Absorb the face and save 6 minutes at Downieville

Our man Chris in Marin asked Is my stem stiff enough?, then he asked about accidently catching air at Downieville.

It’s amazing what a quick email — and a simple skill — can do for your riding.

Chris gets some at Skyline Park in Napa, CA. Check out his race report.

This is brilliant, thanks Lee.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat myself anyway: your clinic was a complete game changer for me. If you can make it back I can easily fill the clinics. Cross is coming, and most people have the first clue how to corner those bikes.

For me, flat pedals (seem) to rapidly accelerate the learning process. I instantly find out I have a problem and instantly find out when I’ve solved it. With clipless there’s a million shades of grey in between.

Here’s the latest that scared the bejesus out of me at Downieville: air time at 35 mph. You’ve ridden the Divides, right? Steep, fast and smooth with the occasional feature to send you skyward. I don’t want to launch it because the trail beyond is steep and narrow with consequences, but there’s a limit to how much I can absorb with a nice soft attack position. On one occasion I lost both feet from the flats and got away with it, frightening.

Obviously you’re too busy to give a detailed response, but perhaps there’s a page in the book I should be paying more attention to?

Many thanks.



If you’re going really fast, and you hit a big bump, it’s not enough to be soft. You have to actively absorb the face, which means push down hard before the bump, then lift hard as you go over the bump. You’re basically trying to bunny hop over the front of the bump. At full speed the push might be 30 feet or more before the bump. You have to be very pro-active.



Wow, what a difference an email makes. At Downieville this weekend, I went six minutes faster than last weekend, and faster still than my 2010 race time.

Now I’m floating over all sorts of terrain I was previously braking for. My friends keep asking me to send the link for your book, I think that’s a good sign.

Thanks mate!


Right on! It’s awesome to see what an already fit/skilled/dedicated rider can do with improved kung fu.

Rip it!


Know more. Have more fun!

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