descents

wilkies80
wilkies80 Posts: 67
edited January 2008 in Road beginners
I was out on Sunday on a bit of a grueling club run(82 miles in total !), there were a few moderate climbs and I was dropped off the back, not a problem as the others took 5 at the top. My problem is on the descents. I just can't seem to allow myself to keep my speed going especially if there's a few hairpins thrown in for good measure . Should I just BANZAI !!! it (i.e head down @rse up ) or will it happen with more experience ? bearing in mind that the roads are greasy at the moment. Cheers.
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Comments

  • redvee
    redvee Posts: 11,922
    Whatever you do it'll be downhill from now on :roll:
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • meagain
    meagain Posts: 2,331
    IMO it really isn't worth going beyond that with which you feel comfortable - that way lies pain or worse. It will either come with time and experience or it won't. We're not all the same.
    d.j.
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • oldwelshman
    oldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Try to follow the line of faster descenders and learn from them,
    Brake before the bends and not in them, especially on slippery roads :D
  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Close your eyes - what you can't see can't hurt you.
    I like bikes...

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  • feel
    feel Posts: 800
    meagain wrote:
    IMO it really isn't worth going beyond that with which you feel comfortable - that way lies pain or worse. It will either come with time and experience or it won't. We're not all the same.


    Is the correct answer as far as i'm concerned. You can do a lot of damage to yourself at high speed (unless you are mettan and dressed in armour - re another thread)
    We are born with the dead:
    See, they return, and bring us with them.
  • cee
    cee Posts: 4,553
    see.... thats the difference between pro racers and normal folk like most of us.....

    racers have to go as fast as they can. there is no choice.

    we are a little more wary of the consequences :wink::o:lol:
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • term1te
    term1te Posts: 1,462
    Try to follow the line of faster descenders and learn from them,
    Brake before the bends and not in them, especially on slippery roads :D

    I agree with this. I've made a conscious effort to completely let go of the brakes on the apex of bends. It encourages you to slow down on the way in and you don't lose unnecessary speed on the way out of the bend. If it is a sharp bend or hairpin, change up a gear or two on the way in, that way you will be ready to accelerate out of it.

    There was a good article in the mag about descending about 18 months ago, worth digging it out if you can.
  • McBain_v1
    McBain_v1 Posts: 5,237
    I think that mountain bikers are more natural descenders, but since I've fallen off my mountain bike on numerous occasions and am very wary about speeding down roads I tend to stick with the "slow controlled entrance to corner, peddle like a mad-arse upon exit" strategy to try and keep up with people. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't :lol:

    What do I ride? Now that's an Enigma!
  • heavymental
    heavymental Posts: 2,076
    I had to overcome a mindblock caused by speed wobble a while ago and found that the best way is to go hit the hills and try and go a little faster each time. It took me a while to rebuild my confidence but if you stay relaxed, don't worry or panic and get used to going faster you'll be fine. I only ever go up to about 45mph but thats fast enough I feel. As long as your technique is sound and you're not taking unnecessary risks then you won't come to harm. If you're rigid on the bike, gritting your teeth, twitchy at the sight of a corner or passing traffic then you're going too fast. The trick is to become relaxed and confident at speed by gradually increasing it each time you go out until you're able to go as fast as you want to. If you go to somewhere like the Alps you'll have plenty of opportunities to work on it and the speed will come. By the end of a week in the Alps I was flying down each descent at similar speeds to my buddies. Its not often you get a chance to spend alot of time descending but when you're routinely going downhill for 20 odd minutes then you soon get better.

    Hit the hills and relax.
  • Thanks guys. Think i'll try the brake before the bend , relax, and accelerate out technique.
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  • Reddragon's reply: LMAO :lol:
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  • Steve I
    Steve I Posts: 428
    Don't be a sheep and just follow everyone else, take it easy and develop your own descending style. There are so many hazards besides slippery roads e.g. tractors, cars, animals, other cyclists, gravel, debris, mechanical problems, and all that on possibly unfamiliar roads. And you've got little protection if something goes wrong. Better to become a good climber IMO, it's very satisfying beating people up hills.
  • webbhost
    webbhost Posts: 470
    Red Dragon I tried your method today.. But I was EXTREMELY annoyed because I got scared and opened my eyes again.

    Thats when I hit the double decker bus... oh WHY DID I LOOK :(
  • nolf
    nolf Posts: 1,287
    Just enjoy it!

