Why is riding fast so much better than riding slow?

Yesterday I did two rides, both on the same trail but each with its own group and pace. The difference in experience was striking.

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What are you afraid of?

Mountain biking give us plenty of opportunities to face fears. Perhaps the most stark form of mountain biking is dirt jumping. The jump face looms ahead, all tall and steep and imposing. You’re either going for it or you’re not.

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Brake Less and Let the Bike Roll 

Lately I’ve been SO STOKED on riding! I’m riding almost every day and getting really fit. As stoked as I am, I must admit I’ve descending slowly and carefully relative to my potential.

Why am I riding below my potential?

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Public MTB skills classes at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO

Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO is a world class facility with a huge range of trails, tracks and terrain. It’s the perfect place for a skills class.

20% of your class fees go straight to supporting the park.

We offer classes for all levels:

Level 1 MTB skills at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO

Level 2 MTB skills at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO

Women-only Level 1 MTB skills at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO

Women-only Level 2 MTB skills at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO

MTB skills series in Boulder, CO (4 classes -all levels)

2-day advanced trail riding skills in Boulder, CO (intermediate+)

Private classes with Lee McCormack (at Valmont and elsewhere)

Questions? Please email lee@leelikesbikes.com.

Is this too much clay for a pump track?

Hi Lee,

I purchased your excellent book Welcome to Pump Track Nation v2 (hardcover) because my son and I are building a pump track in our backyard. I was wondering if I could ask you a question. I’ve gotten a dirt sample from a friend who’s got an excavator and can deliver it to me. I did your ball jar dirt test, and while I clearly see the clay (62.5%) it’s above another layer (37.5%), which is undifferentiated. I can’t figure out, by looking at your photo in the book, whether that bottom layer sand or silt. Or could it be both? If you could check out this photo and let me know what you think, I would be super grateful! (I wish I lived in Boulder so I could take one of your lessons – I may head out that way next summer anyways, so I might be able to squeeze one in). Also, I live in VT, is 62.5% clay too much for an environment where it can rain a fair amount?

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Should I ride a small or medium Specialized Epic?

Hi Lee,

The information in these books (Dialed and F6) is great. I do have one question. I am planning on upgrading from a 2008 Med S-works Epic to a 2021 Epic Pro. The geometry has changed drastically especially with the release of the 2021 bike. Based on your charts in the Dialed In book, you recommend a reach of 410mm for my height (5’ 8”). Based on the radically different geometry this puts me on a small frame. As you are very familiar with Specialized can you give me any insight into going longer with the new geo on the med frame (possibly shorter stem depending on SHO) vs. holding back and riding a small frame? I live in the SE USA and the most technical riding is done during my Xterra races at Oak Mountain (way less technical than out west).

Thank you,
Trey

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Solution to terrible hand and wrist pain?

Hi Lee,

Hope this email finds you well my friend. You might remember our convo, but I’m writing you b/c I’ve been experiencing terrible hand and wrist pain on my rides and wondering if you could provide some help as the discomfort is so bad, it’s really bumming me out.

Some background info (again):

  • I’m 173 cm tall / 215 lbs
  • All my riding is New England roots and rocks
  • Riding a medium Ibis Ripley V4
  • Handlebars – One up – cut down to 760mm
  • Stem – been constantly going back and forth between 40 & 50mm. I know you said 30 is better (and I know it improves my RAD) – but I found the 30 made my steering just too twitchy
  • Grips – I played with ESI, all the Ergons and currency running the PNW Loams
As mentioned I keep going back and forth on stem length. TBH – 50mm is most comfortable, but 40mm adds a bit of confidence in the steering when I’m hitting the blue/black tech trails (though I do feel a bit cramped in the cockpit).

We already chatted stem size, and I still can’t find the answer, but what I do notice is that my wrists are never straight when I grip. My hands are always bent inwards and not parallel with bar.

Maybe I need to try SQlab?

Any advice would be helpful and thanks again in advance.

-J

How to pump bumps for free speed

Mountain bike pumping

Most mountain bikers have heard of pump tracks. Many have ridden one at their local bike park. With the right skills, you can fly around these dirt rollercoasters with ease. But did you realize that those same skills are immensely valuable on nearly any trail?

Pumping the trail on your mountain bike makes riding so much more fun! More specifically:

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Riding the 2021 Specialized Epic EVO Pro

I spent yesterday on the brand new 2021 Specialized Epic EVO Pro.

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COVID rules

Hi All,

We are stoked to ride with you! In order to maintain COVID safety, we will be following these rules in our private and public classes:

  • Public classes and private groups will be limited to six students.
  • We will maintain six feet of distance between all people.
  • Instructors and students must wear masks. If you show up to class without a mask, you’ll be asked to leave, and there will not be a refund. You can, however, attend at a later date.
  • We will not touch each other or each other’s bikes.
  • We will not use the RipRow in public classes. We might use the RipRow in private classes.
  • We will take your temperature using a non-contact infrared thermometer. If you show a temperature above 99.0 degrees, sorry, you cannot join the class. You can attend when you are healthy.
  • If you have any COVID symptoms, or if you have been exposed to someone with COVID symptoms, please do not attend class. You can attend at another time.

Thank you for cooperating. See you in class!

– Lee and the LLB team

Pedaling ovals (about oval chainrings)

This piece originally appeared in the book Mastering Mountain Bike Skills v3, July 27 2017. 

People on the interweb have been asking me (Lee) what I think of the new oval chainrings.

Before I tried them, my response was “I don’t need no help. My pedal stroke is awesome. Those are for people who suck at pedaling.” 

Now that I’ve been riding a oval OneUp Traction Chainring, I’ll respond with more thought. 

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How fast do you need to go for a drop?

Here’s a great question from our remote coaching student Stefan in Switzerland.

One last question to the drops and speeds: Is this reasoning right: given all things equal with the drop except its height,  I could approach all drops smaller or higher with the same speed I‘ve been using now? With higher drops I‘ll land longer with smaller drops I‘ll land shorter? but other than that it‘s the same?

Stefan

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