Riding downhill with loose rocks?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Riding downhill with loose rocks?

    I moved back to Waco and finally got to go out and ride Cameron Park, this being my first time on a real trail outside my parent's land. The ride was great, but my biggest issue I can't seem to do right is riding down a steep slope with lots of small loose rocks on the trail. I don't have the courage to go down it fast and with the loose rocks I slide if I use the brakes. I know to move back and down on the bike. I just don't quite have the skills down to ride a steep downhill fast, especially with loose rocks. Any tips?
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  2. #2
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    I am just a beginner at the mountain thing this year myself. I ride the local power line that has tons of loose gravel and some steep slopes. The first few times I went down some of the grades I tried to hold my speed with the brakes and almost crashed. Now I just pick the best line I can and let her rip. It's amazing how much better it goes if you don't try to hold the bike back.

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  3. #3
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    It sounds like you know the general technique, you just need to develop your skill. Find some hills that are shorter or less steep and start practicing. Or, start at the bottom of this hill and walk up however far you're comfortable, then come back down. Keep going further up as you master it.

  4. #4
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    Try to not lock up your wheels with the brakes. Squeeze the brakes just enough to slow you down but keep your tires rolling to maintain control. Also, lower your saddle on the downs to help you to be able to get over the rear tire and don't be scared if the back tire buzzes your butt.
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  5. #5
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    wear protection and dont be in a hurry, increase the speed as you feel more comfortable.

  6. #6
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    Find some hills that don't have any loose stones and are relatively smooth to practice your skills and technique before you go flat out down loose hills.
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  7. #7
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    I always concentrate on the bottom of the hill to plan the stop or slow down, then just modulate the brakes if needed on the way down. Let your suspension absorb the rocks; don't even look at them unless they are large enough to need to avoid. Even then, look at your line that will avoid the large ones, never look at the one you want to miss. Momentum is your friend!

  8. #8
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    Momentum is your friend. This means the faster the tires turn the more stability the bike has. It has to do with angular momentum. Go to slow and the rocks can toss the bike off course. Go fast enough and the bike wil still bounce over the rocks, but it will remain up right.

    The best way to do this when riding it to look up. Look farther down the trail rather than over the front wheel. This will make things appear slower as you have more time to react. Use the brakes to control the speed, but not stop. Always keep the bike rolling.
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  9. #9
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    Use more back brake than front too. Only grab as much front brake as possible without causing the wheel to lock up, which is often not much on steep loose stuff. If you have to, lock the back wheel completely and just ride it down the hill that way. If the hill's not right for that then let it roll as much as possible.

    And remember that as long as you keep your balance, the bike will go wherever the front wheel guides it so focus on what's happening in the front and don't worry about the back.

  10. #10
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    Stay back, stay low, stay light on the bars and only use enough brake to remain in control. Like the others have said, momentum is your friend.

    On a side note, how was the trail traffic at cameron park? I've been there a couple times but the trails were packed with people so I never went back.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bammer150 View Post
    Use more back brake than front too.
    I thought it was the other way around.

    How bout making a turn on loose gravel? Any tips for that?

  12. #12
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    Hate that kind of terrain!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLAMM0 View Post
    wear protection and dont be in a hurry, increase the speed as you feel more comfortable.
    That's what she said.

    I find that going too slow makes it worse, and it's best to let your bike bounce a bit than to end up fish tailing due to no speed. It's crappy terrain, but if you get good at riding it then you'll have a talent that could help in the long run.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all the tips. I plan on going back tomorrow and riding around for a couple hours and Saturday morning I'll probably hit the trails again. I didn't get a lot of riding time in last ride because my friend came along and he was running. As fit as he is, he can't keep up with a 29er mountain bike so I had to stop a lot.

    I know more back brake than front. I learned that the hard way. I took my first crash after jumping a rock at the top of a hill and then grabbing the brakes as a first instinct. Since I haven't mastered jumping just yet my front wheel hit first and I ended up flipping around and since it was a hill I had a good long fall and scraped up my hands trying to break my fall. I bought some riding gloves after that. I always wear a helmet.

