How to slay steep trail sections

MBUK team rider Al Bond shows you how to tame gravity

Steep sections can be extremely daunting when you’re teetering on the edge peering down at the trail below. If you want to conquer them, you’ll need confidence and solid technique. Then, with practice, you’ll be hitting the steep stuff with barely a second thought.

Seasoned DH racer and MBUK team rider Alex Bond explains exactly how to get yourself ready for them.

1. Head and eyes

As you enter the steep section, you should be looking over the brow. Once you’re committed to riding the slope and have started riding down it, bring your eyes up to look at your exit point.

Even though the trail is steep, keep your eyes forward and head up. Don’t be tempted to look directly at the bottom of the slope.

2. Feet and legs

Drop your heels to push your centre of gravity backwards. This will also help you get lower on the bike, so that you feel like you’re riding ‘in’ it, not on it.

If you hit a bump or need to absorb an impact, then riding in this position will stop your weight getting thrown forward, especially if it’s really steep.

3. Body and hips

As you come over the brow into the steep section, your hips will naturally start to move back to counterbalance the angle of the slope. This will push your bum back too, but there’s no harm in exaggerating this move if the terrain is really steep.

4. Arms and hands

As your hips move backwards, your arms will naturally extend. Straighten them further to really get your weight back.

Avoid any strong braking so that you don’t lock the wheels, which could cause you to slide out.

5. Al’s pro tip

When I coach people, they don’t seem to realise just how far off the back of the bike they need to be and can actually get.

Find a tiny steep section and practice getting your bum as far back and as close to the rear tyre as possible.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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