Racing Faster tips for improving technique.

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  • Racing Faster tips for improving technique.
  • fettling
    Member

    Seen a dramatic improvement in my race performances this year. Best result being 25th in the November Brass Monkeys enduro. Would love to go faster and get in the top 20 but struggling with the technical skills required to simply go that fast.

    So last Sundays brass monkeys race I tried going faster for the 1st lap. Started right at the front and then every time a fast guy came past I tried to stick with them for as long as possible. I found at the speed they were travelling my technical skills just weren’t up to it. Specifically I was slower around long sweeping bends and more cautious over any off camber bits.

    Has anyone got any tips for improving things for the next race?

    The other problem I have to solve is going fast on lap one meant I blew on lap 3, oops.

    Premier Icon cp
    Subscriber

    Just go and play in the woods/local tracks. Lower the seat a little (only an inch or so, if that) to begin with and just repeat a few corners over and over, trying to go faster.

    Play with moving your body weight around and seeing the effects it has – outside foot down and push on the pedal on all turns, weight back/forth and see what effect it has on turning etc…

    mudsux
    Member

    Clenbuterol is what you need.

    RealMan
    Member

    If you’re fitness is good..

    Say you do 20 hours a week on the xc bike.

    Instead of that, do 10 hours a week on the road bike, and the other 10 hours messing about on dh tracks and such, session things, to get your tech ability up.

    Training smarter, not more, or something.

    jfeb
    Member

    I’ll be the first to say it – invest in some coaching with someone like Jedi

    Money very well spent

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    Jedi is what he needs.

    starrman82
    Member

    When training try picking lines that mean you don’t have to brake or very little,and keep it smooth. IMO it’s all about momentum.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    Another vote for coaching. I did a course with AQR a couple of years ago (they’re running some more in January and I’m hoping to get to one) and that was brilliant. Concentrated on technique and bike set-up and it made such a difference to the speed I could ride through stuff.

    Then it’s just a case of practising that and really concentrating on staying smooth. Get the lines and technique right and the speed pretty much comes by itself.

    fettling
    Member

    Good tips thanks guys, not sure the budget stretches to coaching 🙁
    Now kicking myself for asking for a set of rollers for christmas (got fed up of riding ice on the road bike).

    RealMan
    Member

    Oh, and ride with people who are faster then you. As always.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    A 2:1 session with Jedi is cheaper than doing all the Gorrick Spring series. Not a lot really!

    I’ll get round to it sometime, I also lose time in the singletrack still!

    All great advise. If you can’t afford coaching the best thing you do is find somewhere locally that isn’t too technical but pushes you to be smooth and start to look for faster lines.

    Also have a look at you bike setup, are you getting the most out of any suspension you have, would you gain from running tubeless if you don’t already (you will, as long as it set up well).

    I’m guessing that if you ride the monkeys you live around in the south, the area around where the monkeys are run is fantastic training ground – minley use to be a favourite of mine, just the right level of tech.

    big_n_daft
    Member

    fettling – Member
    Good tips thanks guys, not sure the budget stretches to coaching

    you need fitness coaching which is likely to focus on raising threshold and technique coaching to be confident on the trail

    the returns will be far higher than bits for the bike

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    Good tips thanks guys, not sure the budget stretches to coaching

    What you spend on coaching is worth 10x that money on equipment.
    A £40 day with AQR (or Jedi etc, I’m only using AQR as an example cos of my personal experience) will be worth more to you long term than a £400 set of suspension forks.
    If you’re genuinely on a plateau results wise, then a one-off coaching session is the way forward. Once there you can work out for yourself how beneficial (or otherwise) it’s been and go from there.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    You don’t need fitness coaching – IMO you’ll probably reap bigger rewards from skills coaching.

    Whilst going and practicing somewhere may help, if you have fundamental flaws with your technique you’ll just be practicing the wrong thing!

    iDave
    Member

    Some people combine skill and fitness coaching. Which makes sense given that the sport requires both. It sounds like the OPs main issue is not having confidence in tyres/grip. That’s easy to overcome with some suitable sessions.

    fettling
    Member

    iDave – nail on the head. Fitness whilst it probably isn’t quite there is something I know how to sort from racing the Dark Side during the summer.
    Looks like I will have to save my pennies up for the 20th Jan Jedi session! Just in time for the last Brass Monkey.

    jhw
    Member

    All of the above, plus my own two cents –

    I find the technique for long sweeping corners and off camber sections is broadly similar, namely (obviously) to be comfortable on the edge of your tyres – the only way to “get” this is practice…and good tyres with big side knobs…and maybe lower pressures if you can take that risk in a race situation.