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbnoobadam View Post
    On a side note, how was the trail traffic at cameron park? I've been there a couple times but the trails were packed with people so I never went back.
    On a Sunday about 2:00-2:30 out on the back trails it was pretty dead. Saw one jogger that I barely missed coming around a corner, and met up with three bikers along the way. That was in about an hour and a half to 2 hours of riding time. If you stay on the river trail, that's probably the most popular trail and on peak times you will see lots of people on that trail. If you bike the back trails you'll probably not run into a lot of people, and the back trails are better for biking anyway. I went around the loop on the Powder Monkey trail. For reference see the trail map. http://www.waco-texas.com/userfiles/...-Trails-09.pdf
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  15. #15
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    Momentum is the key, which can be achieved two ways.
    Go fast and go big!
    or
    Take it on as a technical challenge, slower but more maneuvering.
    This is actually more likely to make you crash than going fast and just going big.
    Sure, the crash would be smaller, but less likely to happen.

    If you want to keep taking it slower then you might want a new wheelset.
    The thing that made a big difference to me is when I tried a bike with a new wheelset that has higher POE.
    Modulating power stop go turn stop go turn billy goat maneuvers became totally manageable, up and down hill.

    Put on Pads, then practice falling on them to boost your confidence.
    Then going big won't be so intimidating.

    Ultimately going fast and big on downhills is the best at adrenalin pumping fun!

  16. #16
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    Definitely get yourself some pads. Speed is your friend too. It's can actually be more dangerous to hit your brakes while descending a loose gravel hill. and just like everything else, saddle time helps a lot.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by EABiker View Post
    I always concentrate on the bottom of the hill to plan the stop or slow down, then just modulate the brakes if needed on the way down. Let your suspension absorb the rocks; don't even look at them unless they are large enough to need to avoid. Even then, look at your line that will avoid the large ones, never look at the one you want to miss. Momentum is your friend!

    I agree. Scanning ahead and pick out a spot to slow down. It would help if you take the time to learn how to properly brake. You can learn to ride faster and more technical terrain when you know how to slow down.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mazukea View Post
    Definitely get yourself some pads. Speed is your friend too. It's can actually be more dangerous to hit your brakes while descending a loose gravel hill. and just like everything else, saddle time helps a lot.
    As I'm learning I find myself doing just that breaking a lot! perhaps a bit of fear as I pick up speed but having a hard time "feather breaking" hopefully as I ride more often I will learn to control my breaks better on down hill - I feel very comfortable going up hill, that's more of just my own endurance/shape but we ran into a very rocky technical downhill and I couldn't do it, was mad at myself but I guess I have to go back and try it again.
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  19. #19
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    As long as your position on the bike is balanced when descending (weight back, rear end at the back of or behind the seat) you are actually safter not braking except when you really need to slow down. The key is to avoid riding the brakes, and instead alternate between strong braking and no brakes to control your speed. Maximize the brakes' power and keep your balance by pushing your bike into the ground with your rear end back and weight entirely on the pedals when you are braking. You will be amazed at how much more braking power you have when you shift your weight correctly. It sounds as though you already know this, so just work on building up your confidence on easier slopes -- don't hit the brakes unless you have to! And when you do, get heavy on the pedals with your butt back.

    Braking while descending on loose/rocky/rooty terrain is more dangerous than riding through it, in most cases. Most of us need to ride the brakes somewhat on really steep stretches, but even then it should be avoided especially on loose rocks and you should modulate the braking power, reserving it for when needed and on the smoother ground. When I feel my rear tire lock, I let off on the brake and try to modulate/feather it better. The goal is to try to ride through the loose or rooty patches in a light/neutral position with little or no brakes and then get heavy on the bike and slow down on those parts of the hill where you can get traction. If you just can't get traction and feel out of control with the speed you are generating on a hill, that's OK -- find a different hill and come back to that one when you are more confident with speed and more balanced on the bike.

