dowhiller for a day
Last 3 weeks. 2 mountain bike rides. Skills suffering? I don't think so. We hit Brush mountain for an up down up down ride and I was just killing it on the downhills today. I've almost never ridden down Old Farm like I did today. That is a tough trail, up or down. I know lots of people that don't like it but I love it, even more so than typical dream downhills like at Douthat. You just can't let it go on this trail. There is always some feature coming up like a rough corner, or rooted out section. Today I was a downhiller for real, totally railing in corners and then sprinting out. Typically, it's just fine to coast down it as it's fast enough but not today.
Never lose an opportunity to learn from a mistake or overthink why something went right. I'm trying to pin point what it is that made today feel so wicked.
Something was dialed, and it wasn't my brakes that's for sure. I think my seals are shot on them from the bike shop putting in synthetic style dot 5 cause even after constant rebleeds they are not working well. Today instead of the usual going to the bar after a long downhill then were actually experiencing a lot less travel....
Anyways for me there seems to be 4-5 key things that really make a big difference
1) Vision. Looking out and turning the head around corners. Today? It was ok, I wouldn't say great. I haven't been doing my figure 8 drills which really help my vision.
2) Braking. Braking before the corner and rolling through. Today? Decent. I made a good effort of braking more than usual and trying to roll through the turn as opposed to going in too hot and dragging the brakes through the turn
3)hip twist. Gene showed me how to twist the hips when cornering which I've found to be one of the single biggest metrics for cornering for me. It just seems to lock in my rear wheel and solidfy my entire position. I went snowboarding a bit ago and realized that the hip twist also cross over and helped me a lot in turning. So reinforcing that motion on the board helped to cross over to the bike. The figure 8 drill is also good for ingraining this motion. Today? Very good. One time I twisted so much I unclipped from a pedal.
4) elbows out Gene was always says 'get moto' get your elbows out. Way out. Exxagerate it even in your mind because in real life it always can be better. When I exagerate it I get them in a 90degree angle like Shaums March made his own 'trainer' to help force you into the right position. (note the date on the post) Regardless of a joke or not that is the position.
Today? Very good
1) been on it with the lifting. Chest, back. but..also new this year is external rotator muscles.
When I've tried in the past to work on elbow position, I always get tweaks in my upper back/back of the shoulder. In fact I feel it now in the back of my shoulders. This year I've been working for the past few months on external rotator exercises. This is a very very weak muscle for me, and isolating it requires use of super small weights, like 5-8 lb dumbells or 10-20 on the cable machine when I first started. I'm up higher now. But still doing any of the exercises is humbling. I've been doing cuban presses:
These are super hard.
I get knots so bad that when I work them with my fingers I can literally hear it. I thought it was just something made up, but my son actually heard it too.
But external rotator excercises helped me keep elbows out and combined with my other upper body work and stiff legged dead lifts I just felt solid.