Riding down things

One of the greatest things about mountain biking — and one of the scariest things for beginners — is riding your bike down all sorts of things: steep slopes, vertical ledges and even big drops.

The way we teach it, you use the same basic technique when you’re coasting down a hill, rolling down a ledge of flying off a monster drop. The only differences are the angle of your bike and the amount of sky between your tires and the ground.

Intro: this is simpler than you think >>>
Coasting down a hill >>>
Rolling down a ledge >>>
Flying off a drop (advanced) >>>
Wheelie drop (advanced) >>>
Big drop with a lip (advanced) >>>
Popping off a drop (hella advanced) >>>

Elliott Hoover with perfect form on a big drop — on a hardtail! — at Pawnee National Grasslands in CO. He’s using the same fundamental skills you’ll use when you ride off a curb. 

2 replies
  1. Victor Ortenberg
    Victor Ortenberg says:

    Hi Lee,

    Since taking the clinic in May I’ve focused on 3 things in my downhill riding.

    – “Heavy feet light hands”/not hanging too far back,
    – Looking through obstacles to the exit/”next thing”.
    – Controlling speed and pumping (or even pedaling) through rocks (as opposed to just hanging on and hoping for the best:)

    At this point places like Picture Rock, Heil, Rabbit Mountain (basically pure blue on mtbproject) are just pure fun for me.
    (Incidentally focusing on those 3 things seems to have helped my uphill riding through rocks quite a bit.)

    But when things get steeper to the point where I have to feather the brakes all the time, I find it really difficult to find that balance point and not feel like I am hanging off the bars.
    Are there any drills or techniques to work on that?
    As a corollary, what’s a good progression of Front Range trails between Picture Rock and Bitterbrush to increase difficulty incrementally?

    Thanks for your time!

    • Lee McCormack
      Lee McCormack says:

      Hi Victor!

      – Practice very hard braking on flat ground with perfect balance.

      – Practice hard braking on a steep downhill with perfect balance. Pavement is great for a start.

      – Do the same practice while braking down a flight of stairs.

      While you’re out there, focus on weightless hands. If your fingers are pulling, you’re too far back.

      I consider Bitterbrush to be the next step after Picture Rock, but that is a big step. Try posting that question to our Facebook group. Someone will have a better suggestion.

      Take care!


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