Forum home Road cycling forum Road beginners

Problem Decending

GazzaputtGazzaputt Posts: 3,227
edited September 2007 in Road beginners
Started back on a road bike after about 3 years away. I regulary ride a MTB.

I have a big mind over matter problem with decending. I seem to have a panic attack and I wobble all over the place. My arms tense so much my elbows hurt!! I grab a handfull of front brake to quickly scrub speed off. This happens at about 20-25mph.

As soon as this happens I tell my self all is ok and I carry on but the panic does scare me as I really think I'll throw my self off.

I have been building up and have done a couple of desecnts at about 30mph but every now and then I panic. I don't knowif this is to do with ride position and not feeling stable enough. I can get upto 25-30 on the flat with no problems.

Anyone else suffered with this?

I did have an off at about 30mph when I last had a road bike which may contribute to this but on my mtb I'm fine.

Help!!!!

Posts

  • bobtraversbobtravers Posts: 115
    Try putting more weight at the rear of saddle and put our two hands near brakes levers... That way you'll have a lot of control and pressure on your rear wheel. Try practising on a linear steep hill than with some little curves...

    I managed to do a 50 mph (80 km/h) run this year having a brand new bike and never had a road bike before...

    Keep practising... and don't look too much on your bike computer, eyes stay on the road!!
  • Eat My DustEat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    Don't look at the computer, this always freaks me out!! I think a lot of people suffer from this, I touch almost 40mph twice a day on my commute, but this is on hills that I know every section of the road. I feel very uncomfortable bombing down roads that I'm not sure about. The best tip would be try to relax!!
  • heavymentalheavymental Posts: 2,024
    You have to build confidence and tell yourself to relax. I had a problem with speed wobbles recently so had to build my confidence back up. First make sure your bike is all set up correctly so you can eliminate any technical issues from your mind, make sure your position is comfortable, you need to be in control so you don't feel like you're just hanging on to the bike as it plunges down the hill. Next gradually build up your speed and spend time descending, don't avoid your local hill, seek it out and do reps up and down it. If you find yourself starting to panic take deep breaths and repeat a calming phrase to yourself. Somebody on this forum recommended saying "and......relllaaaaaaaaaaaxxxxxxxx" which worked for me. It means some of the stress drains out of your body and you feel looser and calmer. Breathing is the barometer for stress so if you control that and take easy deep breaths you'll find your bodys stress levels will drop too.
    Make sure you're in a nice stable position, bum back, upper body nice and relaxed and legs in a comfortable position. Look nice and far ahead so you can approach obstacles and corners calmly without freaking yourself out.
    Once you have all that in place just hit the hills. I was still a bit worried about my descending before I went to the Alps last month. After the first few long and fast descents I'd recaptured my confidence and enjoyed hurtling down the big peaks. There was still a niggle in the back of my head but it gets smaller everytime I spend some time descending.
    Good luck. Descending is a big part of cycling so once you have it sorted you'll be alot happier.
  • ajohn9ajohn9 Posts: 260
    i did 47 down snake pass yesterday in fog, i absolutely loved it!!! haha
    i am a bit of a maniac though!
  • steve23steve23 Posts: 2,202
    some good advice hear!!!

    i suffer from this too, im not bothered doing 30+ on the flat or slow gradient, but real steep hills freak me out. im getting better though...........
    _______________________________________________________________________________________
    If You Can't Cut It With The Big Dogs, Then Don't Pi$$ Up The Tall Trees!
  • I would suggest you use a bike with disc brakes as opposed to conventional caliper or cantilever brakes. If you feel you're going too fast just pull gently on the levers and you'll slow down very quickly. As you build confidence you'll eventually be able to go downhill without any problems.
  • PostieJohnPostieJohn Posts: 1,105
    Know your decent, I enjoy decending and although a little cautious on new routes, that are a little windy, I'm still happy on them.