    Try to ride lots in the mud, have fun skidding your bike and generally get a feel for what it’s like having the tyres slide around beneath you. Keep your head up and looking at your intended line out of the corner, irrespective of whichever way the bike is pointing. Sliding is good.

    I hope that’s not too “beginner”.

    What are your feet doing? That’s really important – it sets up the entire rest of your body position. Outside foot forward always – foot switching is key, I find! Though others will disagree.

    How you do all this when you’re on the final lap and 180bpm, I don’t know.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Outside foot down surely…

    Edit: and whilst it’s good to go out all guns blazing, I definitely think consistent laps is a better strategy to adopt.

    Your 3rd lap on Sunday was less than 90s slower than your 2nd, so I’d say you paid the price for your fast start earlier!

    iDave
    Member

    <cough>
    How interesting…
    </cough>

    Outside foot down and pressing hard…

    DT78
    Member

    I have aspirations to improve too, I’ve ridden several BM now – find I always gain in the singletrack sections only to be demolished when I get to the fireroads. Last race (rd1) I did exactly as you mentioned, started near the frontish tried to keep pace with the faster boys – I blew up 2.5hrs in and then spent the last 2 laps in pain just trying to finish!

    My training plan is to use my GPS traces from the races and use the 800 to race against myself on the same courses to improve. That and to give proper heart rate training a go, rather than just riding my bike alot (which is what I do now)

    I am always amazed at how fast the top 10 guys really are.

    iDave
    Member

    DT78 – just riding fast around race courses isn’t the best use of your time to improve.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    My training plan is to use my GPS traces from the races and use the 800 to race against myself on the same courses to improve.

    That’s more useful on the descents than the climbs IMO – you’re unlikely to push yourself as hard when you’re not racing, I’d be inclined to do reps on one of the hardest hills on the course instead (perhaps that slightly rooty doubletrack one with the tree at the top if you know the one I mean, you had to go to the right of if). You could use your time as a benchmark and do (say) 5 reps, with ample recovery. Even if you take your fastest attempt in the race you’ll probably be quicker doing it fresh.

    I’d be reluctant to just try and mimic the whole race away from the race – you’ll just make yourself tired.

    iDave
    Member

    If you’re going to do hill reps, have the effort finish 60-100m past the top of the hill or you get conditioned into reducing efforts at the top of hills.

    jonba
    Member

    I’d echo the comment about finding people faster than you to ride with. It’s great motivation to push yourself (tehnically) when you have something to chase. They don’t necessarily need to be a much better rider than you. It can work if they are familiar with the trial so can ride it faster as well.

    DT78
    Member

    Hmm fair enough comments – thing is I have to balance interest with training otherwise I simply don’t do it. I thought trying to recreate the race would be better than what I do now (which is just go out a mess about on the bike for 2 hours 3/4 times a week). I was going to try to ‘race train’ once or twice a month followed with a couple of sessions a week HR training and a couple of normal ‘fun’ rides.

    Last time there was a thread about training a book was recommend – Joe Atkin? It’s under the xmas tree at the mo – plan to read it over the break

    EDIT – Joe Friel

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Joe Friel?

    Nowt wrong with messing around on the bike. A risk of ‘race training’ is that you won’t be as quick, and that’s depressing.

    Can you ride with faster people? Helps up and down hill! Fine line though – if they’re too fast it’s just a bit depressing! I spent a somewhat depressing long weekend in Wales after a prolonged rest through illness riding 100 yards behind a who’s who of British Elite XC racers!

    jhw
    Member

    Agree outside foot down is often better on really slippy flat corners and off camber bits, and it’s definitely the right starting point!

    The important thing is to stay dynamic and loose on the bike – sometimes the situation demands you have your outside foot down, sometimes that your outside foot be forward – you have to be loose enough to respond to what the bike’s telling you, on a split-second basis. Normally you go into the corner or off camber bit with your outside foot forward and gradually move it down as you reach the apex of the corner or the crux of the off camber bit.

    For me outside foot forward is the default (not outside foot down). I sort of try to emulate this picture of Steve Peat (mostly unsuccessfully). Your knees should be really bent, you’re almost pulling up on your SPDs as you go into the corner, then apply pressure through your feet at just the right moment when you need grip. You’re driving the bike with your thighs, while your upper body is upright.

    Admittedly this picture isn’t the best example as he’s using a little bit of a berm in the corner (the opposite of off-camber) but I think the basic body position still applies, although you wouldn’t get away with your outside foot being quite as high as his is here (probably the opposite – at 8’o clock instead of 10’o clock).