  20. #20
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    Move your weight back over the rear tire and don't use much front brake. You'll figure out how much front brake you can use eventually, but start out using more rear brake. Using too much front will pull the front end out from under you really fast, but the rear end can slide around a bit without dumping you on the ground. Stay loose on the bike and let it move under you, don't fight it, just stay balanced. Once you get used to this you can try to apply more front brake.
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  21. #21
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    I went back today and spent about 2 and a half hours riding around. I still can't get over the fear of super steep slopes. But I took some moderate slopes with loose rocks no brakes and I did ok. Some slopes keep intimidating me though and I ride the brakes too much. My bike can pick up some good speed and I don't feel I can handle the speed going downhill on rocks with turns and some drop offs without the nearly constant use of brakes...

    I tried letting my saddle down, but apparently it doesn't move down any lower...? I tried to let it down and it just stopped on something. I've seen videos where people get their saddles all the way down. The lowest mine will move is even with the handlebar, which is where I kept it anyway. I was thinking the screw that holds the water bottle holder was stopping it. I haven't looked into it yet. But if I can get my saddle down I might feel better about some downhill stuff. I just can't get low enough on my bike now with the saddle in the way.
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  22. #22
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    It sounds as though your seatpost is too long. Assuming you confirm this by pulling it out of the bike and finding a lot of extra tube down there, this is easily remedied with a hacksaw and file (don't forget to file it smooth, you don't want it to bind in the frame). Most seatposts are about 350-400mm long. It probably has a "MAX" line, which you can use to measure how much post you need to leave inside the seat tube for safety at just above your maximum seat height, so that will tell you how much you can safely cut.

  23. #23
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    Fear says - go slow
    Physics say - go fast

    And yes I am newbie and my skills are worse than yours, but I can say for sure - I have fallen two times and both times I was going slow. Hopefully after third time my brain will realize that going slow is not an option in mtb
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  24. #24
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    If you go fast enough, by the time the rocks start moving you will be well past them. Too slow and they slide under your wheels.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sil3nt611 View Post
    I went back today and spent about 2 and a half hours riding around. I still can't get over the fear of super steep slopes. But I took some moderate slopes with loose rocks no brakes and I did ok. Some slopes keep intimidating me though and I ride the brakes too much. My bike can pick up some good speed and I don't feel I can handle the speed going downhill on rocks with turns and some drop offs without the nearly constant use of brakes...

    I tried letting my saddle down, but apparently it doesn't move down any lower...? I tried to let it down and it just stopped on something. I've seen videos where people get their saddles all the way down. The lowest mine will move is even with the handlebar, which is where I kept it anyway. I was thinking the screw that holds the water bottle holder was stopping it. I haven't looked into it yet. But if I can get my saddle down I might feel better about some downhill stuff. I just can't get low enough on my bike now with the saddle in the way.
    Got pic?

  26. #26
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    Stomp and Steer!

    Im new at this too but for me it has been much easier to commit to the hill rather than go slow and end up in a bad spot half way down, just my 2 cents
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  27. #27
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    Another thing I thought of. What tire pressure should I be running on trails like that? I started out riding around on mostly flat areas on 25 PSI and it seemed too little and slowed me down, so I went up to 40 PSI and have kept it there ever since. Should I try a lower tire pressure for rocky trails?
    2012 Trek Marlin 29er

  28. #28
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    Try 30 psi. You want the tire to flex over the rocks, but you also don't want pinch flats either. Low pressure increases your tire footprint so more grip but also more resistance - or so I find

  29. #29
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    Tires pressure is a personal thing. There's no set rule and many variables, your weight, riding style, type of tires/volume/size. Basically, you'd want the tire to grip at optimum for your kind of riding. This means a lot of experiment Grinderz already gave you a good starting point.

    I used to ride with 20 psi as I like how the tire conform to rocks, then my riding style change now I'm somewhere between 28-32psi I can still feel the tires conforming to rocks and log without flexing in the corners. Your perception change with your riding style.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by sLick415 View Post
    I thought it was the other way around.

    How bout making a turn on loose gravel? Any tips for that?
    It really should be the other way around, as you get way more stopping power from your front brake, but most beginners are focused on other new skills more than they are on braking.

    Here are some tips that helped me a lot on loose gravel and turning in general:

    - brake before turn, not during. practice going into the turn slowly at first, completing the turn with no brakes. then practice going a little faster with no brakes. then faster. if you're braking during a turn, you're doing it wrong.

