Calling downhillers

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  • Calling downhillers
  • mikey74
    Member

    Any tips for improving my speed? I know the basic techniques and can jump a bit and clean technical tracks, but I am finding it hard to increase my speed, particularly on steep tracks.

    So, any tips, beyond the usual “stay off the brakes”. I do think that most of my problems are mental, and I’m not very good at committing to stuff you “have” to make, such as gap jumps.

    andeh
    Member

    Look further ahead,
    let the bike move about under you,
    don’t drag your brakes (makes arm pump much worse),
    only brake in straight lines,
    practice cutties and flat cornering,
    attack the terrain more, force the bike into corners, pump compressions, de-weight over rough bits etc.

    Hope this helps!

    toys19
    Member

    Thread closed ^^^

    iolo
    Member

    Paging RITCHMTBGURU

    wysiwyg
    Member

    Ride with someone quicker than you.

    Pussywillow to the thread please, pussy to the thread …

    Follow someone faster and watch them. Check out their lines and body language.

    If your problems are mental there’s nobody can talk you into doing stuff but yourself. Best thing is to find something that you’re not 100% sure on and ride it until you are. If I dislike a certain section of a trail I’ll go there on my own and figure it out. I can stay loose and plummet down most stuff pretty comfortably but I can remember the days of self doubt and stiffness.

    The best way I could describe it when I was trying to coach my mate down a steep trail with a lot of big rocks and drops in it was that if you let your bike ride the trail on its own it will go over absolutely anything. Your bike with its big tyres and all of its suspension will handle almost any obstacle. So just point it in the right direction and let it go. Stay loose and let your bike bounce around.

    Does that make any sense? I was trying to make my mate think less about what he was doing right or wrong and just let the bike go a bit more. When he realised he wasn’t going to explode he felt a bit more confident and that’s the key to improving at anything. We speeded him up quite a bit that day.

    Karl33to
    Member

    riding with someone who’s quicker is the fastest way to improve, the only problem is the quicker riders are all looking for even quicker riders to ride with for that very same reason.

    book yourself on some uplifts, or enter some local races, they’re great ways of riding with faster people

    where you from OP?

    mikey74
    Member

    I think that is my problem: I think too much.

    What Andeh said is all true, but it is all stuff I know and put into practice.

    You’ll be amazed what your bike will clatter through and how fast it will do it if you just let it. Try to think of yourself as a passenger. Just tell yourself you’re staying off the brakes to see how fast your bike can hammer this rock section when you stop bloody interfering with it. Just until you get used to the extra speed of course, don’t let your bike make all the decisions!

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    relax & practice (and what andeh said)
    Also book some coaching on uplift days

    Premier Icon Jon Taylor
    Subscriber

    Ride with faster people and chase them all the time.

    mikey74
    Member

    Unfortunately I don’t have any faster riding mates. Perhaps I need to stalk some strangers at Aston Hill.

    scottfitz
    Member

    Karl33to – Member
    or enter some local races,

    This and in practice watch other riders, ask for tips on bits you are struggling with. Most local race are super friendly and really good fun. If you in the south I might even see you there 🙂

    Colin-T
    Member

    Its almost a dirty word on here but sessioning will really help. I know some really fast riders who would happily spend half an hour getting one corner or one section exactly right. I could never be bothered and rode mostly full runs. I never got much faster

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    ‘Ride slower, and you’ll be faster’….

    That’s what Gee Atherton said to a friend of mine on a training day. Sounds silly, but I could see where he is coming from.

    Slow things down initially and concentrate on your lines, your technique and the speed will come. Watch the lines of others, compare to your own.

    prezet
    Member

    I’m pretty much the same as the OP – struggle mentally on some stuff when I know if I just stop thinking about it it’d be fine. When riding a new line and I come across something tricky I just tend to drag the brakes which cocks everything up!

    OP – if you ride at Aston, happy to meet up one weekend, can try to push each other a bit further forward 😀

    Also a few of us are doing the FoD Mini DH for a laugh, welcome to come join us.

    GEDA
    Member

    Get used to speed somewhere with a good run out. You really do need to lay off the brakes but to do this you need to feel comfortable with speed. I practice this on some really steep banks near me that are about 45 degrees that have a big run out at the bottom. Stop braking as close to the top as possible and get used to the speed.

    Perhaps I need to stalk some strangers at Aston Hill.

    Aston Hill is one of the friendliest places to ride, a lot of the locals are bloody quick but they’re always happy to help others out.

    Like you’ve already said, it’s a mental block, I’m starting to overcome mine, but it’s taking time!

