21. Rest position: Your rest position needs to be 3:00 - 9:00 on your pedals. If you rest at 6:00 and 12:00, you will eventually get obliterated. A single rock that looks like nothing can hit your pedal and instantly freeze your bike sending you careening toward the landscape where you will trade with the earth your blood and skin for dirt rock and plant life. Not fun!
Not so good
22. Where to look: Until you have a lot of experience (and even then, be careful), do not look at anything but your line of travel when you are going fast. If you look at the aspen or the cactus off to the side of the trail, your bike will go there. Always look between 5 - 15 feet ahead of your current position. Your brain is so smart, it will download the rock you see five feet ahead so that when you are going over it, your subconscious can easily clear the obstacle leaving you free to anticipate the next thing. This all happens in milliseconds when you are riding at high speeds. It is quite remarkable.
23. Your first aid kit should include at least the following:
- Waterproof Band-aids
- Butterfly Bandages
- Antibiotic ointment
- Vinyl gloves
- Super glue
Optional items for shorter rides that are essential for epic rides far from civilization:
- Ace bandage
- Duct tape
- Space blanket
- Bug spray
- Iodine tablets (for water purification)
24. A chain mishap can ruin a trip: Replace a chain that has too much stretch. Your bike mechanic has a tool to check it. A stretched chain can ruin a good cassette (rear chain rings). Clean your chain frequently. I do a light cleaning after every ride and a deep cleaning about every five rides. Lightly lube your chain with good bike lube that costs between $6 and $12 per bottle. Lube the night before you ride to let the lube soak into the vital parts. Do not go too heavy on the application.
25. Spike your water or take salt pills on big rides: Gatorade is fine, but it is not enough for hard core mountain biking, especially in hot weather. I like the Margarita flavored Shot Blocks. They have 3x the sodium of normal Shot Blocks. Two thumbs up. I spike my water with Elete Water. It makes the water taste salty, but the payoff is no cramps. Good trade!
26. Tubeless tires are awesome: You can run at lower pressures with tubeless than you can with tubed tires, and they self seal when they get poked. You will still need to carry a tube with you for big tire failure. The sealant is expensive unless you make the home version. Here is the recipe:
- 1 C Liquid latex (buy it at craft stores)
- 1 C Antifreeze
- 2 TBS Ammonia
- Glitter or sawdust or shaved rubber or about anything that is small and won't dissolve. Rumor has it that Stans uses corn meal. IDK.
27. Trust your bike (if you spent enough for it): Your bike can do amazing things. It can roll over really difficult stuff if you let it. I was once lecturing to a college class about intellectual property. I brought my bike in and was explaining all of the IP that went into an Ellsworth mountain bike. I was explaining Instant Center Tracking, linkages and other things when a smartie pants student asked, "yea, well so what? What can that bike do that a Walmart bike can't?" I said, "This bike can climb a flight of stairs." Another student said, "Show us." I went out to my car, put on my bike shoes, found a flight of stairs and with the entire class watching, I rode up. If you buy good stuff, you can do things on a bike that look impossible.
28. Hydraulic Disc Brakes: Hydraulic disc brakes are so sweet! They require less pressure to pull, have better modulation (more even braking) and will still work when a rim is out of true.
29. Bike Shops: Buy stuff from your friendly local bike shop. Get to know the owner and the mechanics. I have a 25% rule. I will pay a 25% premium to buy from my bike shop versus on line. I want to keep these guys in business and I know I will need favors from time to time (like getting bumped to the front of the repair line).
30. Transitions: Mountain bikers call the area they land on after being airborne and the area they take off from, the transition. The landing transition makes all the difference in jump comfort. The best transitions are ones that you can hardly feel because they match the exact angle of your falling bike. A flat transition no es bueno. You want an away slope. When deciding whether or not to take a jump, the transition should be one of the most important, if not the most important consideration. Watch the video below and notice the landing transitions to his jumps.