Where will I land?
My son and I are spending the weekend at Ray’s MTB in Cleveland. We like to ride the small jump line – it’s a series of tables.
Sometimes, I land perfectly – heavy feet, light hands – and it feels great. I pump the landing and launch the next one. But sometimes I overshoot and land flat between two jumps (ouch). And sometimes I land short (oomph).
In MMBS you talk about placing the wheels with precision when touching down. But how do I do that? Should I look down at the landing? I’ve always made it a point to look far ahead, not at the landing or at the next jump.
Does this answer apply to every time we are in the air? When I do drops, for instance, I don’t look down at the landing. And, since I haven’t solved the tabletop question, I leave the doubles alone.
Sincerely yours in ripping,
Nice question. This skill took a while for me to figure out. Too bad I didn’t dial it in before I wrecked my shoulders.
Where to look
• As you approach the jump, scan the takeoff
• As you go up the takeoff, scan for your landing
• As soon as you can, scan for whatever’s next
Do your best to maintain a soft gaze (learn about that in yoga) and keep your eyes moving. If you stare at anything, bad things will happen.
PRO VISION: Kris Fox at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. From Pro BMX Skills, which has crazy detail about pumping and jumping.
How to pick your landing spot
As you gain kung fu, you’ll learn to adjust speed and pop to get perfect landings. These are complex calculations, and they happen on the fly.
Until then (and after then), I suggest:
• Keep your eyes moving as mentioned above.
• Extend tall as you load the lip.
• As you leave the lip, bring your feet up and get very low on the bike.
• At apogee, try to pass through a perfect low attack position. Get as low on the bike as you can (especially until you gain Pro confidence and control).
• This gives you the range of motion to decide when you’ll touch down. If you’re flying long, extend your landing gear to catch the landing. If you’re coming up a bit short, stay tucked and you just might make it.
Kris Fox with a very relaxed, fluid style at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. From Pro BMX Skills, which has crazy detail about pumping and jumping.
When you fly with straight arms and lets, you are a projectile. Not only is that not sylish, it’s really tricky to get the perfect speed and pop. The lower you get on your bike in the air, the more control you have over when and where your tires regain contact with the ground.
I use this approach any time I leave the ground.
Know more. Have more fun!
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Thanks Lee. That made a huge difference for my son and me.
Since I can only think about one thing at a time, this weekend, I focused on working the “attack position at apogee” cue while being aware of the vision cues. That was a big change for me. Suddenly, I felt like Aaron Gwin (instead of a projectile) and my placement got much more consistent, almost automatically.
I’ve been re-reading Pro BMX Skills since I got home. You’re right, it is great on this topic.
“At apogee, try to pass through a perfect low attack position.”
Lightbulb moment! Have been miming this push-suck-extend-absorb progression when wandering about today… Will give it a whirl on something small tomorrow!
Awesome. Tell us how it goes!
Oh man, thanks for this explanation, Lee!
I used it at Ray’s on Tuesday. I could not believe the speed I was getting in the micro-rhythm section and the ease I could clear the larger table tops even when I was going slow.
Before I was trying to go UP, now it’s all all about projecting FORWARD.
Lee, I use this every time I ride now. It’s made a huge difference in my stability and comfort in the air. Thanks.
That is awesome to hear. It’s helped a lot too.