    Premier Icon ddmonkey
    Subscriber

    I think that your body position on the bike is key in acheiving some of the things described above – drop your heels, get low over the bike (elbows up, arse sticking out) and get your head up. Then try to make your arms and legs track every undulation in the terrain, pump everything as you go and focus on flow (slow in fast out type stuff). Really let the bike move around underneath you and keep your upper body and head as still as you can.

    You will start to go faster as you pump everything, I don’t agree with the “let the bike clatter through stuff” comments above your body has far more suspension travel in it that the bike – thats where the speed comes from.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    You mentioned Aston Hill is your local DH venue? That’s Perfect then, go and Session a few bits that are examples of what you’re finding more challenging, black run for steep tech, maybe the newer S2A line for a couple of “do or Die” features that require a bit of commitment to clear…
    Then maybe think about booking a coaching session with Firecrest up there and explain what you want to get out of it.

    A big part of it is emptying your head of all the worry’s about crashing or what could go wrong and assuming it will all go right, part of that is knowing that you can do whatever you are attempting, and part of that is stumping up your way to doing having a first crack…
    A mate of mine used to have a rule of sorts, you couldn’t claim you “Owned” a jump, drop or whatever until you’d hit it and cleaned it at least three times… First go will always scare the bollocks off you, Second you’re getting more comfortable but still shakey, third go is the charm you’ll probably give it the beans thereafter…

    I say all the above, but I’m massively out of practise in terms of DH at the minute (and not that quick even when I am feeling confident), I’ve not touched My DH bike it in over a month and will probably “Fear out” a fair bit when I finally do, familiarity and doing it regularly makes all the difference IME…

    scruff
    Member

    Try a multi day trip. We went and did 2 uplift days & Snowdon on the big bikes, on the 3rd I felt battered but really comfortable. Time on the big bike is always less than a normal bike which doesn’t help.

    Premier Icon ddmonkey
    Subscriber

    A trip to the Alps may help with the speed thing as well? Bigger faster tracks are a good way to alter your perception of what feels fast and what looks difficult. Plus you will do so much more riding in the time available that you would at home.

    edward2000
    Member

    Think about grip point, ie brake and turn where there is plenty of grip. Where there is little grip, say roots and rocks, try and keep the bike light. Speed is definately your friend.

    I once saw Gee Atherton ride in Wales, his wheels didnt touch the ground…

    Also, since ive been getting up to huge speeds on my road bike down some hills, this transferrs well onto the DH bike. When riding DH i dont really feel that im going that fast in comparison. Like motocross and huge jumps, although i dont ride motocross so im assuming.

    mikey74
    Member

    I think one of the problems is that I never ride with anyone. Only recently by brother has taken it up but naturally he is a lot slower, being a beginner. As a result, what seems fast to me, may not actually be that fast so when it comes to hitting things “fast” I feel uncomfortable.

    I definitely agree that maybe finding some faster riders to pester may be the way forward.

    Re: Aston Hill: Being 70+ miles away, it certainly isn’t my local venue, but it is my favourite. Rogate and PORC are nearer, but AH is the better venue, with the better tracks.

    Prezet: I would be glad to.

    I’m off to the Forest of Dean on Friday so hopefully I’ll get a chance to work on stuff there.

    scottfitz
    Member

    I am local to Rogate its a good place to learn/session features. Not been there for a while, might go for a bit of a session in Dec some point. STW Rogate DH session anyone, happy to give any tips?

    P.S i’m far from pro.

    IA
    Member

    Ride more.

    Enter races.

    mikey74
    Member

    I’d be up for a Rogate session. I hear they’ve re-routed the main line. I was there week before last and the place was interesting: Deeps gullies on the tracks, filled with loose rocks, where the rain has washed away the sand/soil.

    beicmynydd
    Member

    Learn how to brake using the available grip, only use your front when there is sufficient grip.

    I found that sectioning a difficult part of a track over and over made a difference.

    Totally different riding to trail centers, took me a long time to adapt. As others have said keep practicing.

    rob1984p
    Member

    I improved most at DH when I stopped riding my DH bike and rode loads of XC on a hardtail. I was never very confident on a DH bike in spite of a few trips to the Alps, a few races and lots of uplift days. I now have a slightly more DH oriented HT than before but still do loads of riding up hills, and I think that’s key.

    If you only ride DH (as I used to) you spend most of your time pushing up a hill. On a hardtail you get loads of runs in in a fairly short time meaning more Downs and more fitness from the XC which will help on the downs.

    The more you ride the better and more confident you get. There is a lot to be said for coaching days or riding with people a bit better than you though.

