Will Longden's Complete Guide to Downhill

Friday, March 5, 2004 12.00am

The original, and still the best, downhill is where the whole sport of mountain biking started. A bunch of Yanks cobbled some bikes together, went up a mountain and raced back down. In terms of MTB evolution this may have been arse-scratching monkey fare but years down the line the same basic instinct remains. No matter whether you're Steve Peat or Billy Beginner, the buzz is the same because everyone finds their natural limit, then pushes that limit and continues to improve; it's great going out riding with young riders and beginners and watching how much they move on in one day.

The competitive side of downhill mountain biking is my passion, being at the leading edge of the sport in terms of developing bike design and technology and using the bikes to their absolute maximum potential. There's no better sight than a world class rider controlling his bike with ease over the kind of terrain that would make a marine cry and using bike techniques that leave others gobsmacked.

So, downhill mountain biking, what's it all about? Well there are three main areas I guess - fun stuff, racing and freeriding. You don't have to race to get into DH but you really should give it a go. It's amazing how concentrating so hard on the track actually relaxes you and you end up doing all kinds of stuff you didn't know you could...

Read the full feature in the new issue of MBUK, on sale now

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