Nervous Downhill

Elushion Posts: 115
edited October 2008 in Road beginners
Ive been cycling for a long time now but still face a problem which is hintering my performance in races.

I weight 8 stone, a pure climber but when it comes to fast descents I get extremly nervous. Anything over 40mph and I slowly slip back, not because of power, becaus my brain is telling me its dangerous.

How can I overcome this?
"It was eleven more than necessary."

-Jacques Anquetil (after winning a race by twelve


  • dodgy
    dodgy Posts: 2,890
    Relax, let the bike find its way and try to visualise what is to come. Look for lamposts that indicate the road is about to bend, other visual cues include patterns in trees in wooded areas. When turning in, don't do it too soon. Best to turn into a tight corner from the outside, don't be tempted to 'tip in' too soon as you'll be slower.
    It's very hard to teach someone how to be 'braver' (bad choice of word, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to say). Most nervous descenders I've known have simply been too wound up to enjoy the descent, so just relax your grip a bit (a lot?), humm a tune and look for visual cues.

  • 40mph seems to be a barrier for me too. I just ease off cos I don't like the feeling of the bike wobble and am not sure of the skinny tires yet compared to the MTB. Call me a wuss but I don't think I would enjoy 40mph road rash much.
    17 Stone down to 12.5 now raring to get back on the bike!
  • chuckcork
    chuckcork Posts: 1,471
    Get a motorcycle licence then 40mph will seem slow on a bike.

    Mind you, on a motorbike you'll be wearinga proper helmet and leathers, while on a bicycle you'll close to zero protection, both otherwise principle is the same.

    Ditto on going around corners wider, your sight lines will be better and you'll have somewhere to go, i.e. left or right, if there is anything to avoid like holes.

    If you are hard on the inside you will have no options.
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • Nuggs
    Nuggs Posts: 1,804
    You can split fear into two categories:

    (1) Irrational Fear: This is the fear that has no foundation in reality. It's the sort of fear that can hold you back from the things you want to do. Things like fear of the dark, aliens or close personal contact (aliens optional). Bad fear.

    (2) Rational Fear: These are the fears with good grounding; some even have empirical evidence to back them up. I've never seen anyone scrape themselves off the road after they suffer speed wobble, front tyre blow-out and a snapped stem all at the same time, but I'd guess that it's not pretty. I'm with you on the 40mph thing (although I've never quite been there - 37 signals the beginning of squaky bum syndrome for me).
  • Bugly
    Bugly Posts: 520
    :D close your eyes and use the force
  • markos1963
    markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    As a biker for over 30 years I can only advise to relax and try to concentrate on what you want to achieve. Perhaps if you read some motorcycle training manuals on cornering techniques you might pick up some tips. I get disappionted if I can't get over 40 mph now!
  • Tom Butcher
    Tom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    I think the best thing is just find a couple of descents you know and push the envelope a little bit more each time. Other than that some bikes may be less twitchy than others.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • i love descending, i just think f*ck it i've lived a good life, (well, not bad.) and enjoy the wind in my hair.
  • Nick6891
    Nick6891 Posts: 274
    haha as im used to mountain biking so when descending on the road i just relax and let the bike go where it wants to go within reason of course, i think you just need to relax a little bit, i am always **** scared when going over about 45mph but have the same opinion as cooper, just think F*** it if i fall of now im f***** but oh well hahaha
  • W5454
    W5454 Posts: 133
    I just go for it and enjoy it.
    Descending Holme Moss on Friday touching 47 mph and thinking if I crash I hope it's either a few cuts and bruises or instant death.I don't want to be a cabbage