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  1. #1
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    How to ride rothrock

    So, being new to the State College area, I went and visited Shingletown. And I must say, there are a LOT of rocks. I mostly ride on smooth track back in Pittsburgh, but would like to learn how to ride rock gardens. So, how do you conquer them?

  2. #2
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    Just did a ride somewhat near the State College myself in Bald Eagle State Forest (and got lost, heh). It certainly gets pretty hairy once you start descending on those enormous never-maintained rock roads around Strong Mountain.

    Really, you just have to keep your weight balanced properly and stay behind the saddle if it's really steep. If you're riding a hardtail, stand a little ways off your saddle and clench your thighs around it, assuming it's not steep enough that you need to be over the rear tire. Pick a line that avoids rocks that look like they could throw you off balance with ease while avoiding getting sucked into any ruts or washed out parts of the trail. Go as fast as you feel comfortable, but you must avoid going too slow. More speed means less screwing around with your front handlebars while you're going over those rocks. Obviously, having a full suspension allows you a little more flexibility in your line choice.

    All else fails, "just do it" is the best applicable advice. It's amazing what your bike can do if you just trust it.

  3. #3
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    One of the most fun places in the US to ride. Bring some tech skills.

    How I conquered those trails? Ooof, raw power. You have to just power through what you can at Shingletown, taking breaks if you need to. I never got a continuous run out there, but it was fun as hell to break my ass doing stuff I applied myself to.

    Once you get that power, there's no real technique. Some say loosen up on the bars, some say tighten and don't let the bike control you. All I can say is do what the situation dictates from second to second because rockgardens are unpredictable in all planes.

  4. #4
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    Chime In

    I keep my elbows out and seat lowered. I've noticed keeping my elbows out (and bent) keeps my head back and I avoid endoing when I my shocks bottom out.

    Also "riding the back of the seat" with pedals leveled.

  5. #5
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    I've cleared Shingletown climbing from bottom to top (minus the small hike-a-bike section towards the bottom), it's something that takes practice.

    For the most part, riding rock gardens is a matter of being confident enough to forge through them, and maintaining your confidence as well as your momentum through the entire garden.

    The moment you choke up, you'll lose your momentum, and you'll end up burying the front wheel in a rock. Visualize your line through the garden, actively look for the path of least resistance.

    I usually just put it in a lower gear, get a little momentum going, and get out of the saddle. You and the bike need to be able to move fluidly and separately from each other. You need to be able to float through the garden. If you're sitting down, you'll end up A) bashing your jewels, and B) getting your momentum sucked out of you.

    If you want a good rock garden to practice on, go to the junction between Old Laurel and Three Bridges. There's a rock garden there that will vex you for your entire stay here in State College. I've been riding here for 4 years now, and only cleared it a handful of times.

  6. #6
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    keep some speed. the moment you lag your done for. if you can stop at the top and pick your line before you get into it thats better also. at least carry enough speed that if you go OTB you will fly though the air and land on the dirt on the other side and not the rocks.
    count your blessings

  7. #7
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    So on Wednesday, I went for a ride, and I did really well. I got through almost every area, except the walk a bike section near the bottom. I only had to put my foot down 4-5 times. I did it by powering through it, keeping speed, and looking for a line. I guess the first time I went, I was going to slow, and I looked right in front of me.

    So my ride was awesome, I went up the lower Shingletown trail, up Sand Spring trail to bald knob, then down Sand Spring. Then I went over to the charcoal flats and finished with the red-white trail. Would have been perfect, but about a quarter mile after I got on Charcoal flats my left crank arm started to come off. Never had that happen, but I made it through and got out with it really loose. At the trailhead someone luckily had the hex wrench to tighten it. And I made it most of the way back to State College before it came loose again. Either way, it was an awesome ride on some awesome trails.

  8. #8
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    Rothrock is fun, just discovered the area myself. Definitely not easy though.

  9. #9
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    Good stuff, glad to hear you progressed through it.

    Would you happen to run Race Face cranks? If so, never leave home without an 8mm allen key..

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