles would apply. Familiarization, practice and taking it one step at a time so to speak.
    Just like having a break from riding for a few years you would find that you have to build up your confidence on loose gravel and around corners again. How do you do that? Well you start off slow and go faster as you get used to it and more confident. I imagine the same thing would apply for downhill and this mirrors the top advice others have given you. Do it slow or at whatever speed you're confident with, and go that little bit faster each time. If you fall then maybe you're at your limit or maybe it was just a split moment mistake.

    I know what it's like to be scared of riding down let alone riding down fast, where I used to live there were some short, rocky, loose, steep and rutted downhills (not a dh course by any means) probably not the best to learn on but I'd give it a go and if I made it to the bottom without getting off the bike (an xc hardtail) then it was a real accomplishment for me. Mind you there was never anyone watching as I ride solo most of the time, I guess riding with others (or where there are others) can do two things - lead you to be a bit of a show of and try to do things you're not quite capable of or on the other hand you have someone to watch & learn from.

    And I seem to be rambling on again.

    Just ride at your own ability, push beyond it a little at a time & enjoy.
    Life's a bi&*h & then you Ride!

  19. #19
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    my biggest advice would be weighting and unweighting especially in the corners, the more you ride you'll become more comfortable, and really pushing down hard in the corners will help you gain speed and lay off of the brakes

  20. #20
    Never Give Up!
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    Wear more safety gear and take it easy. Just dont "go for it" take it slow the couple first times, then when you get comfortable with it, you can do it with no problems.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jwo
    Hi Everyone,

    I am new to this forum and new to mountain biking. Just started 3 weeks ago. I've semi-enjoyed it so far. I have had some bad spills and have some pretty bad scars on my legs already. My biggest fear is catching speed when going downhill. How do you get over this? Any suggestions? I really want to get out there and not be scared.
    Can't believe no one has mentioned these-

    1) Get out on an open, deserted, paved road with a good runout and learn what fast really is and how the bike feels at speed. You should be able to clock well over 20mph, even on your first try. This will give you a feeling for the forces a speeding bike experiences w/o any of the risks you'll find in the woods. The more comforatble you are on the road @ 30, the more comfortable you'll be on the trail @ 15mph.

    2) Learn how to use your brakes. Get up to speed on the same road and see how long it takes you to come to a stop. Gradually get more aggressive at stopping till your wheels start to break loose. Really spend a lot of time doing this. Chewing through a set of tires is not a bad idea. (The stock ones that come on any bike usually suck anyway)

    3) Notice how your bike functions under hard braking. Sucks huh? Plus, your forearms get tired. Don't drag your brakes!!!! Most of going fast is not top speed, but maintaining a speed 2-3mph higher than your buddy for long periods of time. Scrub speed hard when you need to, then get right back up to speed. You don't pedal for no reason- don't brake for no reason.

    4) Go back to the woods. Woods are all about percieved speed, rather than real speed. Once you know you can go to zero from much faster, you'll be way more confident and willing to let it hang out.

    Getting faster at many stages is more a function of mental than physical. Free your mind and your brakepads.
    I call for a mandate to allow only road bikes on trails to limit our speeds and increase our line picking skills-FB

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9.8m/s/s
    Can't believe no one has mentioned these-

    1) Get out on an open, deserted, paved road with a good runout and learn what fast really is and how the bike feels at speed. You should be able to clock well over 20mph, even on your first try. This will give you a feeling for the forces a speeding bike experiences w/o any of the risks you'll find in the woods. The more comforatble you are on the road @ 30, the more comfortable you'll be on the trail @ 15mph.

    2) Learn how to use your brakes. Get up to speed on the same road and see how long it takes you to come to a stop. Gradually get more aggressive at stopping till your wheels start to break loose. Really spend a lot of time doing this. Chewing through a set of tires is not a bad idea. (The stock ones that come on any bike usually suck anyway)

    3) Notice how your bike functions under hard braking. Sucks huh? Plus, your forearms get tired. Don't drag your brakes!!!! Most of going fast is not top speed, but maintaining a speed 2-3mph higher than your buddy for long periods of time. Scrub speed hard when you need to, then get right back up to speed. You don't pedal for no reason- don't brake for no reason.

    4) Go back to the woods. Woods are all about percieved speed, rather than real speed. Once you know you can go to zero from much faster, you'll be way more confident and willing to let it hang out.

