I wrote up a list of tips for a group of women that I coached in Taiwan a couple of weeks ago but I think that it would be helpful for many so I am reposting it on here. Feel free to share it with whoever you think might benefit. As always, I am here as a resource so ask questions…if I don’t have an answer I can probably point you in the right direction! :)
A few of my favorite tips…
1. Remember your riding foundation…if you have a solid body position, you are balanced and you are braking with control, the sky is the limit. Level pedals, athletic position (soft knees, soft elbows, head up, elbows out) and one finger braking.
2. When things get steep, dropping your heels can help you to maintain proper body position.
3. Keep those wheels spinning. If your wheels are spinning, you have traction. The best riders have the ability to go the slowest in the most difficult of circumstances. Practice on slopes or embankments near your home…try and go as slow as you can possibly go without locking the brakes. Alternatively, set up a cone/stick/rock and go at it with speed…when you reach the cone, start to brake. How quickly can you come to a stop without skidding? Make a game out of it.
4. Remember to be selective with your braking. Pick spots that are generally flatter and less bumpy to get your speed under control. You can brake in technical terrain and corners but it is very light braking…maintenance braking…you are braking very lightly to maintain your speed not making sudden changes in speed.
5. Rotate your hands outward on your handlebars…you can feel the small changes in your brakes much better when you are touching them at the correct contact point which is really, really important to braking properly. If your hands are sitting on your bars properly, it can also improve your body positioning.
6. Your bike will move up/down, side/side, forward/back as it rides over different terrain using your full range of motion. Your job as the driver is to keep yourself balanced and your center of mass balanced and centered over the bike. You want to keep equal weight/pressure between the front and back of your bike. If you are nervous and you shift your weight back because it feels more comfortable in a scary situation you can potentially loose traction on your front end which means you cannot steer and brake properly. Stay centered and balanced.
7. Look ahead…constantly scan between the furthest point you can see and what you are about to ride.
8. Look where you want to go, not where you don’t want to go.
9. Check your bolts before you ride…they come loose.
10. Ask questions…I am here as a resource!