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    Some of my brothers old rules off the top of my head (ex top 10 youth/junior national rider)

    * Switch your mind off

    * Always be looking for your entry, apex and exit.

    * Pedal less, pump the terrain more

    * Keep low over jumps when you can

    * Don’t look at stuff you don’t want to impact at high speed.

    * Riding on your limit and crashing a lot eventually improves your speed, if you don’t give yourself a major injury and then lose your confidence.

    * Flow, the fastest line through one section might mean your much slower in the next section.

    * Weight up the wheel you need the most grip with (learn to really drive the tyres and get a feel for the edge of their grip)

    * Take up BMX/Trials/Dirt Jumping/Street riding to improve your bike handling skills when not on a downhill track. Get used to going big.

    * Do some motocross riding to get used to going at silly speeds.

    * Follow faster riders, but they may actually be crap…but just better than you. Find your own fast way down if you can.

    * Practice. Practice. Practice and then practice some more. You need a full range of bike handling skills that you can call on unconsciously.

    * Ride with some aggression.

    You most likely won’t develop a lot of this because you need to be young and have that sense of invincibility to do so.

    Don’t look at stuff you don’t want to impact at high speed.

    I think this may possibly be my favourite piece of advice I have read on this forum. It’s clearly where I have gone wrong on numerous occasions. 😆

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    Also, thinking about your lines isn’t actually for bellends. Think for example…about whether going as wide as you can coming into a certain corner is going to give you greater entry speed etc.

    Lastly, gaining big times takes a holistic approach to your riding. You’re not going to shave 10 seconds off your run by braking a little better or taking a few better lines. You need to improve everything, all the time.

    scottfitz
    Member

    mikey74 – Member

    I’d be up for a Rogate session Sunday 8th Dec or Sunday 15th any good for you?

    Deeps gullies on the tracks, filled with loose rocks, where the rain has washed away the sand/soil.

    It does that every time it rains hard but the trail crew there have been working hard by the looks of it.

    pomona
    Member

    As others have said, sessioning short section is a great way to improve, as is learning to pump the bike.

    Don’t forget fitness training as well. Pretty much every DH track has a couple of hard out sprinting sections.
    Do some intensive interval training like Tabata intervals (google it).
    Also a good strength to weight ratio helps you move a big heavy bike around better.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    edward2000 – Member

    Think about grip point, ie brake and turn where there is plenty of grip. Where there is little grip, say roots and rocks, try and keep the bike light. Speed is definately your friend.

    Yep. I’m not fast at all but I guess I’m qualified to say what slows me down 😉 And this is one of them, I obsess about the detail of what’s on the ground, even the stuff I’ll never touch. The grip-point way of thinking’s really useful but I reckon night riding on familiar trails has done a lot to help me get over that overthinking- you can’t worry about what you can’t see 😉

    Deeps gullies on the tracks, filled with loose rocks, where the rain has washed away the sand/soil.

    I thought you were saying they’d added rock gardens where dirt has even eroded but now I see I may have misunderstood…

    Great thread for non-downhillers too (as in I don’t race or own a DH bike though I do enjoy uplift days!) When I’m riding at my best I do fewer of the listed things wrong but I’m always held back by fear of disaster. After a couple of days of welsh uplift I noticed I was riding all the open fast jumpy local bits quicker, like my acceptance of what speed is safe had been recalibrated. The key thing was that my ability to squash kickers on the trail had got better, both handling the forces and keeping the bike balanced, so I was in control.

    I’m not fast now but I’d be so slow if I hadn’t been chasing faster riders for the past few years. I cannot conceive how quick a pro downhiller must look in real life!

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    scottfitz – Member
    I am local to Rogate its a good place to learn/session features. Not been there for a while, might go for a bit of a session in Dec some point. STW Rogate DH session anyone, happy to give any tips?

    P.S i’m far from pro.

    I’m in Berkshire – Rogates about an Hour from me, only been a couple of times I would be up for an STW Rogate DH Session, not sure if/when I could fit it in, December is filling up pretty quickly with Christmas stuff ATM… When you thinking?

    scottfitz
    Member

    scottfitz – Member

    mikey74 – Member

    I’d be up for a Rogate session
    Sunday 8th Dec or Sunday 15th any good for you?

    scottfitz
    Member

    A couple of my Rogate pic, If we pick a date I will start a new post.


    483001_10151255586946908_1735329305_n by scottgolfgti, on Flickr


    20130120_125218 by scottgolfgti, on Flickr

    mikey74
    Member

    15th is better for me.

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