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    I’m sure you’re giving good advice, and you’re probably a far better rider than me, but your posting history means I struggle to take anything you say seriously! No offense like.

    iDave
    Member

    “knees really bent”

    Can you do that on an XC bike with the usual saddle height? I think not.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    njee20 – Member
    I’m sure you’re giving good advice, and you’re probably a far better rider than me, but your posting history means I struggle to take anything you say seriously! No offense like.

    Who? *gets paranoid*

    Premier Icon Straightliner
    Subscriber

    Looks like Peaty is wheelie-ing/manualling in that photo, not cornering on the limit as such.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Who? *gets paranoid*

    No not you! I mean jhw! The “asky” thread, the ice axe/Brick Lane incident, and yesterdays “lowly support staff” thread do little for his credibility in my eyes!

    Can you do that on an XC bike with the usual saddle height? I think not.

    Not a cat in hell’s chance, but then the advice about big chunky tyres doesn’t really work on an XC race bike either!

    Looks like Peaty is wheelie-ing/manualling in that photo, not cornering on the limit as such.

    Aye, very difficult to tell from a still, he could be pedalling, or just shifting his weight momentarily as he gets his outside pedal down, I’d not be using it as the basis to change my riding!

    GW
    Member

    jhw – you’re talking bollox – Steve Peat is a left foot forward rider, he doesn’t switch feet for opposite corners, almost no professional DH riders do.

    you don’t actually need your outside foot down for every corner or every off camber but telling beginners to do it will promote good weight shifting habit. you can still weight the outside of a bike with the pedals at any position.

    GW
    Member

    Njee – it’s piss easy to tell Peat’s on one wheel from that still.
    simply looking at it shows he’s doing a rad “barturn” for the kids 😉 .

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Njee – it’s piss easy to tell Peat’s on one wheel from that still.

    Did I dispute that? I said, you can’t tell what’s happening and use that as a model for how to ride a bike.

    Anyway, isn’t your top tip to ride over slower riders?

    jhw
    Member

    Peat’s body position in the photo illustrates very well the right body position for 90% of corners/off camber sections – bend your knees and keep your upper body straight. Like in skiing.

    Going into a corner with your outside pedal low is effective if you’re trying to conserve energy, or if your saddle is too high for a more aggressive approach…but your OP asks about more aggressive technique so I say, for most corners most of the time, “pedals level”.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    but your OP asks about more aggressive technique so I say “pedals level”.

    But he’s talking about racing XC, where this is likely:

    if your saddle is too high for a more aggressive approach

    jhw
    Member

    You’re probably right – I’m trying to find a photo of an XC rider applying bent knees cornering technique I describe above and there aren’t any…if a quick google image search for Tinker Juarez is representative…

    There was a cracking photo someone put on here of Cadel Evans taken from behind, flat out at the apex of a corner with his bike almost horizontal. His saddle was way high up and from memory his outside foot was indeed way low. So if it works for him…

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    You’re probably right – I’m trying to find a photo of an XC rider applying bent knees cornering technique I describe above and there aren’t any…if a quick google image search for Tinker Juarez is representative

    No. He’s about 900 years old so he’s knees will be bent for different reasons.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Mainly bermed photos I can see, where they are more level, but here’s Schurter at Dalby:

    And Absalon on the Olympic course:

    You can tell from their body positions that the saddle is instrumental in their position, there’s no way you could emulate Peaty’s position.

    GW
    Member

    only in one of those lame XC races you do njee 😉

    Peat’s body position in the photo illustrates very well the right body position for 90% of corners/off camber sections

    no it doesn’t all it does is show that when pulling rad barturns a knocked-knee stance will deter from your radness so much your average XC mincer won’t even notice you’ve raised the front wheel off the ground!

    there are faster cornerers than Peaty who visually have quite a different style.

    GW
    Member

    You can tell from their body positions that the saddle is instrumental in their position, there’s no way you could emulate Petey’s position.

    that’s rubbish! – peaty corners with the same style riding XC with his seat at full height as he does riding DH, he clearly won’t be able to squat down as low but all the rest of his style is the same.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    he clearly won’t be able to squat down as low but all the rest of his style is the same.

    Yes, so you can’t emulate the position… You really are an argumentative chap aren’t you?

    Find me a photo of Peaty, on an XC bike with saddle fully raised, in the exact same position that he is in JHWs photo.

    pete68
    Member

    Back to the original point of this thread.Fettling said he would like to get top 20 but lacks the skills to do so. However, looking at his lap times,if he’d kept his first lap pace up he would have got 19th spot.So while its true better skills would help you could say you just need to get a bit fitter.(easier said than done though!)
    And yes njee,i think GW could start an argument in a telephonebox!

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