Cornering with a cool head near an off-cambered cliff has to be done calmly and cautiously, however, one must be in the collective zone to do it courageously. OK, enough with the “C” words. I’d like to bring up a tech tip on cornering here today. To me, cornering is one of the most fascinating and most interesting technical aspects of our sport; whether on road or on the trail, a tight turn is an artistic act. We’ve all seen the pictures of the motorcyclist overpowering a corner at 100 miles per hour, his/her knee barely off the pavement. We’ve watched the Tour de France riders take a mountain pass corner with ease and grace, in the peloton! So how do these two-wheeled maniacs do such a thing? What is their secret?
The trick to a successful turn is in the, uh, butt. To be more precise, I’m referring to your center of gravity. Let’s move into the visual world. Take a look at the motorcyclist in the picture. Do you see how he/she is crouched low to the center of the bike? It appears as if the rider is one of the frame. He/she is trying to drop the center of gravity in order to distribute the weight over to the turning side. Let’s consider it another way. Have you ever moved a refrigerator? If so, you know that you can’t push very well from the top. You need to get low and push from the bottom. One can turn the refrigerator through doors and entry ways, easily, using the bottom as the source of force. Thus, a lower body position will create an easier cornering aspect. Now, let’s take this idea to the trail.
Pretend, you are heading towards the corner of death. You see it coming closer. Take a deep breath. Look ahead of the turn, quickly. Is it safe to continue? Once you reach the beginning of the turn, you’ll start to sink into your bike. You’ll want your body to feel like it is a yo-yo. You slowly drop, as you initiate the turn. As you enter into the meat of the turn (middle), you’ll want to, possibly, drop your head a bit toward the handle bars. As you reach the zenith of the turn (end), you’ll want to spring out of the turn and “rise”. Again, think of the motorcyclist. He/she drops and then “rises” in order to position the bike for the next turn.
Try this technique and let me know what you think.