    - weight your outside foot slightly to counteract the leaning of the bike

    - don't actually turn the handlebars, but lean the bike instead. look at how motorcycles turn. push the handlebar down toward the inside of the turn, but counteract that motion with your weight.

    - always be looking out of the turn. lead with your chin


    Hope this helps!

  31. #31
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    Here's the size of my seat post. You can see the paint wear is where it usually sits, which is the lowest it will go. I looked inside the frame and it is getting stopped by the water bottle holder screw. It goes 8.5 inches into the frame.

    2012 Trek Marlin 29er

  32. #32
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    You can cut a few inches off and still be ok as long as you leave enough for the minimum insertion.


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  33. #33
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    I took on a bigger challenge that I or my bike could handle yesterday and paid dearly with a couple of massive falls! luckily nothing happen to me but thank God for the helmet as I went face first. Tried to take on a very difficult downhill and lost control of my bike - the rest of the ride was awesome but I'm finding that controlling my bike down hill is tough and requires a lot of practice, as usual I was braking way too much on the way down but with so many rocks intimidation took over. My handle bars twisted which we corrected but my left break is totally bent which I now need to replace but it is still breaking. Uggh learning is tough !
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deep Thought View Post
    It really should be the other way around, as you get way more stopping power from your front brake, but most beginners are focused on other new skills more than they are on braking.

    Here are some tips that helped me a lot on loose gravel and turning in general:

    - brake before turn, not during. practice going into the turn slowly at first, completing the turn with no brakes. then practice going a little faster with no brakes. then faster. if you're braking during a turn, you're doing it wrong.

    - weight your outside foot slightly to counteract the leaning of the bike

    - don't actually turn the handlebars, but lean the bike instead. look at how motorcycles turn. push the handlebar down toward the inside of the turn, but counteract that motion with your weight.

    - always be looking out of the turn. lead with your chin


    Hope this helps!
    All excellent advice. I find it best to work on these items one or two at a time. Start with always braking before, never during a turn (even if you need to slow down dramatically beforehand, don't brake in the turn! Just don't do it!); then weighting the outside foot; then leaning the bike.

    Another tip that helps with leaning the bike is to countersteer slightly when entering the turn: give yourself enough room, and while entering the turn, push down on the inside grip and/or pull up on the outside grip while slightly turning the handlebar against the turn for just a second (in other words, give it a slight turn the wrong way) -- this will lean the bike into the turn perfectly, the handlebar quickly returns to neutral, and you will have more control through the turn. After a while, this becomes second nature and you will have "flow" (i.e., nirvana. I'm still working on it.)

    Like developing a good golf swing, work on one thing at a time. But most importantly, have fun!

  35. #35
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    Countersteer isn't practical for all turns though.
    As for going down hills, shift your weight back behind the seat o you could clasp the seat with you thighs, and dip your heels. Let your legs take some of the vibration and try not to be too stiff. Kudos for giving it a go!

    If you don't crash every now and then, you are not riding hard enough.

  36. #36
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    Sounds to me like you need to follow some better riders...to see what a bike is capable of...

    I also have an issue with Waco having a steep hill....Obivously it can have so small drops etc....but the elevation drop must be small....

    So the roll out just cant be that bad....

    Try rolling out a 1000 vert foot scree run....the speed gets a little fast.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by sLick415 View Post
    I thought it was the other way around.

    How bout making a turn on loose gravel? Any tips for that?
    Not on really steep and loose terrain. It's important to stay well away from sliding the front wheel so you want to use as little front brake as possible. It can be very surprising how quickly and easily the front wheel washes out with just a little brake on the steeps. The back can be locked up entirely without being an automatic crash so don't be afraid to grab a big handfull of that to compensate.

    If you're turning on loose gravel it's all about feathering the brakes. Not to sound superior, but it does require experience to learn where the sweet spot is between braking and skidding. Eventually you'll even become comfortable with front wheel "drift". That's when it gets really fun.

    Another trick I do on loose corners is to hang my upper body into the turn more than usual and keep the bike itself more upright than usual. It feels strange, but in the right situation it works really well.