    But my regular route has a great decent on it which I ride weekly.
    I now know the road so well, where all the bumps & dips are in the road, etc. I now easily ride it at 40+ mph just by sitting there and letting the bike get on with it.
  • Mog UkMog Uk Posts: 964
    ajohn9 wrote:
    i did 47 down snake pass yesterday in fog, i absolutely loved it!!! haha
    i am a bit of a maniac though!

    Good effort, I managed 52 down the Cat & Fiddle earlier this year, that felt quick... oh and that was on my MTB..

    It's all about confidence and having trust in your bike/tyres........
  • overmarsovermars Posts: 430
    Gazzaputt wrote:
    I have a big mind over matter problem with decending. I seem to have a panic attack and I wobble all over the place. My arms tense so much my elbows hurt!! I grab a handfull of front brake to quickly scrub speed off. This happens at about 20-25mph.

    I know exactly what you're talking about. It used to scare the bejesus out of me too. I'd limit myself to 33mph. Anything more than that and I'd have this vision of me losing control and crashing!!!

    As others were whizzing by I wondered shat I was doing wrong!

    Things changed when I got a new bike. Now I'm still not the best descender, but going downhill at 45mph doesn't bother me.

    I think it's because I moved to a more hillier part of London (near Crystal Palace) and gained a little more experience. Or maybe it was just pyschological and getting a new bike was the cure?

    Fear is a difficult thing to let go! You'll beat it! :D
  • TomFTomF Posts: 494
    "I regulary ride a MTB."

    You know, i have the opposite problem: I'm slow like you wouldn't believe on an MTB; go like the clappers (downhill, of course - it's the gravity, y'know) on a road bike.

    On the MTB, I put it down to feeling like my centre of gravity is too high and i have a fear of the front wheel washing out.

    On the road bike, I just let the bike flow, and try to avoid braking where I can! (Fastest recorded was 97.3kmh (c60mph) coming off the Col de Menté on this year's Étape....)

    Weird, huh?

    Tom
  • Andymcj1 wrote:
    I would suggest you use a bike with disc brakes as opposed to conventional caliper
    Sorry, I can't agree - I fear disc brakes would slow you down TOO quickly on a fast descent.
  • Rich HcpRich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    If you're on the drops, just cover the brake levers.

    Feels more secure.

    You don't want to try a 'Big Stop' from high speed because the bike stops quicker than you!

    Practise and build confidence
    Richard

    Giving it Large
  • I am the same going downhill, on a straight bit of road and I can see where the road goes after the end of the descent I am quite happy to carry on up until I feel the world is flying by too fast, usually just over 30mph, yet on another hill we have around mine, now I reckon I could get to about 40mph maybe more on this descent, but I never get to about 25mph because it's soo long. I have started going down it using the brakes later, but occasionally I just get on the brakes as soon as I start descending because I get scared. I went out with the boyf once he shouted at me to get off the brakes and I did, I have taken to trying to use this approach with myself!!!!
  • Tony666Tony666 Posts: 274
    Going downhill as fast as possible as one the great buzzes I get from cycling. I guess it’s just a matter of confidence; either that or suicidal tendencies! I can’t really say it’s an adrenaline thing as I hate roller coasters and the only thing I will ever use a bungy rope for is to strap something to my commuting bike rack.

    There have been times though when I have thought, “if I hit a pothole now I’m off and probably going to badly injured or worse”. But then I forget that thought and enjoy the fun of the speed!
  • TomFTomF Posts: 494
    There have been times though when I have thought, “if I hit a pothole now I’m off and probably going to badly injured or worse”.

    Chap I work with hit a sheep when descending quickly in the Dales. He was found in the gutter, unconcious, by a passing motorist.

    Hasn't slowed me down, though![/quote]
  • Tony666Tony666 Posts: 274
    Hope he has recovered ok. Guess he could try giving it a lift next time like this guy :D

    sheeplq5.jpg
Sign In or Register to comment.