Look at the exit of the turn
Like a rally car driver, you should always
look to the exit of the turn and not down at
the ground immediately in front of you. This
will also naturally put your body in a good
position to make the turn faster.
Pump your way to speed
You can ride a pump track without
pedaling, and that’s because emphasizing
the downward force propels you forward.
Focus on technique to gain this advantage.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, head
to the closest pump track and do a few
laps. It will come naturally.
Learn to ride with your “switch” foot
Be efficient! Especially early in a ride
If you’re on a ride that you know is going
to push your limits, save the bravado for
the end of the ride. Sprinting right out of
the gate is a surefire way to put yourself in
the pain cave in the last few miles.
No wasted energy, no matter how
White-knuckling the handlebar is a
waste of energy. Grimacing as you hit
the last bit of a climb also wastes energy. Rather than burn calories and create
muscle fatigue, think about using all your
energy to propel yourself forward. Instead
of thinking about how much it hurts, think
about ways you can relax more to keep
more fuel in the tank.
Look farther down the trail than you
think you should
Consciously train yourself to look ahead
at least 20 to 30 feet on descents. This will
allow you to prepare for what’s coming up
rather than simply reacting to what’s under
your wheel. It will also give you better judgment of speed. Looking down at your front
wheel, it’s blurry, right? As you look up, it
becomes more clear and normal. The farther you look down the trail, the faster your
“normal” speed will be.
You know that feeling you get when you
land perfectly on a transition and it boosts
you forward? You can find miniature “
transitions” all over the trail. By bunnyhopping
more than you think you should, you can
find “free” speed.
Steer with your hips, not your hands
Bikes are best steered with weight transfer and
core strength, not by simply turning the bars. The
quickest way to grasp this concept is to consciously
think about turning your hips into a turn. When you
do this, your bike will follow with much less
effort and with more speed and control.
Make mini goals for long climbs
This mental technique is for anyone who
hates long climbs but doesn’t want to give
up and be passed by his or her buddies.
Rather than looking at the top of the mountain, pick a spot on the trail that’s relatively
close and force yourself to keep going until
then. Once you hit it, pick another spot in
front of you. Keep doing this until you’re
at the top of the hill, or until your heart
explodes like a bratwurst in the microwave.