Maintain or even increase your speed on rolling whoops
Don’t ‘suck up the bumps’ when it comes to whoops and rollers. Use them for momentum.
Don’t suck ’em up
The advice here is normally to suck up the bumps. Instead: push down the drops in between the bumps. Imagine the level ground is on the top of the undulations and keep a low attack position. Push the bike through the bottom, or lowest, part of the trail encouraging the riders weight to go light up the slope of the next bump.
The way that most people think about consecutive bumps like these is that the level ground is at the bottom, and the actual obstacle is the raised part of trail. What tends to then happen is that they try and control the buck from the raised part by pulling their bike in. This might absorb some of the impact, but it doesn’t offer any real stability. A much better way of looking at trail features like these is to imagine that the level ground is actually at the top of the peaks, and the obstacles are the big holes in between.
If you watch what’s going on in the video at first, the rider isn’t giving himself a lot of room to move on the way in. Meaning that when the ground drops away from him he’s pulled in to the holes and has to try and control the next raised part by pulling the bike in towards him. This might work over one or two features, but if you’re looking at a whole section of trail like this you’ll quickly find yourself off balance and have to pull the brakes to slow down.
Instead of trying to push your bike down the downslope and pulling it back in again on the up slope, try coming in low and opening up more range of motion. Look at the timing of the push from the rider here. It happens mostly through his legs, and at the bottom of the trail. He’s actually using to generate stability through deliberately going heavy through the most unstable part.
He doesn’t then pull the bike in, he lets the trail push the bike back up towards him and is comfortable in a low body position and ready for the next big range of motion.
The secret here is to give yourself the room to push through the lower parts of a trail. By deliberately pushing every time you go heavy between features, you’ll be able to generate stability in places where it doesn’t look like there is any. This should allow you to neutralise your body weight on even the biggest of trail features.
Remember: The next time you’re out on the trial you’re not trying to suck up the bumps, you’re trying to give yourself the room to push in between them.
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Words: Andy Barlow