    Getting faster at many stages is more a function of mental than physical. Free your mind and your brakepads.
    Good point about perceived speed. I would add to this that you should try looking further up the trail. This will make it seem like you are going a it slower so maybe you won't freak out so much.

  23. #23
    Baton Rouge, LA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yolden Gears
    Good point about perceived speed. I would add to this that you should try looking further up the trail. This will make it seem like you are going a it slower so maybe you won't freak out so much.
    It's always good to set your sight far ahead of you. Let's you anticipate the move you need to make to get around obstacles. Something I transferred over from my 4x4 offroading.

  24. #24
    Dilberto
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    I drive a Porsche, as a racecar driver. Do you think I blaze a new track at full speed, the very first time out? That's suicide! Every driver(or, rider) "learns" a new course slow at first, then gradually building speed, as each turn, twist, rut, etc. becomes familiar. The more comfortable you become with a circuit- the more speed you can achieve. And, like the man wrote earlier- stopping is just as important.

    The first time I drove a go-kart, I thought I was the shizz....and nearly killed myself, by flipping the kart, going WAY too fast. Now driving a $100,000+ racing Porsche- I take each new turn S L O W. All-in-all, with everything- there is a learning curve. Confidence and speed is the result of reaching the top of it.

    -ZA

  25. #25
    Jwo
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    So I hit the trail again this weekend and it was SO much better. Mind you, it was a more manageable trail with some downhills and uphills but nothing too crazy. I listened to your advice and took it slowly and took some more risks if I felt up to it. I completed the downhills and got off the bike for some tight switchbacks or really narrow singletrack over cliffs. I was not hard on myself and didn't feel bad about getting off the bike if needed!

    Thanks again for all your advice. I am definitely getting out there and not giving up!

  26. #26
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    Lots of great ideas here but I am leery of any value that practice stops on pavement in any way would impart, or how it even relates to the very different art of scrubbing speed on dirt. I don’t even recommend using your XC race day tires on pavement.
    Perhaps you don’t now have, or never will have race day tires but the fact remains their is a world of difference between pavement with its consistently very high traction, and all the different grades of dirt riding that one finds off road.
    Once gravity gets a hold of you off road, there is a lot more to being able to slowdown or stop than just applying your breaks. As an example, a sudden curve in a fast downhill fire road can wash out your wheel with even the slightest application of breaks under certain loose or sandy conditions. In a case like this you need to steer into the turn sharply, unload your weight while repositioning your attack angle and moving your weight to the inside on the bike and make like a skier grabbing an edge. Tuners call this drifting, but they have no idea how much more of a thrill it is on only two wheels.

  27. #27
    Brian
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    Good job!

    I am a new rider as well and all of this is great info. I wreck about once or twice every time i hit the trail and you know what? its awesome! There is nothing better than getting your crashes out of the way early. I'm not going to lie my first couple of rides i was terrified of crashing and rode the brakes like a pansy, Only to find out that was the reason i was crashing all the time. Now I expect to eat it at least once so im not scared any more.

    Besides riding around with blood soaked socks and a huge flesh wound is just manly as hell. It allows oodles of opportunities to respond to gasping females with witty banter like "its just a flesh wound" or "you should see the rock".

    But seriously, The one thing I learned from my buddy jack that was that you need to look down the trail. watching your tire roll over things is about the worst thing you can do. Doing this makes you off balance by being to far forward and also dose not give your brain time to react to obstacles in advance. I noticed an immediate improvement in my reaction time and ability to flow on the trail by looking farther ahead. If your worried about bleeding then get some knee pads (which i will be purchasing to ride National trail on SoMo).

    You will never know the limits of your riding ability until you blow right past them and eat dirt like a real man

  28. #28
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    how about wearing a cup lol. seriously i reconcidered why i ever wanted to down hill when i took my first run. but i finished it and loved it. just go faster on each run. an hit the easiest runs to feel what speed is like. it is easy to get use to speed on easy dh trails. i have had my bike full out no more gears on easy runs thats how i got over the fear

  29. #29
    Dilberto
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    Appreciate The Coasting

    What finally did it for me, was huffing, puffing, and sweating it up a 1/2 mile road hill, at a ten percent grade. The downhill return ride was all I could think of, as I toiled up that hill. When it finally came- I savored the wind in my face as I reached coasting speeds nearing 50mph. Looking far ahead of you is even what expert motorcycle riders do, to prevent wrecks, and prepare themselves for unecessary collisions with automobiles. Just look as far out in front of you as you can. Your body will always know how to handle the rest.

