Growing some for a drop

Hey Lee,

One section that I’ve been rolling has eroded a bit and I need to get up to task (read: grow some) and drop this sucker! Chunky approach to a 4 foot ledge with a rutted downhill landing and runout… I ride a Santa Cruz Nomad with a coil fork and I’ll be sporting my body armor for sure.

Here’s a photo of the drop. Any tips for me?


Relax, stay centered and follow the red arrow.

Hey Tony,

I can see how that ledge can be scary, but it’s not that big of a deal, really.

On your bike (which is super capable), aim for that grayish slanted rock.

• If you’re going fast, stay centered and match your bike’s angle to the angle of the landing. Looking at this, I think a fast jog would be fast enough.

• If you’re going slow, you’ll have to manual or pedal-wheelie off the edge to keep the front end up, then match the landing angle.

Either way, drop your heels and drive into the middle of the bike. The faster you go (within reason), the easier this will be.

Tell me how it goes!


(NOTE: I have coached Tony in person and he’s studied the book, so I know he understands body position and the other prerequisite skills.)


Got’r done today!

You were absolutely right…with a little bit of speed, you pretty much float off that ledge and barely feel the landing. I sessioned it today, hitting it four times. Made 3, overshooting it on one and still landing upright. The one time I didn’t make it was a sketched approach that I aborted safely before the lip. No harm, no foul.

I realize now, after many sleepless nights and “oh crap” moments that it comes down to relaxed body position on the approach, a little speed for the take off and solid body position on the landing.

Line selection is important, but not nearly as important as if you were trying to roll it slow.

As for speed, just easing off the brakes coming out of the gnar is enough to carry you, your bike, and all your fears right over the edge to a surprisingly soft landing.

On all of my landings, I’m pretty sure I landed front first as the fork o-ring was showing full travel used (I could go one more click in on my compression to firm that up). The rear shock o-ring was showing about 95% travel used. Does this sound about right?

Thanks for the on-line coaching!


Right on Tony!

Nice work. It’s awesome how easy these things can be (if you have the prerequisite skills).

Theoretically, you should use full travel on the biggest hit you’re likely to encounter. Your suspension setup sounds very good.

Before you add compression damping to your fork, session the drop some more. Make sure you’re matching the landing angle and rocking the heavy feet/light hands. If you’re bottoming violently, firm up the fork. Otherwise, leave it be.



Know more. Have more fun!

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8 replies
  1. Louis says:

    When something looks big, you should look at the line your bike will take, not your head. Kneel down and spot the line from somewhere around your axel. You’ll find its much less intimidating. keep that line in your minds eye and now go hit it. hope that makes sense.


  2. WAKi says:

    What’s the proper technique in wet on such things, especially with roots involved? Having in mind some certain “comfortable exit speed” I prefer to brake a lot before and then just roll freely on preceding chatter, eventually using only a bit of the rear brake. The last thing I want before a drop off is for the wheels to start dancing under braking on wet diagonal stuff under, right?

  3. tony says:

    that video link is wacked out…just search The Crack in youtube…you’ll find many viddys.


    the key to hitting this drop for me (whether rolling it or now dropping it) has been taking the straightest approach. the red line Lee traced (cutting across the face of the rock.) is a tricky one. I take the straight line (left line facing downhill) in the creekbed which allows me to just worry about one thing (staying straight) rather than turning and trying to straighten up for the take off.

    and as for braking technique, as always, grab a bunch when you have good surface, less when not so good surface. always easier said than done…


  4. Aussie Chris says:

    That trail has very little rest on it. It is sketchy to get to that point and the runout after that drop is horrible too. Congratulations, that is not easy.

  5. tony says:

    Aussie Chris,

    ya, we’ll push up and ride 2-3 times every sunday morning rain or shine.
    it’s like having a double shot of espresso



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