  38. #38
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    Be safe, wear a helmet, and practice makes perfect!

  39. #39
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    Do you have an option of borrowing or riding a 26? When helping new bikers on 29s I usually let them ride my bike on sketchy hills. Most build confidence quickly. Its reverse pyschology. They feel more in control because they are closer to ground and riding in the bike instead of on top of it so to speak. The truth is the 29 is going to be more stable faster you go. If you don't have 26 option just take your time and set little goals.

    Aim high get the big picture and keep your eyes moving. Keep knees bent butt back and low two fingers on back brake one on front keep palms towards end of bar pushing forward lightly.
    What everyone is saying is spot on. Take your time and keep riding. Your going to fall but like in boxing you fear the first punch but the rest is gravy.

  40. #40
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    Just need to practice more. Don't bomb down stuff if not ready. Walking is OK. There are slope

    Can't really read ur way to expertise.
    How far u lean in turns depends on your tires.

    Need to practice feathering brakes until u develop feel for Max brake power before wheel lock , then let off brake a little. This is ur Max threshhold, and it changes depending on what surface ur riding.
    Practice braking hard on easier conditions , even when breaking not required. Try front brake only, then back brake only. Then progress to hairier conditions

    Run 25psi again even if its slower. As long as rim doesn't strike, lower psi gives MUCH better grip.

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  41. #41
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    Sil3nt611, i live in Waco and have been riding and racing in cameron since 2004, what trails specifically are you having problems with?

    I will also say this about lowering your seatpost, while it does make it easier to descend Cameron has so much climbing it gets annoying to have to raise and lower your seatpost, i will say that you can go just as fast without lowering you seatpost, i run my bike right now with 5.5 inches of drop from the saddle to the bars and have no problem keeping up with my roomie on his all mountain bike with a lowered seatpost, most of the time beating him to the bottom of the hills.

    Also i tend to ride out there at least one day on the weekends so if you ever want someone to ride with and help you out there let me know and ill be happy to spend some time out there with you.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by centexells View Post
    Sil3nt611, i live in Waco and have been riding and racing in cameron since 2004, what trails specifically are you having problems with?

    I will also say this about lowering your seatpost, while it does make it easier to descend Cameron has so much climbing it gets annoying to have to raise and lower your seatpost, i will say that you can go just as fast without lowering you seatpost, i run my bike right now with 5.5 inches of drop from the saddle to the bars and have no problem keeping up with my roomie on his all mountain bike with a lowered seatpost, most of the time beating him to the bottom of the hills.

    Also i tend to ride out there at least one day on the weekends so if you ever want someone to ride with and help you out there let me know and ill be happy to spend some time out there with you.
    Some downhills on Powder Monkey, Intermediate part of Baseball, I had to get off and push a lot on Outback, I think Weber Run gave me a few problems, I didn't have the crazies to try Vortex, but I did ride the end part and was riding my brakes for all of it, Twin Bridges has a pretty steep spot. I'll have to ride it again, but I think I was able to tackle all the downhills of Hale Bopp probably with too much use of brakes, the uphills gave me issues. And I know there's more that's way out of my skill level I haven't even bothered with.

    I've been out to the park the past two Sunday late afternoons, and this past Thursday evening. I wanted to go this morning, but I hate mornings and I couldn't get myself out of bed.
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  43. #43
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    outback is a very tricky trail even for me, the rest of them it just takes practice and time. I was out there on Sunday afternoon as well but i was on my cross bike not my mountain bike.

    Those trails you mentioned all take some time to master, and are on the upper end of the blue level especially with as dry as it is out there right now, with twin bridges being a black trail.

    One thing i always tell beginners that was told to me as a beginner by a local pro who raced for the cannondale factory team, was to never give up and just to keep riding, being fast on the mountain bike comes with time. You can have strong legs but poor skills and still not be fast on the bike especially in cameron, so really work on the skills and being comfotable on the bike, and the speed will come.


    Like it said message me if you want to ride or if you see me out there, im on a ellsworth truth in smoke color, and have bright green grips and either a green or black/fluro yellow helmet, and drive a big silver dodge with a 4 bike bed rack or a small black car with the bicycles outback sticker on it, let me know who you are and ill be happy to help out some.

