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 Post subject: Tips on riding downhill
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:05 pm 
Pumpy's Bear
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Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2005 10:03 pm
Posts: 8145
Location: Hereford
Ok, I really need help on this, I've asked friends before and had supportive advice/comments but have to ask again in case there is a magic solution out there.

The issue:
- I can't ride downhill without fear on road or offroad
- amount of fear is not constant and can come and go in an instant
- at it's worst I'm at snails pace with heart rate at 180 (which is good for fitness but not much else)
- at it's worst I am riding on road down a smooth hill I know well with a visible runout and going slower than on the flat

It's stupid and really gets on my nerves no end but this is really detracting from my enjoyment of cycling and is stopping me trying stuff I'd love to do. None of this is rational (I watch others on fairly straightforward stuff, see how and where they have ridden and then.....)

If anyone has some suggestions they think would be useful I'd be very appreciative as I'm prepared to try anything within reason short of visiting Paul McKenna.

Oh, and no, to date I have had no big offs nor seen any.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:19 pm 
Gold Trader
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Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 11:14 pm
Posts: 3832
Location: Somerset
The fact that you have not come off is possibly the problem.

I have had a crash recently which slowed me down a little, I had previously been a bit carefree!

I was a slow downhiller until I had a slow speed crash and lost a fair bit of skin. I then thought what the hell, coming off hurts at any speed! So I progresivly got faster and faster until I inevitably had a big stack, and was quite okay despite it being about 25 mph.

Please try it, it is a lot of fun, and very liberating to face and conqure a fear. :D


Last edited by Stick Legs on Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:20 pm 
BoTM Winner
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Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 8:19 pm
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fear is good , it keeps you alive

just dont let it get the better of you :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:26 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:22 pm
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Location: Hove
May I ask you whether you enjoy horror films?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:33 pm 
East Midlands AEC
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Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:45 pm
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Location: Derby, UK
confidence is one of your best friends (over confidence I guess your worst enemy!). Build it up like Sticklegs says.

But in terms of actual positioning, arms outstretched, arse over rear wheel, seatpost lowered if you can be bothered, pick your line and let go - try not to use brakes too much ( :shock: ).

Come to the Wobble - we'll practice!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:02 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 11:25 pm
Posts: 1913
Location: North Herts
You might have mentioned this on Saturday, I could have given you a quick crash course :?

Pardon the pun, but in all seriosness, it is a matter of confidence and for me the confidence comes from good brakes....if you feel confident in your ability to stop/control your descent then you have the confidence to decend at more than a snails pace :wink:

Secondly, and I know this is not easy from what you've said, try and relax on the bike, make it flow over the terrain. If you adopt the 'startled cat' position on the bike.......you will crash.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:41 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 7:18 pm
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Location: Staffordshire
Don't suppose this will help that much. Never race downhill... Ever. Concentrate all your efforts into going uphill fast! This formula gave me a reasonable shout when racing! OK, I had 'radical knarly' types shouting abuse at me on the downhill sections, but when the track pointed up they soon faded. As it takes longer to ride up the same hill than down...

Aim to improve slightly each time. Find a short reasonably tricky decent and ride it very slowly. Try to improve one skill on each decent. Times will improve. I find though no matter how quickly you think you are going, some gangly oik will always overtake you...sometimes about five feet over you!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:01 am 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2005 9:50 pm
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Location: Yorkshirecestershshire
Joe Montgomery (Cannondale CEO) once said "speed is our friend!" - I am C**P downhill too!, but i'spose he's right! the faster you go, the less chance you have of stopping dead ('scuse the pun) if you hit something!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:48 am 
Pumpy's Bear
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Location: Hereford
Thanks guys, that's really helpful.

Confidence and relaxing are coming through as common themes (which I guess I knew but it is reassuring to have it confirmed) and both will come with more practice. I'll never be a demon downhill but adequate would be just the job so I've got to go out riding more and just trust that it will be ok.



Iwasgoodonce wrote:
Concentrate all your efforts into going uphill fast!


Totally agree, anyone with some bravery and lack of imagination of what might happen can ride ownhill but uphill is much more of a challenge with a real sense of achievement on making it to the top (I suppose there is the "thank God I'm alive" on reaching the bottom as a counter balance). Shame I'm also slow uphill unless non technical when mindless force and determination can come into play.



Anthony wrote:
May I ask you whether you enjoy horror films?


Umm, no not really


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:53 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:37 am
Posts: 4916
The fear of going downhill is the same as the fear of anything. Whatever has caused your fear is, by now, almost irrelevant. You've told yourself so many times that you are scared of going downhill, that your brain now defaults to inducing the sensation of fear whenever prompted.

The memory of fear (or indeed any memory) is like a muscle, and you have obviously worked hard on yours and created a rather strong one! The good news is that it can also atrophy like a muscle, all you need to do is stop using it (or at least use it less). The best way to do this is make a conscious effort to replace the fear with a positive thought, set yourself an achievable goal relating to downhill; somthing like 'by the end of the year i will hammer my favourite hill as fast as my mate'. Then work on this; start off slow, just ride the hill. But make an effort not to think bad things are gonna happen, be positive. Just think how good it will feel to finish it, remind yourself that people do this all the time, remember that you are an experienced rider and have the right equipment to minimise the risk etc.

Not saying it's easy, hell i punctured a lung after a downhill crash! But, i didn't die and now i have an anecdote to tell people when they say 'isn't mountain biking dangerous?' Going fast downhill is where the adrenaline is at, and everyone likes that :)


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