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  1. #1
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    No good Riding downhill switchbacks......

    I've been riding XC for four years, and cannot seem to clean these at all. If the trail is steep, and there is little berm, and any off-camber or hairpin turn, then I'm toast. I get off the bike before flying over the rim. Also, there seems to be two definite senario's: one is when you KNOW the switchback is coming up (you've ridden the trail umpteeth times), and the other is a new trail and the switchback is suddenly on you before you can scrub off speed. Do I need to learn track-stands and nose wheelies, or what? It seems you need to approach these with minimal speed, but braking how far ahead? Any help appreciated.

  2. #2
    I love Pisgah
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    Bear Creek upper switchbacks...you know'm first hand, and are classics. Approach at any speed, but of course slow to a min. upon entry. Keep your weight back so the front doesn't push/understeer, fold under, wash, etc...drop your inside elbow...lean uphill more then you think during the transistion to keep from falling off the lowside...slow everything down at the apex/transistion as much as possible...use of both brakes at this time is critical. Trail the rear...lightly use the front while almost doing a trackstand at the moment of truth. Theres some weight transfer action from front while entering...then rear while turning...then both while exiting.

    practice pratice pratice.

    <img src="http://www.fototime.com/ftweb/bin/ft.dll/standard?pictid={AD8BD8E4-E4C0-4E40-80CA-F30F5E26702C}">

    <img src="http://www.fototime.com/ftweb/bin/ft.dll/standard?pictid={4483D64E-1AAC-4E52-93A0-E61AA626C0C8}">

  3. #3
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    I'd add to Duckman's response...

    - see the apex as you approach, then look at it no more... immediately look to the exit, as far downtrail as you can

    - allow your body to "fall down and in" as your front wheel starts to turn... the sense should be that you are moving ahead of the bike, down and into the turn, and are letting it turn under you... this will pass and almost immediately after you "fall down and in" the bike will be comfortably under you and in control

  4. #4
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    How are your basics?

    Great pix Duck!

    p0K, I can't help but notice that you (apparently) haven't learned to do a track stand yet. If so, the problem may not be with switchbacks per se, but rather with your general level of slow-speed and other skills. If that's true, no wonder you're getting the willies and walking these corners... few people can - or should - be confident without basic skills.

    I'd suggest getting a couple of good books and making an initial read-through just to take inventory of how many basic and intermediate skills you can honestly say to yourself you can execute vs. how many you can't or won't. If you're not sure about some, you can set up some situations and try them. (I know I've personally been surprised about gaps in my own abilities, sometimes due to not having had the sort of practical encounters that would have shown me where I actually stood, and sometimes due to rust.)

    After that - like the Duck says - practice. As your general skill level rises you will discover new, well-founded confidence even about techniques and on-the-trail challenges that are new to you.

    By the way... if my comments don't apply to you because you do in fact have a good basic skill set, please don't be offended. I'm only trying to help.

  5. #5
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    Track stands

    When getting used to clipless pedals I would use track stands to almost stop, balance as long as I could then try to clip out. In doing this I think I've also improved my balance, as I tried to hold on before unclipping.

    You can give this a shot, I used a grassy field for clipless, but if you're good at unclipping anywhere will do.

  6. #6
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    My trick for switchbacks is to go as wide as possible and point my knee where I want to go. The bike just seems to follow my knee around. Don't look at any dropoffs, because you'll ride off of them. Keep your eyes and attention focused on where you want the bike to exit, and it will. Good Luck

  7. #7
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    Thanks Guys!!!!!......

    Duckmeister and all....great pics BTW....uphill swbk's I can do if I have enough momentum, as the bike naturally slows, and you can carve these out. I sense the descent ones are a problem because of entering with too much speed (and fear ). Also, my basic skills need revisiting, as track stands and bike balance and "the motorcycle lean-in" needs some work. I have learned to "countersteer" on turns/curves, weighting outside pedal and pointing inside knee to steer bike thru. Hey...what a great sport we have with the opportunity to always learn something new (or old) that makes us better! And where else can you get great free advice? (Duck...I'll see you on the upper Bear Creek trailhead...do you take Visa or M/C?)

  8. #8
    Boj
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    What helped me master uphill switchbacks was phrase inside-outside.

    What I mean is that was the direction you would have to lean your body wrt bike as you go through the motion. As you are approaching the switchback you slightly hang on the inside of the turn to compensate for camber. As you are making the turn body moves to neutral position so when you are facing uphill directly you are dead set in the middle, and completing the turn you move your body to the outside of the turn wrt bike to compensate for now opposite camber. I don't know if this sounds complicated but when you're doing it its one smooth motion.

    In any case for downhill switchbacks you do outside-inside, though I haven't really practiced outside-inside as downhill switchbacks never gave me so much trouble as uphill. Also in both cases go as wide as the trail will allow. Good luck.
    If in doubt - pedal harder!!!

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