open topic, for anything cycling related.
Should be worth noting, as evidenced by the Lance Armstrong quote, that competitive racing naturally puts pain and fear a distant second place to victory and success. Going past your limits to go past the other bloke to win CAN get you seriously injured, maimed and killed. If the TdF guys can die, you definitely can.
Once you've accepted this reality, just keep descending as much as possible and try to keep an eye on the speedo once you've left the corners. I don't think it matters how relaxed you are - you will figure out what works as you have confidence. If you KNOW that you can go through the corner at the yellow sign limit easily, and you're doing that speed 100m away, you are going to be much smoother, softer in the hands, confident in the lean etc.
I remember seeing a Cancellara descent vid recently and it was clear that he was confident the whole way down, dodging support cars and taking some pretty intense corners. How fast was he? I don't know, but he was beating the cars.
There is something unnatural about good racers - they literally have no fear of the possibilities. rusty said it took him 2 YEARS to get his mojo back after an incident. You have to have something in your brain that ignores risk, except that which will slow you down. I think ensuring you've had lots of fluids, carbs and sleep would be your best insurance while learning to switch off the fear. If you aren't racing, then I suggest that you stop trying to push yourself. If your brain is stopping you doing something dangerous, best to listen to that and be a slow descender.
You can't think about all of this, so practice one at a time sequentially:
1. Pick a braking point at the outside of the corner and practice braking hard up to that point. This will teach you want level of braking is required for different gradients.
2. Practice turning your head into the corner and looking for the exit. Where you can't see the exit, pick an item (tree, rock etc) where you think it is and focus your attention on that. Pick new points as the corner opens up to you. For practice, turn your head full over your shoulder. This will teach you to not look at the ground and obstacles 1m in front of you which is what many cyclists do. This is the most important one IMO.
3. Push hard down on the outside pedal. Not just weight transfer but actually use your leg muscles to force down on the outside pedal. This wil set the right balance and by default position of the bike.
4. Straighten your arms, pushing your body and butt backwards. But keep your arms supple and relaxed. Eventually you will develop this to straighten and the push harder with the inside arm creating the counter steer.
5. Run a trailing rear brake through the corner and practice applying more to tighten you up in the corner. Don't apply a front brake in the corner.
For every corner, pick your emergency exit and update this as you go through the corner. If I puncture, hit a pot hole, encounter a car etc, I will...
To get good at cornering on a decent, which is what you mean, you need to practice it. I recommend, even in a bunch, especially in a bunch, you choose your own lines, don't follow those of the rider in front.
There's one on Black Mountain in Canberra as well.
BTW - nice write-up of your thoughts, couldn't agree more. As a 'heavier' rider I have to be pretty cautious, there's a lot less room for error when the brakes are marginal.
I ride, therefore I am.
...real cyclists don't have squeaky chains...
What, if any, is the etiquette for overtaking on a descent? I try and time it so as not to pass anyone on a corner but I fear one day I'll pick a line, usually wide then cut the apex as described by an earlier poster, and someone will try to pass me on the apex. i always look over my shoulder before reaching a corner but on windy roads with a superfast descender behind me I fear we may both want the same piece of road at the same time.
Scott CR1, Kuota Kharma
I try to sit behind for a corner or two and watch the lines they choose. That results in me travelling at around the same speed so when I 'outbrake' on the inside, well and truly before the apex so they know I'm there, it's not a kamikaze manoeuvre and we both can choose our lines accordingly
Last edited by Cardy George on Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Fondreist R10, Dura-Ace, Cosmic SL's
Specialized Hardrock, Spinergy Xyclones
And the occasional trailer full of kids......
As a contrast to the thoughts expressed above on braking, in a Keith Code basic course, you are not allowed to use brakes or change gears.
The reason for this, is that it gives you a whole lot less things to think about, stops you from upsetting the posture of the bike, and teaches you to trust the bike. No brakes also maximises your corner speed It takes a lot of practice and skill to late-brake your way to just your max corner speed, and ech corner needs to be learned with repeated laps. When you sop using them, initially there are brown undies on the way in, but you quickly realise that you still have lots to spare. Have to say, rollng off the throttle in top gear aftrer exxiting Turn One at Eastern Creek sees you still going very quick into Turn Two, which has a tightening radius and an off-camber exit. That resulted in me getting my knee on the deck for the first time ever though, so that was pretty special
If you are going too slow, the instructors pull in front of you, and you have to hang on their tail regardless of how quick they go. They ride with one hand, looking over their shoulder at you to see how you are doing. They will also correct your turn-in point if you are turning in too soon.
I need to stress though, that this training takes place on a closed circuit, in full leathers, and is NOT meant to be translated to public roads. The principles of cornering remain unchanged regardless of location or bike nature, however.
GP bike or BSO, counter-steering and turn-ins do not change. Tyre profiles are very different too. I could not bring myself to chuck the skinny, high profile tyres on a roadie into a corner like I do the low profile rounded afore-mentioned Diablos.
