Cornering drills for the twisty-turnies


On my p57 of my copy of MMBS is a pair of illustrations: “loading a turn” and “light between turns.” What do you recommend for drills for this? I am slow when the trail gets twisty-turny, so the statement: “technical single track will never be the same” really gets my attention.

I already rock this: and I struggle with, in which you appear to be a self licking ice cream cone.

Also, do I rock these drills with the big bike? the all mountain bike? the DJ bike? the BMX bike? or the road bike (it’s all about performance!)?


Hey Jim,

“Self licking ice cream cone.” Quote of the day!

Ah, that section in MMBS … looking at that now, I see how young and foolish I was. The stuff you’re referring to is helpful, but I know WAY more now. MMBSii refines all the cornering kung fu and dives into a whole new world of pump. But that won’t be out until next year.

In the mean time, this progression will give you more control and connection on tight/twisty/titillating trails:

1. Figure eight drills on pavement. This teaches core cornering skills.

2. Pumping on a pump track, BMX track or single track. This teaches the range and power to connect with bumpy terrain. Remember: The trail is a sine wave of love. So are you.

3. Pumping turns, slalom style, on pavement. This combines lessons 1 and 2. You have to get good at 2 before you rock 3. Ask the self-licking ice cream cone what happened when he skipped a step.

4. Pumping a figure eight. This integrates cornering and pumping in an awesomely dynamic and subtle way. Right now I’ll say this is the ultimate cornering drill. In a few years I’ll look back and see how young and foolish I was.

As you travel along this path, you’ll feel more controlled, more confident and more stoked on the twistiest trails.

Pumping a figure 8 on the 20. 4 MB Quicktime.

Bike choice
Since you seem to have the full quiver:

Start on the DJ bike. It’s nimble and tasty, so you’ll learn quickly, yet it’s a mountain bike, so it’ll feel normal.

As you get better at these drills, expand in two directions: 1) Apply the skills on the bigger bikes on real terrain. 2) Once you think you’re a badass, switch to the BMX. There’s a reason most BMXers think mountain bikers are lame.

About the road bike
Road bikes are tricky because their cockpits are so restrictive and the Dura Ace requires constant polishing.

That said, I do a lot of silly drills on my Tricross. I live on a steep road, and one of my favorite tricks (post hill intervals) is to try to ride down the road super slowly, making tight turns like a skier. My goal is to keep my speed really low and never touch the brakes, just swooping across the road like a pendulum with a gradually lengthening string. Mastering Road Bike Skills!

But: The frame must be carbon! Mine is.

Have fun. Become that ice cream cone.

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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