Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Building our Skills

The skies cleared and a handful of Divas showed up Monday evening at Jodhpur Trailhead ready to learn some new riding skills. We were happy to find that the trails were dry and there weren't many other people on the trail.

Our focus was on agility, staying active in the bike - instead of staying seated - and riding the banked curves of the Kitchen Sink trail. My goal whether climbing or descending is to ride the banked curves fairly high on the bank - instead of riding in the bottom where debris collects.

Some of the key tips to descending banked curves are: look ahead to the exit of the curve; brake before entering the curve so you are at the desired speed upon entry; stay centered over the bike from front to back; and keep your uphill or outer foot down. Some of these go counter to how we often ride on descents with our butts back behind the saddle and pedals level.

By centering our weight, we keep both wheels firmly on the ground. Keeping the outer foot down, we are pushing into that foot to allow us to counterbalance the bike. Our upper body is out of the saddle and active over the bike. I like to think of keeping my bike perpendicular to the berm while my body moves over the bike.

We began by practicing in a the grassy field (watch out for dog poop!), then moved to the trail. After a few trips back-and-forth on the first stretch of Kitchen Sink, one rider noted with a grin that it "flowed." That is exactly how the trails should ride, flowing from one curve to the next!

When climbing, banked corners can aid in the climb. Use the same technique of looking ahead and aim for a higher part of the corner. By riding higher on the bank, you get a short break from exertion as you drop off the high part. Then you can prepare for the next corner. Try it next time you climb Mighty Bike at Kincaid or the Hillside singletracks.


You can research videos online. The link posted above is first in a multi-part series that describes and demonstrates a few different berms, all demonstrated in the rain! Have fun and ride those berms!

posted by Rose

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