    Also the waco bike club does rides in the park they do a beginner ride on tuesday's at 5:30 at redwood i think and also another group ride in the park at 2:00 PM on Sundays.
    Both of those rides have riders that are good and willing to help out.

  44. #44
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    In addition to the other tips, try dropping your heels. It drives the rear wheel down into the ground, giving it better braking traction and keeping it from bouncing up.

    Edit: I didn't think to mention it when I posted, but it helps to be calm, relaxed, and to stay loose. That way, if things do go wrong, you're more likely to react intelligently rather than reflexively.
    Last edited by skullcap; 09-12-2012 at 05:50 AM.
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    You can cut a few inches off and still be ok as long as you leave enough for the minimum insertion.
    That's what she said...


    (Someone had to say it)

  46. #46
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    Another thing is to watch the trail out in front of, and look where you want the bike to go. Your body, and therefore the bike, will have a natural tendancy to go where you're looking, so just look at your line as your heading towards and it you'll flow smoother through it.

    Always worked for me.


    And the heel drop trick is a nice one as well.

  47. #47
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    This is a really good thread. I was braking on a steep loose gravely trail the other day, front end skidded out and I fell. I was braking too much it seems but I did not have the confidence to hit the turns faster. Sounds like I need to hit that same trail a few times and practice.

    Some trails are easier to practice on than others. The one I crashed on was narrow with dense small trees and brush all around. Just nowhere to go in the event that I let my speed increase.

    But .. the dude in front of me, he was on a 26er, he nailed it and made it look soooo easy...

  48. #48
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    Riding downhill with loose rocks?

    While I am usually the one preaching "more front brake", super loose DH sections is one place that I do favor the rear.

    Tire pressure is hard to recommend without knowing how much you weigh and what size tires you are running. As a general rule for technical trail use, you want to run them as low as you can without getting pinch flats, dinging rims, or having them feel like they are "folding over" in corners.

    Definitely try lowering your seat as you learn to go down these hills. As has been mentioned, you can probably cut a few inches off the bottom of your seat post.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  49. #49
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    Another interesting thread that I am gaining a lot of insight from. A question that comes to mind is this: Are most of the trails (downhill portions specifically) that the more experienced folks are referring to ones that they know quite well - or not? I live in SE Michigan, so I don't have too many extreme downhill trails nearby to even ride on, but as I get into the sport to a larger degree and find myself traveling to other areas that do - would the advice be the same here?
    I find (even given my somewhat older age bracket which is North of 50) that I am far less inclined to go fast on faster/downhill stretches that I am unfamiliar with as opposed to the conditions. As I become familiar with the terrain and "what's next", I am far more comfortable in getting speed. Do most of you experienced riders really KNOW the trails you ride with such speed, or is it more of a advanced skill of handling it no matter that it's your home track or somewhere you've never ridden?

    Cheers!

  50. #50
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    Great thread, thanks to all posting advice. Downhill on rocks, big or small is one of mtbing's toughest challenges IMO.

    Don't look down at the ground is good advice--keep the eyes up and in front and ahead. The mind-body psychology/interface can "take over" a bit and help guide you somewhat instinctively (once you know the proper technique).
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  51. #51
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    Another tip: Stay 'loose' on the bike.

    It's sort of a difficult concept to describe, but if I were to use some touchy-feely yoga terms I'd say:
    Keep your hands "connected" to the bars. Not a deathgrip, but firmly held. Your bars are more than a 'handle to hang on' they control your bike. command them. Are you steering the bike, or are you along for the ride?
    Keep your feet 'heavy' on the pedals. Crank arms parallel to the ground. weight centered and evenly distributed between them. that means both front to back AND left to right.
    Keep your core 'quiet'. Use your arms and legs like another layer of suspension. Even downhillers on $15k, 8"+ travel bikes do it. The bike is fine to deflect off rocks and terrain under you, even sideways. Let it happen and do not panic if the rear wheel hops sideways. by keeping your body in a stable and prepared to react will help maintain the two above mentioned points.