    -ZA

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dilberto
    What finally did it for me, was huffing, puffing, and sweating it up a 1/2 mile road hill, at a ten percent grade. The downhill return ride was all I could think of, as I toiled up that hill. When it finally came- I savored the wind in my face as I reached coasting speeds nearing 50mph. Looking far ahead of you is even what expert motorcycle riders do, to prevent wrecks, and prepare themselves for unecessary collisions with automobiles. Just look as far out in front of you as you can. Your body will always know how to handle the rest.

    -ZA
    Had a road hill do the exact opposite for me. Fully tucked in, bombing the hill, guy next to me had a spedometer and called out 42.....43......44.....then I got a set of the speed wobbles. Bars and front wheel flopping back and forth, I was a passenger who couldnt do a damn thing to control that bike except keep hitting the back brakes to try and scrub off speed. Yea, we are dumbasses, no helmets, no gloves, just a trip back from the store in town. Ended up slowing enough to regain directional control and babied the rest of the hill at probably 20 or under. I havn't been able to push a road hill since, even tho I've upgraded from the dept store bike to a much better ride.

    I still dont know what brought on the wobbles, headset and hub were tight, forks didn't have any play in them, I can only guess that maybe the spokes weren't tensioned evenly, or my weight distribution was off since one hand was in a cast, or the backpack with a case of beer in it.

    I can only think of how bad it would have hurt hitting the pavement at almost 45mph with no safety gear.

    Like I said, we were dumbasses.
    Metal has two purposes in this world:
    1. To be played loud.
    2. To be bent to my will.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwrangln
    Had a road hill do the exact opposite for me. Fully tucked in, bombing the hill, guy next to me had a spedometer and called out 42.....43......44.....then I got a set of the speed wobbles. Bars and front wheel flopping back and forth, I was a passenger who couldnt do a damn thing to control that bike except keep hitting the back brakes to try and scrub off speed. Yea, we are dumbasses, no helmets, no gloves, just a trip back from the store in town. Ended up slowing enough to regain directional control and babied the rest of the hill at probably 20 or under. I havn't been able to push a road hill since, even tho I've upgraded from the dept store bike to a much better ride.
    LOL
    I thought that it would be fun to ride down the hill from the Mammoth Mtn. Expo on my trials bike with 20" wheels ... Something to do with a short wheelbase and a steep head angle I was told...

    But on another note, lots of good tips here, here's mine:

    Crashing can be fun! I've learned a LOT about riding and about my bike and it's limits by crashing. I've been shaken up and scared slow by some too, but a few easy crashes in knee/shin and elbow/forearm pads and they will give you superhuman powers.

  32. #32
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    One thing no one has mentioned yet is that for me, each ride may be different. Some days I feel the flow and find every good line and on others I find every rock and rut on the trail. On the good days you can push yourself. On the bad days, don't hesitate to slow down or even walk an occasional obstacle.

    My elbow pads also give me the confidence to try the more technical trails.

    Good Luck
    Dave

  33. #33
    Your killing my Strava
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    Learn to ride a dirtbike

  34. #34
    40 & Fast
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    I'm a bit of a speed freak.
    Overall good advice in this thread.
    In all my years riding bikes, dirtbikes, 4wheelers, snowmachines, I have learned patience when I first ride a trail or check out an area. Once I have mentally mapped out the hazards I'm ready to play.

    I encourage appropriate gear for your level of activity and don't go crazier than the gear you have with you.

    If I'm cruizing the paved trails on a nice day, I wear an open face helmet.

    If I'm bombin my favorite rough trail or downhill racing the clock, I wear a pressure suit, shin pads, full face helmet and gloves.

    PS the bike you ride has great affect on how speed feels. A choppy downhill on a hardtail can be a brakefest, whereas a 4-inch trail bike you can let it go and a freeride bike you will pedal as fast as you can. I ride a 6-inch burly AM bike and my buddy rides a 4-inch XC. I hit 35mph on my favorite downhill to his 25mph, we are both having an intense ride.
    Ride hard, Drag the broken pieces back, Share lusty tales of adventure & Tell everyone, " I almost stuck the landing".

