Riding steep drop-ins safely
I realize how busy you are, but if you have a chance to check this out I’d love your feedback. There’s a new roller here at Santos in FL that I tried today. It felt great, was just dropping in slowly to test it out. On the drops I “felt” like my weight was in the right place. I tried to be heavy on the pedals and I could swear my hands were light on the grips.
Yet the picture and video suggest otherwise. If I draw a line up through my bottom bracket, almost all of my body looks to be forward of it. Yikes! So while this “felt” good it looks like it would have not been so good had the drop been longer. So on a steep drop like this what am I supposed to be feeling? Should I be getting back further than I think?
Thanks for sending this note. We are about to save your life and the lives of other shredders.
First the video:
At 0:04 you are very close to flying over the handlebars. You’re not so bad at 0:07, but you are not safe.
Notice how your body is being pulled forward? That is an E ticket to a scary place.
What is causing this?
• You are too high on the bike.
• Your arms are way too stiff.
• This is allowing the bike to pull you forward and down into the drop. Not good. Not safe.
What is the solution?
• Get lower! I’ve worked with a whole lot of riders, and I know most people have a hard time getting low while retaining balance and fluidity. That’s why the F6 training program was created. Rock the F6 in your office or living room. It’ll give you the mobility to ride better and safer.
• Actively push the bike down into the transition.
• Stay balanced on your feet. This takes more lowness and more push than you expect.
• If you feel that “whoa!” sensation, that’s your head being pulled toward the ground. Not good. You should be able to do this with neutral hands. Once you get comfortable, try Tea Party fingers.
Practice this on a little curb, then a big curb, then progressively bigger/steeper roll-ins and ultimately drops. One step at a time: Don’t move up until you’re confident and consistent.
The techniques for a curb, roll-in and drop are almost identical:
Pushing down a loading dock. See how low I get? See how much I PUSH? See how still my body stays?
See how the fork is flexing back? That’s how hard I’m pushing. Don’t wait to things to happen. Make things happen!
Chasing Red Bull Crashed Ice racer and skills client Reed Whiting down a slalom course. Low, balanced and pushing the bike into the drop — like always.
Pro XC racer Erin Huck with perfect form during a skills clinic with me at Valmont Bike Park. If you had a pony tail, it would be flying in the air. See how hers is resting on her back? That’s a sure sign of smoothness.
I hope this is helpful.
Have fun! I’ll be in Florida in early May. I’d love to run some clinics while I’m there.
Know more. Have more fun!
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Greg, thanks for posting. I now will have to drive up to Santos and check out the new features.
Hey Lee…what do you need (money duh..)to do a clinic in FL in May? It would be great to have you down here in the Tampa area doing some clinics.
Drop me an email if interested.
EJ! I will write you in a moment.
Hi Lee, if you come down to Florida and are willing to do a clinic, please let me know as well. I’m a big fan, you’d mtb skills book has helped me a great deal, but I would love to learn more.
We have surprisingly good trails in south Florida as well (Markham Park, Amelia Earhart etc.), in addition to Santos (Ocala) and Alafia (Tampa).
Do you have a video clip of you going off the loading dock? I want to gauge the speed so that I do not go over the handlebars when I try it.
JoeG, I do not have a video of that dock.
If your body position is dialed, speed doesn’t matter. I’ve ridden that dock at full sprint and at walking pace.
Thanks for the offer. I’ll be in Florida in May, but I’m teaching in GA and VA the weekends before and after, so this will be beach time with my family.
Come out to CO this summer. It’s awesome!
That is such a tough topic to explain to people. good explanation… those rollers are closer to a vert drop in than a rock ledge, IMO… definitely stay balanced and push… not sure whats worse on those looping out or going over.. they both can hurt but I suppose looping doesn’t result in potential broken collar bones
Going over the bars is the #1 cause of crashes that result in hospitalization.
Thanks Lee, enjoy your trip!
That was a great tip! I’ve tried it on the trails and some urban features and it hugely improves control when dropping.
Such a simple technique, yet so effective!