Overcoming fear of jumps

Hey, I was wondering how I could ever face my fear of jumps. When I was 12, I ate major sh*t and got the breath knocked out of me for what felt like an hour. Ever since then, I have always been hesitant do jumps/drops. I know I have the skill to jump, but I can’t overcome this fear inside me. How should I get back in the air?

Good basic jumping technique.

Hey Joseph,

That’s a common theme. So many highly skilled mountain bikers turn useless when they reach jumps. The funny thing is, jumping is technically much simpler than, say, riding a steep switchback with drops in it.

Keep in mind:

– Fear is a natural response to getting your breath knocked out for an hour. Actually, death would be the natural response.

– You cannot ignore that fear.

– If you man up and huck your carcass, chances are you’ll stiffen up, make a mistake and crash again. That will create even more fear.

– You cannot ignore negative thoughts, but you can replace them with positive ones. To do that, find a easy/safe jump and practice perfect technique.

– Roll in slowly. Push your bike into the lip. Bring your bike close to you in the air. Extend for landing. Keep your hands light and your entire body loose.

– You have to operate at a level where you feel no apprehension. Take it super easy. Focus on perfect technique, and pay attention to the way good jumping feels.

– This methodical approach is fun, and it gives you confidence to gradually step up the speed and size of your jumps.

Finding a jump
Beginner jumps are really hard to find. That’s because the people who dig dirt jumps are no longer beginners.

You need a mellow tabletop jump. If you can’t find one, make one.

Or: Have you seen those plastic skateboard ramps at sporting goods stores? They have perfect angles and radii for beginners. Set one a short distance from a downhill landing and rock it.

Take it one small step at a time. Have fun!

— Lee

Mastering Mountain Bike Skills 2nd Edition has tons of info about jumping.

Know more. Have more fun!

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