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Incorporating RipRow with spin bike and strength training

Lee

1st I’m 5ft 11 in and 260. I own a Riprow and a Nordic Track bike. I have the tools to succeed and I love to ride my bike. I’m stronger than last year. But my question is how can I utilize the Riprow better. Should I workout daily with it? Should I use it in conjunction with strength workouts? I would like to be the best rider possible by next season here in Bend, Oregon. I have goals and riding aspirations and want to be a success story.

Can you give any suggestions on how to improve physically on the bike and on the trail? My financial situation doesn’t allow me to have a lot of subscriptions. Riprow and spin bike were not cheap but that’s what I have.

Thank you in advance for your help.

John

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Help me get back into a manual

Hi Lee

I’m not getting over my “fear” to lean back properly for manuals.  Or rather, to shift my weight back.
I know about keeping arms straight, not pulling up so much, pre-loading and then pushing back, but i’m not committed enough.  Feels feeble as there’s so little risk of things going wrong.  (Using flats so that’s also limiting damage.)
I’m getting my wheelies done pretty well, although I think I can also move my centre of gravity back some more.
Is there some mental image i can use to get me to move back?
I’ve even tried moving back in an “L”: down first, then back.
I’m pretty short (5’7″) so arm reach apparently will make it a bit more difficult.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks
JL

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Speed + Gnar + New Group = Fried Brain

Hi Lee,

The other day I rode with a different group of riders on a trail I’ve never ridden. It was dry and loose, rutted, and littered with gnar. Which, of course, is Rad. Being the guy that was unfamiliar with the trail (and probably attempting to fight above my weight class) I was the slowest rider. I also crashed the most.  I definitely pushed my limit on a few sections and the lizard in my head was not happy. I felt myself riding off the back and could not always correct in time to save it. My brain was fried on those sections.

This was the first time I reverted back to lizard auto pilot in a very long time. I’ve been in the same situation before but without smoking my brain stem and eating dirt.  Now I’m questioning what the heck went wrong. Does this ever happen to high level riders? Not that I’m anywhere near high level status but it just made me curious whether or not this affects all riders or just average joes. Of course, any recommendations you have for preventing this from happening again are more than welcome.

Thanks,
Keoni

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To BMX or not to BMX?

Hi Lee,

My name is Gavin, I emailed you with some questions about mountain biking a few years ago and I have another question for you now. I have been much more serious about mountain biking the past few years, and I bought myself a 2016 cannondale habit just after I emailed you last. I have been looking at maybe buying a dirt jumper for a while now but half a year ago I moved to Washington, Connecticut. The area I am in has 3 bmx tracks within an hour so I am trying to figure out if I should get a dirt jump bike or a bmx bike. Having a dirt jumper where I live would be fun because I live on a boarding school campus, but with the bmx tracks near me and the lower price of a bmx bike, I am quite torn. I would really appreciate it if you could help me out with this.

Thanks,
Gavin

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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 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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Is a high center of gravity a problem for taller riders?

lee

center of gravity acts as a lever
( between tyre-contact and cg )
distance x 2 – 1/2 force needed
( or torque  x 2 )
for a taller rider
real-!-emergency braking is more a problem
by definition

a taller rider can move more ?
yes – but
distance is longer = more time needed   !
and the saddle must be down … always
( and no luggage above the rear wheel )

do you agree ?

thanks

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Riding with dislocatable shoulders

Hi Lee, 

I recently dislocated my left shoulder for the 4th time (at age 30) mountain biking and am going through the process of looking into surgery or rehabilitation. 

I can across your blog post discussing handlebar width and could immediately sympathize with the issues you spoke about.

I was wondering if there was a follow up post relating to this research as I couldn’t track it down? I’m riding 800mm bars on both my bikes even though I’m only 5 foot 8.

Any advice would be much appreciated. I’m happy for you to post this on your blog and reply I just didn’t want to ask something which may have already been written about.

Cheers and keep up the good work, 

Andy

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Pump track: sandy dirt for a wet climate

Hi Lee,

I’m building a pump track in the PNW where the soil is essentially always wet. What do you think an ideal soil mix would be? Would 60% sand / 40% clay be a good balance? Could I go with even more sand?

Thanks!

Alex

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Handlebar sweep and roll

Hi Lee,

I was wondering if you can comment on how handlebar roll affects hand and wrist position while riding. I had a coaching session with a local guy here and he rolled my bar upwards so that I effectively had more stack height. It immediately felt more comfortable, it seemed like the way the bar sweep worked with that angle put my wrists in a more comfortable position. I did not think about it too much until I stripped down my bike and forgot to mark the handle bar to put it back. Obviously the way you roll the bar will also change the reach and stack but do you have any rules of thumb for getting forearms and wrists are in a strong comfortable position. Or am I barking up the wrong tree here?

Jarred

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