When a problem comes along you must whip it.
Not only did Danny Hart win the 2011 World Champs, he rode with the flamboyance of a true champion – and showed the world how to whip.
Champery, Switzerland; venue for the 2011 World Championships. In treacherous conditions, on a track that was more freefall than downhill, Danny Hart made the best riders on the planet look like a bunch of amateurs.
Not only did he take a win that will go down in history, showed the world how to whip.
How to whip
- You need good speed to clear the jump. If you don’t clear it, you’ll get pitched funny.
- It might be easier to whip on a hip jump because then you don’t have to bring the bike straight.
- Try to be relaxed. You need to be confident in front wheel landings before you even attempt a whip.
- If you were to straight air it, without trying the whip, you could go slower. Do that a few times first.
- Looking forward is key.
- Drop your shoulder slightly to the side you want to whip as you ride up the lip.
- A lot of the movement is in your hips and pushing out with your legs. My upper body is quite straight.
- Turn the bars across your chest to the right if you’re right-footed, to the left if you’re left-footed. Twist your hips in the same direction.
- As the back of the bike swings around, turn your bars in the opposite direction to stop the whip.
- Point your front wheel where you want to land and extend your arms ready for the landing.
- Look where you want to go. If you freeze when you land, the bike will just stay like that.
- Even if I don’t do a whip, it’s really hard for me to jump straight. If you get something that involves bunny-hopping off something, or a more natural jump, you have to jump straight, but off a jump like this I’d try to scrub it a bit.
How to scrub
- I scrub jumps so that I’m not up in the air too long. If you’re up in the air you can’t be pedalling, so you want to be on the ground as much as possible.
- If I was at a race I’d have walked the track once or twice before, but even so, I wouldn’t go off it like that first time. I’d roll off it and straight air it a couple of times. You don’t know how the take-off, or your bike, will react, until you’ve tried it.
- You need to be confident landing front wheel first. If you can do that, the rest will line up behind you.
- I try to find a more mellow part of the take-off so I don’t go as high. That gives me maximum control.
- Approach the lip in a neutral position.
- All your weight is to the rear of the bike as you go off the lip.
- Lean your body and your bike as you go up the jump. That’ll stop you going up in the air. I push through the lip to get back on the ground as soon as possible. You have to push the bike away, closer to the ground.
- I’m always looking to where I’m going to land.
Don’t fight the feeling
I see cross-country riders trying to go off jumps and use their arms and legs to do the jump rather than their momentum. They ride a lot tighter and use their body and the SPDs too much. They need to relax and build up to it, instead of riding up to a jump and doing a bunny-hop. You need to be at ease with the bike.
A lot of people need to relax more. Don’t try to fight the bike; let it move around underneath you. You see so many people getting into situations that would be so much better if they were relaxed.
Gym’ll fix it
Gym work is really good for core and upper body strength for downhill and big jumps. I do a lot of stuff with an exercise ball and a half stability ball that you can stand on.