  35. #35
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    Although i don't race MTB, i do race dirtbikes, and i just use the same principal i learned long ago on dirtbikes...downhills should be treated exactly the same as flat land, with the only difference being you slow down much slower and accelerate much faster. also, body position is obviously going to be different. I don't look at downhills as a scary or harder part of the trail, just a spot i don't have to pedal as much to keep speed

    Also, try to look far ahead. When i ride im not looking at the corner im taking, but the one after, alot of time even 2 corners after. Once you get used to it, it really helps because you can set yourself up right and know whats coming.

  36. #36
    local trails rider
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    If you are new, or just ride a trail for the first time, don't expect to blaze a trail like a DH world champion on a Final run.

    One suggestion that I have seen is to sometimes ride a trail as slowly and precisely as you can. Then see if you can hit the same perfect line at some more speed.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jwo
    Hi Everyone,

    I am new to this forum and new to mountain biking. Just started 3 weeks ago. I've semi-enjoyed it so far. I have had some bad spills and have some pretty bad scars on my legs already. My biggest fear is catching speed when going downhill. How do you get over this? Any suggestions? I really want to get out there and not be scared.
    The secret is to avoid negative thoughts.

    Try not to think about crashing and coming out of a coma in the hospital in a full body cast with your jaw wired shut and the nurse telling you that your girlfriend has run off to Paris with your surgeon..

  38. #38
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    I too could use some advice on this topic

    I really enjoy mountian biking. I ride mostly single track here with some steep downhill sections with rutts and rocks. Somedays I can make them like they are nothing other days I have a complete mental block and I just stare at them and walk down. The other day I crashed pretty hard going downhill, no broken bones luckily but it scared the hell out of me. My back tire broke loose in some deeper sand and dirt. How could I have avoided this? It was like I was fish tailing.

    Needless to say I know I am going to be a little more timid now.

    Any advice on how to take downhills like body position and such?

    Thanks

  39. #39
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    practice, practice, practice, getting faster and faster as your skill improves.
    '07 Giant Anthem 2
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    Also if you are riding with people that are faster than you. It's good to watch there technique but i find that i can do the downhills better if i don't watch them because then i pick my own lines.

  41. #41
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    I have been riding for about 5 months now. I took it very slow, purchased padding and started to ride with much more experienced riders. I also liked training and took basic skills courses with two very good pro riders. It can be quite costly to take private lessons but I learned so many skills and it really helped my confidence. Check out your local bike clubs, etc... they may be able to suggest some good trainers in your area.

    Take your time and have fun!
    Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that's why they call it the present

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    got this off a mountainboarding video but the lesson holds true in this case, it was something like this "new riders ahve a tendency to either be overly careful and not push their boundaries or they push themselves far beyond their abilities and end up injuring themselves, the key is to ride in such a way that you push your boundaries in small and responsible ammounts, now this also is about where you ride, you can go out and ride mellow trails and hills and still try riding faster and more aggressively and learn and push your boundaries, so what I'm getting at is while it's up to the rider to ride in a way that pushes your boundaries but also ride on trails that will allow you to do so."

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychobilly808
    got this off a mountainboarding video but the lesson holds true in this case, it was something like this "new riders ahve a tendency to either be overly careful and not push their boundaries or they push themselves far beyond their abilities and end up injuring themselves, the key is to ride in such a way that you push your boundaries in small and responsible ammounts, now this also is about where you ride, you can go out and ride mellow trails and hills and still try riding faster and more aggressively and learn and push your boundaries, so what I'm getting at is while it's up to the rider to ride in a way that pushes your boundaries but also ride on trails that will allow you to do so."

    So true psychobilly!

    When I first got back onto mountain biking after years of Motocross I was pushing far beyond my skills and ended up taking a pretty hard crash. Broken collar bone, cracked ribs, bruised hip, good road rash. I had on a good helmet but no protective padding.

    Needless to say this crash made me VERY gun shy for a long time (at least 2 months). I was an old lady on the brakes on most downhills, until one day I just decided to let it loose a bit and see how fast I could get going under control. What I noticed was that I was in much more control at a decent speed than when I was riding the brakes down the hills.

    Finding that zone where you feel comfortable is the most important thing in my opinion. In time you will find yourself much more comfortable, and riding at quite a bit more speed. Just take your time in getting there.