    Descending is when all that hard work climbing pays off and you get to zoom along at 40mph+!

    just enjoy it and gradually you'll get a lot faster. :)
    "I hold it true, what'er befall;
    I feel it, when I sorrow most;
    'Tis better to have loved and lost;
    Than never to have loved at all."

    Alfred Tennyson
  • feel
    feel Posts: 800
    webbhost wrote:
    Red Dragon I tried your method today.. But I was EXTREMELY annoyed because I got scared and opened my eyes again.

    Thats when I hit the double decker bus... oh WHY DID I LOOK :(

    :lol:
    We are born with the dead:
    See, they return, and bring us with them.
  • oldwelshman
    oldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Steve I wrote:
    Don't be a sheep and just follow everyone else, take it easy and develop your own descending style. There are so many hazards besides slippery roads e.g. tractors, cars, animals, other cyclists, gravel, debris, mechanical problems, and all that on possibly unfamiliar roads. And you've got little protection if something goes wrong. Better to become a good climber IMO, it's very satisfying beating people up hills.
    Ok I will expand on my earlier reply :D
    Dont follow anyone, pick the fastes descenders to follow.
    On a nice surface with no drain covers and lovely perfect tarmac for a right bend, move to the left of bend going in and brake to slow a bit, then cut the corner ( ok not over the other side unless on a closed road or perfect view if on a switchback and road is clear)
    Ensure left hand pedal is downward and lean into bend, once through accelerate out of bend. This will put weight correct on bike and also stop your crank digging a hole in th ebend and pulling you off!!
    For left bend it is the opposite.
    Ok things to watch:
    If it is wet, do not attempt to corner so fast !!
    Often debris is left betweend tyer routes, especially gravel so avoid crossing this on a bend, you may fall!!
    If tractors have been on road you often ged mud deposited, so avoid these tracks as your tyres pick up the mud and horse shite and ot sticks to your tyres and does not clean for quite a distance so can catch you out when cornerring !!
    Watch out for drain covers on bends as these may also pull you off!!
    In wet conditions avoid cornerring over white lines and road markings as they get slippery!!!
    Do not try to corner fast on ice, it does not work!!
    Last but not least, especially in uk, after the crappy re surfacing we tend to get with that horrible gravel, there is loads of it left loose, which surprisingly gets washed to the bottom of a descent bu our never ending rain, then when you descend and approach the junction you are faced with a nice 6" mound of loose gravel!!!!

    When you can descend well, you can make up as much time as some can make on a climb and it is more fun 8)
  • knedlicky
    knedlicky Posts: 3,097
    meagain wrote:
    IMO it really isn't worth going beyond that with which you feel comfortable - that way lies pain or worse. It will either come with time and experience or it won't. We're not all the same.
    I agree, but you can still watch others or read up on technique.

    As for braking before the bend not when in it, that should be pretty much common sense if you’ve ever driven a car in icy conditions even on a flat road. The principle is the same.

    A mistake some riders make is to focus only 10-30 yards ahead of themselves. Certainly check that far ahead to make sure there isn't a pothole or unevenness, or grit or gravel on the road, but for the best line it's often better to focus 50-250 yards ahead, exactly how far depending on how curvy the road.

    The oldwelshman isn’t right when he says “When you can descend well, you can make up as much time as some can make on a climb” but he is right when he says “When you can descend well, … it is more fun”.
    Like off-piste skiers climb a mountain on foot for 2 hours for just 20 mins skiing in deep virgin powder, I’ve slogged up some hills for hours for the joy of the rapid descent. When you're confident and capable, it's well worth it.
  • As mentioned before - don't go further than you feel confident. You'll find that the further you go past this point the more tense you get. The more tense you are the less the bike flows and you end up fighting it - this makes it more liekly that you'll come off!!!

    My advice would be try and follow the others for as far as you feel confident to learn lines, and over time you're confidence will grow and you'll be able to follow them for longer and longer. Also - don't bother about what your bike speedo says!!!
    Has the head wind picked up or the tail wind dropped off???
  • jpembroke
    jpembroke Posts: 2,569
    Just learn to climb faster, then you'll get a good headstart on the descents.
    I'm only concerned with looking concerned
  • I'm so glad I've ridden a sports motorbike for a few years. Countersteering at 150mph certainly prepares you for cycling :)
  • bahzob
    bahzob Posts: 2,195
    I am a crap descender but getting better. Found the summary here the best one stop shop for practical advice on how to get down a mountain quickly and safely (one thing I have learned is that this is not a contradiction if done properly.)

    http://www.flammerouge.je/content/3_factsheets/2006/descend.htm
    Martin S. Newbury RC