When you’re riding a jump with a blind take-off, where you can’t see the landing before you’re on the lip, you need to look for it as soon as you can (having made sure to check the jump out on foot first).
On the jump pictured here, the landing isn’t actually visible until after you’ve taken off. That means you need to be looking down quite a lot, trying to spot the point where you want to touch down.
1. Push, then pop
On the way up the take-off, push down into the bike to compress the suspension, and bend your arms and legs.
Then, as you hit the lip, extend your arms and legs out straight to get maximum pop, and pull your bike from the ground.
2. Spot the landing
Once you’ve spotted the landing, allow your eyes to come up and look forward for the exit.
Get your body ready for the landing, by flexing your arms and legs slightly, and keeping your hips in a neutral, central position on the bike. You need to be in a good, strong stance.
3. Nose in
As you start to come down, shift your weight forwards to dip the nose of the bike into the landing. Keep your eyes focused on the landing until you’re confident of where you’re going.
As you come in to land, bend your legs and arms to soften the impact.
Allow your hips to move down and back — you don’t want to be leaning forward when you’re trying to slow down after landing, or you’ll have no grip or stability.
Once your wheels are on the ground, drop your heels, especially if it’s a rough landing.
Al’s words of wisdom
To build up skill, start small. Pump tracks are really good for working on your jumping and pumping skills, and the body movements that are involved with it all. Then progress to little drops or jumps that you need to use a lot of body language to ride.