Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Rolling Over the Rough Stuff

My friend and I decided to take a ride in the Horse Gulch trail system. It was obvious from the moment we took to the trail that he was not adept at any technical riding and would ride slowly. Normally, I would have told him I had forgotten about an important meeting, or that I had left sulfuric acid boiling on the stove and would have to get right back to the house. Instead of fleeing, my mind went down memory lane. I recalled a chance meeting with a very good rider when I was younger. He must have felt the same way as I did. However, this pro slowed up, watched me from behind and gave me pointers. Right then and there I decided to do the same for my friend.

One of the most important lessons a new rider can learn is that your bike CAN handle the rough stuff. Let’s go over the basics. First, let’s assume your bike has a front suspension fork. The fork uses air or a mixture of oil and air to reduce the shock gravity produces. Secondly, let’s gain a firm understanding and maxim: your front wheel determines your direction. With those two pieces of the puzzle connected we can move on to the discussion.

The Scene

You’re up early. The sun has barely risen. Coffee brews in your kitchen. Following a quick rush of caffeine and the morning news on Chain Ring Action, you are out of the door and on to a new trail. The ride starts out easily. Suddenly, ahead of you is a series of small ledges. After finishing a short uphill grunt, you are determined to ride over the technical drops. Normally, you would consider getting off your bike. But, today you remember the lessons on Chain Ring Action.

The Action

- Propose a line
The line is the direction you wish to travel. It is a series of moves through the technical section. It is also the path of least resistance (if possible).
- Gather your speed
Speed is important on technical sections. Too much speed and you may not be able to hold your line. Too little speed and you risk going over your handle bars, or endo.
- Lean back
Do not (REPEAT) – Do not lean over your handle bars. You objective is to stay over your rear wheel. Sometimes you might even exaggerate this concept by touching your rear wheel, um, with your rear.
- Roll over
It may not be necessary to pedal over the rough stuff. Instead, consider rolling over it. Gather enough speed (you may have to practice this) and roll over the technical section. Remember to lean back and let the bike (fork) do the work for you.
- Conquer
Mental attitude is everything. If you have the right attitude you can get through any technical section. Keep your eyes open, breath out loudly and focus! You can do it.
- Disclaimer
I can’t say that I’ve always made it through technical sections. However, I follow these techniques. They may not always work for you, so be mindful of your successes and failures. Always learn from them.

The Results

You’ve successfully ridden the entire trail. Not once did your feet touch the ground! A cold beverage and relaxation are your rewards…

Question for commentary

Tell me about your epic crashes?


Anonymous said...

I was wondering how many times a week you "boil" sulfuric acid on your stove.

This might be dangerous Walker.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if you're talking about the times I rode the Gulch with you - well, behind you, anyway.

And why would you want to put sulfuric acid on your boil anyway?


Anonymous said...

Typically, I boil sulfuric acid once a day. It keeps the smell of the rotten eggs down.

Anonymous said...


That's a good question. No, you are not the one I'm referring too. You are a great rider!!!