Think fast. Now think faster.
Hello Lee. I learned something. It is good to realize that almost every berm has a pressure point where one executes hip hinge for grip and release of The Force. But there is a deeper level… if one goes fast enough, the application hip hinge takes so much time that the bike can ride at least 3ft from neuromuscular impulse to tyres reaching max pressure. Therefore one who is aware of that pressure point should aim slightly further and at the same time push earlier… does that make me an adept of higher order or an overthinking idiot?
Either way, that realization made me awesome riding the weekend…
It’s always good to hear from you, and it’s fun to watch you progress from a great rider to whatever is above great.
Tell your friends: You are an adept of higher order. I said so.
From my perspective, here’s what’s going on when we ride:
Average reaction time to visual stimuli is about 1/4 second
You can test your reaction time with this online test.
Between the moment you see a red box turn green and you press your mouse button, or you see a BMX start light turn red and start pedaling, or reach the sweet part of a berm and start pumping, that moment — that lag — is about 1/4 second.
There are lots of variables and variations, but 1/4 second is a fine number to work with.
You travel pretty far in 1/4 second
At 10 miles per hour, you travel 3.75 feet.
At 15 miles per hour, you travel 5.5 feet.
At 20 miles per hour, you travel 7.25 feet.
At 30 miles per hour, you travel 11 feet.
That’s a lot of feet! And that’s one reason most riders get late in their timing.
You reach a rock, you decide to hop it, you clip the face of the rock on the way upward. Or you dive into a turn, tell yourself to turn but suddenly you’re braking in the belly of the turn. Great technique helps, but it takes time for commands to travel from your idea to your shred.
You have to issue the command at least 1/4 second before you need it
Yes! When you’re Flowing with a capital F, you feel this happening. You’re scanning ahead. You’re anticipating moves. Your body is executing them perfectly. It feels like you’re operating in the next moment … because you are.
The faster you’re riding, the more distance you cover during your 1/4-second lag, and the more your energy wave must precede the terrain wave.
For example, at low speed you can roll over a rock. At medium speed, you can pump the rock. At high speed, you have to hop over the rock. The actual hop might get launched 20 feet before the rock … and the brain signal might get issued 10 feet before that!
This command was issued waaay before the front tire reached the rock.
The more suspension you have, the longer it takes for your impulse to reach the ground. That’s another reason to think ahead.
At the highest levels, all riding happens in a constant Row/Anti-Row cycle
Hopping onto a rock is a row. Arcing across the rock is an anti-row. Returning to flat ground is another row. Each row empowers the next anti-row, which empowers then next row, and so on.
Once you dial in this RipRow™ approach to riding, each command automatically includes the next command. When you issue the row command, your body automatically anti-rows … and it automatically rows again. Riding gets profoundly smooth, easy and fast.
This video shows a round row/anti-row pattern:
When I work with advanced riders, once we have the core movements dialed in, we focus on making everything happen sooner. Then even sooner.
Does this make sense?
Know more. Have more fun!
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Thanks for that Lee, wow! Awesome post! If I was to nerd the hell out of this… each sort of movement takes different time to complete. For instance stomping on the bike to pop from a root just to get light takes less time than executing a full on bunnyhop over a 2ft rock. A hardtail will deliver feedback into the ground quicker than a DH bike.
Then linking two or more features together… like shaping an S-line along two berms one after another. SLOW – two smooth movements. F.A.S.T – while initial movement for the first berm is identical (despite initiation time being different – earlier for fast), the moment the push into the first berm is done, the body must be turned towards the other corner, as it would happen if it was the only corner because the moment the bike and body arrive at the pressure poin… stripe! of the second corner it must be in the right position. The time span between pressure points of corners 1 and 2, is too short to execute two similar patterns of movement. Make it 4 berms one after another at speed and if you haven’t got the pumping flat ground dialled, speed dialled, you’re flying off the third or fourth one at best. When done right, it feels like picking up a complex tetris block, walking with it to the edge of a bridge and dropping it into an accordingly shaped hole in the roof of a train carriage passing under you.
Mnom mnom mnom, lovely stuff!
>> it feels like picking up a complex tetris block, walking with it to the edge of a bridge and dropping it into an accordingly shaped hole in the roof of a train carriage passing under you.