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Riding Steep & Scary Sections On A Mountain Bike | MTB Skills

Riding Steep & Scary Sections On A Mountain Bike | MTB Skills

– What is this? What the, oh my. This is how to deal with super steep and super scary downhills. (relaxing music) (logo booming) Right, I’m here in Squamish. Home of all the steepest,
and the slabbiest rocks you’ve ever seen in any mountain
bike video and magazine. And let’s start with quite a small one, but this is perfect for
learning how to deal with the steeper rock slabs. So let’s start with body position. (relaxing music) You’ve got a really nice
roll into this section here, nice and flat and open, so you’ve got time to set yourself up. So you’ll be coming in,
central ready position, middle of the bike, and really
looking at what’s coming up. And then obviously soon as
you start getting into this, it’s really important to start bringing your weight to the back of the bike. Actually, what you’re doing is keeping your weight middle of the bike, but just because it’s so
steep your front wheel is dropping in, if you stay
in the middle of the bike you’re really getting over the bars then. So you need to address that balance, and the real way to do
this, the key to do this, is actually just by dropping your heels. If you do that nicely,
that’s gonna bring your hips right down and back to the rear wheel. I talk about that arc of movement, and I’m really talking
about your hips there. On a flat piece of trail,
in that ready position, your hips will be above the saddle. Going a climb you can slide
to the front of the saddle, but you know the opposite,
going down a steep hill, you really need your hips
right to the back of the bike. Think about a plumb line
coming off your hips, and that will still probably
be over the bottom bracket, but it’s all about heels
down, hips back, head up. (relaxing music) There’s two important C’s when it comes to this sort of stuff. It’s commitment, and confidence. And that really comes from making sure you know you can do this,
and I’d really recommend stopping, getting off, and
taking a look at it first. Because then you want
to commit to doing it, you don’t wanna be undecided. But also, if you roll in too slow, you’re gonna start maybe
losing your balance, so you wanna keep those
wheels turning a little bit. Obviously don’t wanna go too fast because that could cause
you trouble on this. You don’t want to start jumping off this because it’s a really horrible landing, so you wanna roll down it, but
really slow and you’ll find, obviously, that gyroscopic
effect disappears, and you then might lose your balance, and then you’re in trouble. And then confidence
just comes from doing it over and over, riding steep
stuff you’ll get used to it. This does look really intimidating, but actually these rock
slabs are really predictable. If you know this trail,
this is never gonna change, there’s never gonna be
a bit of mud digging out or a new root, it’s
always gonna be the same. So hopefully that’s gonna
build your confidence. (relaxing music) Moving on from that commitment
that you need as well, there’s also trying to stay relaxed, and that can be easier said than done. This is a really scary section. It’s completely blind, it’s wet, it’s muddy, and of course
it’s completely vertical. So you’ve got to keep yourself
breathing, staying relaxed. Soon as you start panicking,
it’s really common to see people hold their breath, and the first thing that’ll happen is you’ll go really stiff on your bike, and that can really lead to problems. You need to be nice and
relaxed, moving around, get to the back of your bike,
and when you come off this, obviously then need to move back forward to the middle of the bike. And actually, you’ve got to keep following the same old rules of riding. So you need to be looking
where you’re going. It’s really easy to start
concentrating on this, and actually falling off on this section probably isn’t as
consequential as actually getting through this
section and then crashing, because down there you’ve
got a really steep bank and all sorts of horrible
things to fall onto. Stay relaxed, keep your head up. You need to ride the trail, not just ride this scary obstacle. This section is steep, it’s rough, it’s rooty, there’s rocks everywhere. Something like this, what I want to do is get off again and look at it, and actually try and
visualise what I’m gonna do. So my line, and that really
is gonna be important here because if I go too far that way, I’m trying to turn across roots. So I’ve decided I’m gonna
come to this bit of dirt here, and also think I’m gonna have to unweight over that horrible root, then
I’ve got a wheel sized hole and a rock, so it’s really
a case of visualising exactly what I’m gonna try
and do, and then doing it. So line choice, down
there, big of an unweight, bit of a hope, and then
get back behind the bike. And if you can’t visualise
yourself doing it, you probably can’t do it. (relaxing music) Don’t forget that you
don’t always have to do it. There might be an easier route. Yeah, just don’t really
feel up to it today. Going this way. (relaxing music) The terrain here in Squamish
is pretty amazing really. I’ve never ridden anything like it. But it’s really important
to get your braking done in the right spots
here, because you’re so far over the back of the bike
on sections like this, super steep, you are really relying on that rear tyre to do
a lot of the stopping. So a good rear tire’s gonna help, but really modulate that rear tyre, and be careful with the front. Obviously, any sort of
slide on the front tyre can get you into trouble
pretty quickly here. So I’m definitely easing off
the front more than the rear, relying on that rear tyre as the anchor. But definitely bike setup
is gonna be important here as well, so think
about decent tyre pressures, maybe lowering them slightly
for these rock sections so you can get a good
amount of rubber on there. Also, making sure you’ve
got a dropper post, or getting your seat out of
the way as much as you can to get far back on the bike. Also, in this section you’re
dealing with different types of surface, the trail, so the
rock is super grippy granite. So I’m doing lots of hard braking there, but this dirt is pretty
wet, and it’s on top of rock as well, so that’s super slippy. So easing off the brakes, getting back on when I get onto that rock slab again. (relaxing music) Riding that steep, scary stuff, definitely take your time with it. Try and progress in slow, easy steps, rather than big ones and then crashing, and going back a whole load. So take your time, build the confidence. If you wanna see another video to get some more descending tips, click that link over there,
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25 comments on “Riding Steep & Scary Sections On A Mountain Bike | MTB Skills