    I'm sure I saw it mentioned above, but also: look ahead, choose a good line, and don't target fixate on the things you want to avoid.

    Honestly, watch alot of videos to demonstrate these points. especially the high framerate, slo-mo ones so you can see how the bike will buck and pitch, and the riders arms and legs accomodate that to keep their core in place.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by A2rider View Post
    Do most of you experienced riders really KNOW the trails you ride with such speed, or is it more of a advanced skill of handling it no matter that it's your home track or somewhere you've never ridden?
    I never out-ride my sight lines. Even the trails I that I've literally hit hundreds of times. Too many times I've come across blow downs, other riders, dog walkers etc.

    With that said, yes, I can certainly ride a trail faster if I know it.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by A2rider View Post
    Another interesting thread that I am gaining a lot of insight from. A question that comes to mind is this: Are most of the trails (downhill portions specifically) that the more experienced folks are referring to ones that they know quite well - or not? I live in SE Michigan, so I don't have too many extreme downhill trails nearby to even ride on, but as I get into the sport to a larger degree and find myself traveling to other areas that do - would the advice be the same here?
    I find (even given my somewhat older age bracket which is North of 50) that I am far less inclined to go fast on faster/downhill stretches that I am unfamiliar with as opposed to the conditions. As I become familiar with the terrain and "what's next", I am far more comfortable in getting speed. Do most of you experienced riders really KNOW the trails you ride with such speed, or is it more of a advanced skill of handling it no matter that it's your home track or somewhere you've never ridden?

    Cheers!
    I definitely take it slower on technical sections that are new to me. Most of my worst accidents have come from hitting stuff that ended up not being what I thought it was. (this goes for both mountain biking and snowboarding).

    I do not take drops, jumps, or even larger log crossings without knowing what is on the other side. If I can't see it from the approach, I wait until I can scope it out first. This also applies to letting it rip on steep loose sections. Yes, it is better to go through the rough and loose sections with speed, but you had better know that there is a run-out at some point. Or at least good place to brake. I would rather eat it on the way down going too slow 10 times than be hauling ass and wreck once. However, once I know the trail, I will use speed to my advantage on the steep loose sections. Following someone I trust also works on a new, unfamiliar trail.

    So yes, I do ride familiar trails faster. A lot faster.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    I never out-ride my sight lines. Even the trails I that I've literally hit hundreds of times. Too many times I've come across blow downs, other riders, dog walkers etc.

    With that said, yes, I can certainly ride a trail faster if I know it.
    Cool - makes complete sense. My limited single track experiences have been smaller/tight technical routes that don't have very long/steep/open stretches in them. Keeps me from ever really getting a nice head of steam up (similar to the extremely small ski/boarding hills we have here in MI vs. epic stuff out West).
    I look forward to getting more and more experience in lots of different types of trails. Larger, more wide-open ones that would provide areas to "let it rip" sounds very cool!

    Cheers!

  55. #55
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by A2rider View Post
    Another interesting thread that I am gaining a lot of insight from. A question that comes to mind is this: Are most of the trails (downhill portions specifically) that the more experienced folks are referring to ones that they know quite well - or not? I live in SE Michigan, so I don't have too many extreme downhill trails nearby to even ride on, but as I get into the sport to a larger degree and find myself traveling to other areas that do - would the advice be the same here?
    I find (even given my somewhat older age bracket which is North of 50) that I am far less inclined to go fast on faster/downhill stretches that I am unfamiliar with as opposed to the conditions. As I become familiar with the terrain and "what's next", I am far more comfortable in getting speed. Do most of you experienced riders really KNOW the trails you ride with such speed, or is it more of a advanced skill of handling it no matter that it's your home track or somewhere you've never ridden?
    Cheers!
    I'm from Kentucky where every trail has hills. To help with your question; when in doubt get off and walk it. There are countless youtube videos where we watch a rider running a new line full tilt to find themselves flying
    Off the trail to a spectacular ending. Yes experience helps but ignorance hurts.You are the one in control.Trusting your bike to get you through a trail and not yourself is recipe for disaster. The average rider will never exceed the capability of their bike. With that understanding it's the rider and never the bike.

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