    Oh yeah, and HAVE FUN!

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooManyTacos
    Lower your seat on the descents.

    good idea.. also be sure to invest in good quality armor

  45. #45
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    Walk It. Read the descent and walk it back up. Then take it down as far as you feel your skill and nerves allow.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychobilly808
    got this off a mountainboarding video but the lesson holds true in this case, it was something like this "new riders ahve a tendency to either be overly careful and not push their boundaries or they push themselves far beyond their abilities and end up injuring themselves, the key is to ride in such a way that you push your boundaries in small and responsible ammounts, now this also is about where you ride, you can go out and ride mellow trails and hills and still try riding faster and more aggressively and learn and push your boundaries, so what I'm getting at is while it's up to the rider to ride in a way that pushes your boundaries but also ride on trails that will allow you to do so."

    Are you from Hawaii? oahu? Which trails do you ride? Kualoa ranch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Newbie08
    I really enjoy mountian biking. I ride mostly single track here with some steep downhill sections with rutts and rocks. Somedays I can make them like they are nothing other days I have a complete mental block and I just stare at them and walk down. The other day I crashed pretty hard going downhill, no broken bones luckily but it scared the hell out of me. My back tire broke loose in some deeper sand and dirt. How could I have avoided this? It was like I was fish tailing.

    Needless to say I know I am going to be a little more timid now.

    Any advice on how to take downhills like body position and such?

    Thanks

    down steep descents its good to lower your saddle a little, and position your rear behind the saddle. Just don't stand up straight and lean forward.

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    50mph downhill? I get scared going 18 mph downhill, haa.

  48. #48
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    When I started biking I would wreck at least once every other time I went. As I became more balanced, skilled, and all around comfortable I wrecked less and less. I like to ride the same trail until I get bored with it or master it. To this day when I start riding a new trail I'll wreck relatively frequently, and less the more I ride it.

    The one general piece of advice I wish people would have told me earlier is look where you want to go, not where you don't want to go. If your staring at the big rock/tree/log/whatever that you want to go around, your probably going to run into it. Focus on the part of the trail you want to ride across.

    Quote Originally Posted by Newbie08
    I really enjoy mountian biking. I ride mostly single track here with some steep downhill sections with rutts and rocks. Somedays I can make them like they are nothing other days I have a complete mental block and I just stare at them and walk down. The other day I crashed pretty hard going downhill, no broken bones luckily but it scared the hell out of me. My back tire broke loose in some deeper sand and dirt. How could I have avoided this? It was like I was fish tailing.

    Needless to say I know I am going to be a little more timid now.

    Any advice on how to take downhills like body position and such?

    Thanks
    Even after riding the same trail for the last few months I'll not be able to make a climb, or lose it on a descent. It leaves you thinking, "what the .....? I did it fine the last 15 times". There are so many variables to consider. Maybe you bounced a little different off that rock, maybe you were in a different gear, maybe your mind was wandering (i do this a lot), or many other things. Don't let the mistakes get you down and enjoy the victories.

    As far as losing control, were you braking when you fish tailed? It sounds like a case of braking too much.

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    A bit of a general add on...

    I'm new to this, too - I've been riding about 3 months - so thanks for asking the question! There's some excellent advice on here. Just to add my own twopennorth, also transferred in from another sport. Protective gear, though hot and cumbersome, is excellent in that it can give you the confidence to attack the track, extend your limits and attempt things you wouldn't attempt without it. It is therefore worth investing in if that's the way you'd like to go, even if it makes you feel a bit of a gumbee, after all this isn't about what other people think it's about you enjoying and learning a new sport. Once you're confident you can reduce it or stop wearing it altogether - but don't bin your helmet.

    Second thing, if you are anything like me you will find that over time, as you use your bike more and gain more experience you get more at home with it and comfortable with a bike under you and things that were a challenge at the beginning start to get easier. I've found I also feel more confident handling the bike as my core strength and skill improves BUT because this only happens slowly I didn't notice the improvement until I'd been riding a couple of months and suddenly realized I was doing rides in half the time it had taken me at the beginning.

    Third, be patient with yourself. Only you know what your limits are, push them but be gentle! Don't expect to be gunning it like a pro first time, you won't even if, later, you turn out to be an MTB genius!

    Cheers

    Sweary

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