Anyone who rides corners at race speeds, in race style, on a public road, is just plain nuts, whether that is a motor-bike or a pushy.
You have officially become your parents.
Same etiquette as always. You have to execute the pass before the corner. Go around the outside if you can't finish the pass on the inside before getting around the corner.
As the topic is Decending and as it is on a cycling forum, I assume decending on a bicycle is the topic, I look forward to seeing you decending without any braking
Having raced a car and a bicycle at Eastern Creek I don't remember any decents there.
The no brakes on a moto takes in the fact that you can use gears to slow down. Bit hard on the pushy.
What's a performance road motor bike's (with rider) weight distribution between front and rear wheel on the flats?
And I don't even want to know the diff in centre of gravity height, or co-efficient of friction of rubber in touch with road.
good point about using this to tighten up. will have to experiment with this more myself.
i think recreational cyclists just don't make a lot of time for descent practice...probably because of the ascents in between.
that technique works in motos because it makes the rear suspension squat. I dunno that it would make any difference to cornering on a bicycle.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...
Oh dear,the limitations of typing a conversation.
In many ways, the topic is cornering.
I was referring to the advice to brake hard. I used the word "contrast" rather than "wrong".
I was suggesting that hard braking is not really good idea. Gentler braking further back from a corner is a better idea, causing less disturbnce of the bikes equilibrium. In fact, more corner speed, but a good line will likely give a better outcome than a rash attempt at late braking with a poor turn in. That's much more likely to result in running wide on the exit, which is not a good idea on a public road.
You have officially become your parents.
The no brakes on a moto takes in the fact that you can use gears to slow down. Bit hard on the pushy.[/quote]
Nup, no gear changes allowed either. You pick one and stick with it. Most peeps choose 5th, which has bugger all engine braking.
I'm not suggesting that people don't use their brakes on descents. I'm talking around the topic of cornering and what happens when you do or don't, in response to advice to brake hard/late.
Maybe read "A Twist of the Wrist".
You have officially become your parents.
I find trail braking helps settle the rear end on my pushy. I'm wary of locking though, as on a descent, the weight distribution is more forward.
You have officially become your parents.
Based on my experience as a mountain bike rider, there is a lot of sense to sblack's comment. It isn't just belief, it's fact and there is a trend to wider mtb rims in the market.
Helps on an mtb too, hardtail or dually. If I'd been doing a bit more of that I might not have busted my collarbone at Kiwarrak.
I'm glad this thread was started - some great tips.
I haven't been riding very long now and as much as I love to climb, I always have to plan my routes to ensure the descent is going to be comfortable and safe enough for me.
While learning, I have been keeping my top speed <= 40km/h - whether it's on the straight or on the corners, usually braking well before the corner to wash off speed and then just taking it smoothly and calmly at a lower speed. People pass me, often in disgust that I am braking on a straight in a descent but I couldn't care less as I've already done the most enjoyable part of my ride and if it takes me longer to get to my next destination, as long as I get there in one piece I'm happy.
I know some will say not to brake on the straight but I find my body much more relaxed and my mind much calmer when I know I am travelling at a speed I can handle at all times - having said that, I am also learning that taking eyes off the speedo helps to develop the 'feel' and confidence without the panic of thinking you're going too fast.
Well you have to brake in the straight. You go faster in the straights than you can in the corners and its dangerous piling on brakes in corners so you have to brake before the corners. Or do you mean something else?
judged, insulted, gone
+1. Braking in the corners is generally a bad idea unless you are out of other options.
Here's the scenario;
A very straight 300 meters down at 22% then a sharp turn at the bottom.
Halfway down at 80kmh + and you realized that there's a very minor patch
coz you seemed to get the feeling that your bike flew off the ground and shakes everytime
it touches the ground....then fear starts to kick in.
Here's what popped in my mind;
I feared that I might go cartwheeling on my bike at 80 kmh downhill If I grabbed the brakes.
Tap tap tap on the brakes and it didn't slowed me down at all... and the rest is history.
Good test on the Ride Like Cray ride today a few decent hills to run down, and I went faster and safer than I have ever. The main things I tried were
Looking as far as I could ahead through the corner and thats where I went and had heaps of time to correct if there were things to miss
Rear brake trailing, I had very light pressure on the handle only enough to have the pads just touching and just applied a tiny bit more if needed to pull me in a bit tighter and wash some speed off.
Bum as far as back on the seat as possible but not touching and legs in tight.
More weight on the outside pedal than I used to apply.
Every bend I took was much more stable and as such faster than ever before
TdF 2011: as Cadel Evans crosses the finish at Alpe-d’Huez: "I reckon tonight in hindsight he may have won the Tour de France tomorrow." The man Phil Ligget !!!
Yeh, I mean just generally braking on the straight to maintain my 'safe' speed even if there isn't a corner coming up. I hear people saying if it's completely straight and no corners for a while just to 'let it roll' which at times I'm too gutless to do.
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