  1. I might have needed that video before getting ejected after a steep rock roll and obliterating my wrist. I’m still alive and will ride next year. It’s ok to not do it if you’re not 100% sure you’ll clear it. Stay safe!

  2. I wouldn’t follow Neil’s advice on steep long slabs. Relying on rear wheel gets you in trouble. Your rear wheel will lock and skid trying to get the speed under control. Weigh your front wheel and don’t be afraid to use your front brake.

  3. Can you do a video on how to properly ride rough trails on a hard tail. Like using your legs as back suspension because I'm not sure if I am doing enough to not damage my back Tyre.

  4. I learned as a kid to do this with stairs at first. It build up confidence and now I just send it most of the time without thinking too much (unless there's a crazy drop)

  5. i used to take the weight back (bum back) advise, and misunderstand it , and i crash because my front became too light.

    but when Lee McCormack talked about the row/anti row concept, i learn to actually go into a low attack position and push the bars into the drop….. wow that changed the game for me

  6. I find a bit of adrenaline helps, ie take one look, pick your line, even mark the entry, take the bike back at least 20 meters so you have settled on the bike and the saddle is down, heels are down, finger covering brake and then just squat as Neil said. Roll downs are as easy as it gets once you convince your brain haha

  7. I had a big accident last weekend and the answer to avoid it was in this video … Try to progress slow, ut takes time!! Can't wait to start again, regards from Colombia, great channel

  8. Getting off the bike and looking or even walking the trail and visualizing not only how to tackle the obstacles but also visualizing the speed required is the key. Understanding that all advanced riding is simply scaling up basic techniques and skills.

  9. Getting off the bike and looking or even walking the trail and visualizing not only how to tackle the obstacles but also visualizing the speed required is the key. Understanding that all advanced riding is simply scaling up basic techniques and skills.

  10. Slow it completely down as well. I did a steep drop n I virtually came to a stand still whilst on the bike less movement more control.-confidence-control-commitment all the way!

  11. I never regret not trying something.

    I’d much rather have 10 days of fun riding than 1 day of scary riding and a huge fall that leaves me broken for 6 months and off a bike.

    (Based on a true story)

  12. I'm a beginner mountain biker and don't have that much experience with steeps so before I ride on any trails, I tried going down stairs. I could do the small staircases, about five to six steps but there was a larger one that I just couldn't get the guts to do. I am fourteen and I'm going on a trail tomorrow and I don't know if there would be any stuff like that. Is there a special way to overcome this fear of steep drops? Like I was sure I could do it I just couldn't bring myself to it.

  13. Riding/practising every stairway you can find in your life is also good practice. Learn to roll them slow and also practice dismounting midroll.

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