Tuesday, April 26, 2016

SPEED!

I have mentioned before that I rate trails on a fun/work scale. The higher number the better. There is another way to manipulate the equation: Adding speed makes fun go up...until you crash.

Still, the adrenaline rush makes up for an occasional crash, at least for me. I love to ride fast. Just sayin'.

I am KOM (King of the Mountain) on several Strava segments for my age group and have respectable times overall. For example,

Lower Big Springs DH 1 out of 81

And

Frosty's Big Springs DH 1 out of 52


My respectable overall times include a second place for another segment and a 5th for another out of 231. 

Balls McGralls 2 out of 681

Most people think I must have a screw loose to be charging down a dirt trail at 36.5 mph. Although probably true, there is some technique involved that adds both speed and safety.

1. Equipment


High Roller II's by Maxxis are the best thing out there. 


They roll fast, grab dirt and clear mud. One of the most important components of speed is to be able to go as horizontal as possible in turns. If your tire can stay attached to the dirt and not wash out, you can take the turn much faster. For example, 



You can watch the video version here

Brakes go from good to critical at higher speeds. Don't skimp. Check your brakes often and bleed them as necessary. 

Wide bars are better!

Body armor can help mentally while riding and physically in a crash. I wish I had been wearing some here: 


2. Technique


At high speeds, you should rarely be touching your saddle and your saddle should be far lower (for me, 4 inches lower) than it is positioned while climbing. Your knees, hips and to some degree your ankles are your best suspension. 

Focus is critical. You need to anticipate the next turn or obstacle and decide, based on trail conditions, what you will do when you get there. You also need to be aware of new obstacles that were not on the trail on your way up, such as people, dogs and wild animals. Elk, mouse grouse and deer are all common trail sharers. 

In following my cycling partner, Jonathan, who is faster than I am, I have noticed skid marks that start very late right before a turn. He hits his brakes hard, even locking them up, as late as possible right before a turn then accelerates into the turn and after. He learned this as a Porsche dealer. 

Trust your bike...unless you settled. I trust my bike do perform how I need it to. I don't have to worry about it. 

Drifting is way cool. Drifting is basically a controlled skid and recovery. If you get really good at it, you can do a two wheel drift and some guys can even drift on slick rock. to learn how to drift, watch this video. 



3. Insanity


I admit that I am a little insane on a bike. That insanity helps with speed for sure. 




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