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SalsaMTB
07-24-2006, 06:29 AM
There are some trails around here that have short, steep downhills with the occasional drop. I'm not talking a huge drop, just like 6-8", a couple logs piled up. I have gone down them before, very unsmoothly, but made it. I took a hard fall recently on one and now am petrified to do it. I have always been completely unstable doing it and just hope for the best. I have no problem with roots, small rocks, etc in the downhill, just the piled up logs (not up and over, it's flat up, just a drop over).

Any recommendations on how to handle these? I feel like when I take it slow, it takes every ounce in me not to go over the handle bars. I'm too freaked out though to take it with speed.

What do you do? Slow, roll over and just hold your weight back? Take speed and it all balances out and it's easier? Something with the steep downhill with the drop really freaks me out. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Jenn

DirtDiva
07-24-2006, 08:24 AM
Ooooo. That sounds like fun. :D

Mostly the steepness (unless it's way steep) is just adding extra speed to the equation. Have you got a deathgrip on your brakes as you go over? If so, just letting go for that moment will help lots. If you're having trouble just rolling off them, you might need to pop your front wheel up a bit as you go over (I think this helps because it keeps your weight back as you land). Have you got somewhere flatter with a similar sized drop you could practice on without having to be going as fast? I remember someone posting a link to a handy little video on this, but I can't for the life of me remember who, so that's no help is it?!

spokewench
07-24-2006, 08:26 AM
Yes, It does help to have some momentum but you don't have to be going too fast. I'm never real fast going downhill on my mountain bike anymore TOO OLD!

Anyway, shift your body weight way off the back of the saddle; you can rest your leg against the saddle to stabilize yourself; bend your elbows and your legs slightly so they will take up the impact when you hit the ground on the other side of the drop off. scrub off speed before you get to the drop off (not too much); then get OFF YOUR BRAKES, don't touch them, and especially your front brake. If you have to take your fingers off the front brake so you have no chance of grabbing it, do it. I do this some times cause that front brake after a drop off can put you over the handlebars.

Next thing is visualize this drop off when you are thinking about doing these, think about how smooth it can be just off the end and float on down. Think about relaxing with the bike, letting the bike just roll.

Wish I was closer to you and we could go out and practice. Hope this helps you.

:)

madisongrrl
07-24-2006, 08:29 AM
There are some trails around here that have short, steep downhills with the occasional drop. I'm not talking a huge drop, just like 6-8", a couple logs piled up. I have gone down them before, very unsmoothly, but made it. I took a hard fall recently on one and now am petrified to do it. I have always been completely unstable doing it and just hope for the best. I have no problem with roots, small rocks, etc in the downhill, just the piled up logs (not up and over, it's flat up, just a drop over).

Are you comfortable riding logs when the terrain is flat? Are you comfortable descending a steep hill without log piles in your way? Make sure you are very comfortable doing these things and the log drop will be much easier.



Any recommendations on how to handle these? I feel like when I take it slow, it takes every ounce in me not to go over the handle bars. I'm too freaked out though to take it with speed.

1. Make sure you have enough tension on your clipless pedals so you won't slip out of them when you land.

2. You need to ensure you have enough speed going over the logs, but not too much speed....you don't want to be out of control. If these logs are on a steep slope, brake/slow down well before you get to the logs (not right before them). You want enough momentum so you can easily get both wheels in the air. If you don't have enough momentum, you will flip over the handle bars. Ideally, your tires should land at the same time. (disc brakes and full suspension are excellent for tackling these kinds of situations)

3. Get your weight back off your saddle and over your rear tire. How much you get your weight back will depend on the steepness of the slope. There have been times in mountain bike races where I'm descending a section and my backside is entirely hanging off my bike and my stomach is resting on my saddle. (I actually raced yesterday and someone ahead of me was descending a steep section using too much brake and didn't get her weight back. She flipped over the handle bars. It was very scary.)





What do you do? Slow, roll over and just hold your weight back? Take speed and it all balances out and it's easier? Something with the steep downhill with the drop really freaks me out. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Jenn

Again, if the steep downhill freaks you out, try to practice descending a bunch of steep hills that don't have logs. It will give you the confidence you need to do the log drop. Remember, many people who are excellent technical singletrack riders have taken years to acquire their skills (and have taken many falls in the process). If you can't get it this year, maybe you'll get it next year. Stay safe and keep at it!

SalsaMTB
07-24-2006, 08:48 AM
Thanks for all the information.

I do have the death grip on both brakes when there is a downhill like that. I don't mind steep downhills and logs seperately, but together, my head is just thinking...fall!!

I'll have to try taking a little more speed and laying off the front brake. I know a lot of it is mental, but I definitely do not have the technique down either.

Maybe next time DH and I go riding, I'll watch him do it a couple times and then try to copy his technique. We'll have to spend a little extra time at that section.

fatbottomedgurl
07-24-2006, 09:35 AM
My girlfriends have been introducing me to all the trails nearby. Last week we went down a section that was fairly steep and there were drops over railroad ties every ten feet or so -- about eight of them. Same as your logs it sounds like. I was a little freaked but just got my butt back off the saddle, loosened my arms up and rear-braked a tiny bit between each one. Crashing can freak me out too but it's like riding horses, you gotta get up and do it again.

Further on we went through a bunch of rocks/ baby heads (gross term!) and I was confident enough to just roll through and over them. It's true, experience comes with time, and maybe someday we will take those drops with "both tires off the ground"!

Nanci
07-25-2006, 05:52 AM
The railroad tie dealies are called waterbars. They prevent errosion. Some trails have pretty major ones, like two feet high! I am in awe of people who can ride up anything more than about a four inch waterbar...I like riding down them, though.

I think smaller rocks are called chickenheads! I've heard babyheads a lot.


Nanci