At my coaching office (Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO) I generally churn out laps on a carbon, suspended 29er: either a Specialized Camber or Enduro. Up the dirt road, down the slalom or slopestyle, repeat, then some pump track and dirt jump laps. It’s park riding for old guys—or is it XC training for someone who prefers sine waves?
I’ve been working hard on your different pumping techniques in Pro BMX Skills (really like the detail of the different techniques). I finally have a pump track near me and there’s been a massive improvement since I started riding it. The bit I’m struggling with is my entry to the 180 degree berm, at the end of the track. I’m always losing speed on it, when others are gaining speed. Should I be unweighting over the entry roller, then one slow pump down the backside of the roller and round the berm? Or should I pump the backside, unweight again, then pump the berm?
I gotta say, riding a pump track is proving very beneficial for my overall riding. I’m off to Fort William in the morning for the World Cup, so I imagine I’ll see some good pumping technique there.
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The next track: 2010 Sea Otter! That’s still one of my faves.
Ski skills expert Ron LeMaster and I have been exploring the commonalities of pumping on dirt and snow. He shot this video for use in his books and lectures.
I’m seeing some good moments and some lazy ones.
First of all, thank you for writing a great book. I’ve read Welcome to Pump track Nation several times and have been measuring out my pump track and started thinking about draining. In fact, I might have developed a problem. I’m beginning to wish it rained dirt, and every flat yard I see I ask, why no pump track?
My big question is, on the long return side (circled and labeled #1) up to my berms I will have to pump up hill (maybe a 10% grade, I haven’t measured it yet). What is the optimum pump size and spacing for going up hill? Should they be taller and closer, smaller and closer….
Another thing that you could perhaps comment on is making a “switch” spot to reverse direction. What would that look like at the location circled and labeled #2?
Thanks for you advise. I would like to build once and get it right.
Reading your book on MTB skills and have just taken the plunge and swapped out my Stumpy Elite 26 inched with a Stump Comp Evo 29er (arrives next week).
Thing is we have a nice pumptrack near us and i still want to ride it with my two boys.
It got me thinking that there’s going to be some differences now that i’m on a 140mm travel 29er! Any suggestions would be welcome – I’m guessing I can’t be the only person in this situation
Cuyuna, MN now has quite possibly the most extensive pump track(s) ever.
You must see!
Chris in Australia is doing the Pump Up the Base training program, and he’s working in some pump track action, but he wants to know how he can maintain pump for the long intervals.
When I moved to the East San Francisco Bay area in 1993, Gregory was the first person to befriend me and take me riding. Let’s see if I can return the favor.
These tips will apply for most pump track riders.
Hey Lee—just read the post Are you pumping too hard?. Great post. It brought up a question for me too.
I just got BMX Skills and read the pump chapter and it got me thinking about trying to hop frontsides altogether since I hadn’t really thought about doing that before. Instead I’ve been trying to absorb them in most/all situations and stay in as much control as possible, which is tough at high speeds.
So I’ve given it a little practice on a couple different pump tracks and haven’t been very successful. On both of these tracks the rollers are fairly close together and it feels like there’s not enough space/time to hop the frontside and like my fork is already compressing into the next roller when I’m trying to hop. Am I just not going fast enough? Is it something where pulling the bike towards me on frontsides will eventually turn into hopping them naturally? Or is this technique better suited for tracks that are a little more wideopen or on the trail when there’s space to set up? Or do I just need to practice more, haha.
One last question: is it always faster to hop the frontside if you can (excluding the suspension issue)?
Sorry for all the questions. Any more detail on this technique in general would be awesome!!
Ps. Got the MTB book for my cousin for Xmas. He has recently got into riding and I know this will get him Riding and hooked…now i’ll have a partner in crime on holidays