Thursday, March 31, 2011

dirt jumps

Alright my spirits are starting to lift as the weather is starting to look a lot like spring! Thank you 8lbs 9oz baby Jesus, haha. I haven't been riding as much as I would like or need to be but a I have been regularly hitting the gym and starting to clean up the diet a bit. I've added 2x day protein shakes and multi-vitamin to the daily regimen.
Yesterday I did get out for a nice 1.5hr urban ripper. I hit up some of the local things around my place and broadened the horizon a bit and went looking for the illusive Lexington Street dirt jumps, and I found them! After some Internet research they we super easy to find actually. They are right by the water tower on Diffly and Lexington. There is a skate park there and behind it is a nice set of flowy dirt jumps. They aren't too big and most of them are tables or step ups and look really cool. They do look a bit haggard but I don't think it would take too much to clean them up. Definitely planning on spending some serious time there this summer working on my flow.
Since I was over there and the course was slightly snow covered and way too greasy to ride or do anything but look at it, I decided to ride the skate park a bit. The sign said no bikes but there were a couple of younger BMX rippers there so I felt safe. It was fun. Hit up the little table top there and a little spine to table transfer. Ripped a few jumps and then back on my way. Over all it was a fun ride.
If anyone is interested in helping me clean up the jumps let me know. I was told by those BMXers and all the info I can find on the Internet that it's basically up to the riders to maintain the jumps and I'm down to put in some shovel time and do a little diggin' to make the place worth riding. So if you want to help me leave me a comment.
So this is a bit old but its been brewing in the back of my mind and I was thinking about it yesterday while I was riding and today on the way to work.
When I was riding at Turkey Mtn in OK a couple of the guys, actually all of them but one said that they would much rather go up a hill then down it and when I asked them why they said they didn't really feel comfortable or in control when going down espcially if there were obsticals or any drops. At the time I didn't really say much besides to relax and practice. As I thought more about it, if you don't feel comfortable doing something on a mtn bike or on a trail why is that? Are you afraid? Is that because of your bike, your gear or your skills?
I was talking to a couple of my friends that wanted me to help them learn how to bunny hop, manual and even ride wheelies. Don't get me wrong, these friends are not new to the sport they have been riding mtn bikes longer then me but they are dedicated xc racers that would work me in a XC race but do have some holes in theri game and they ride clips. When I asked them why they didn't just practice themselves they told me they didn't want to flip over backwards like I did in the parking lot at one of the cyclocross races last year and be stuck to their bike. I get that. It's fear. Fear is what is keeping most people from improving as a rider.
The first question I have for you if you are more apt to go up than down because you don't feel in control or if you are afraid to try/ride new sections and/or are walking difficult parts of the trail or are like my friends that don't want to learn/try new skills because you are afraid I have a few suggestions.
First is flats, flat pedals was the first thing I told them they would have to get before I could help them, even if only for training.
Flats are confident inspiring simply because of the ease of bailing. If you are trying to learn a wheelie or a manual and go too far back you can just jump off and catch your self. If you are learning tougher things such as rock gardens or new sections like plank bridges or other obstacles you can easily take your foot of and put it down to catch yourself. Plus you will gain so much by training with flats. Like a better pedal stroke and bike control. If you learn to corner and bunny hop on flats when you do it with your clips on you will dominate!
I don't care if people choose to ride clips or flats, I like flats but I can ride both, but if one, namely clips, are holding you back or acting like a crutch to you. You need to ditch them at least for training and learn how to properly ride your bike and own your bike! There are tons of videos on the Internet and DVD's you can buy to learn new things also tons of great books to check out. Start with getting comfortable on your flats, then work on track stands and cornering. Then move on to manuals and wheelies and then to bunny hops. If you have those done find a pump track that you can learn to flow on and from there you can start jumping. There is that place in Eagan and also a great place in Mapleplain that you can check out if you are in the Twin Cities area.
Second thing is for handling purposes, especially if you are going down and taking hard fast corners try a shorter stem 50-70mm and wider handle bars 700-750mm and if some one tells you that you can't climb with short stems and wide bars they are full of shit and don't know how to ride there bike. I have 6inchs of travel with 720bars and a 70mm stem and I'm thinking of going to a 50mm stem. There can be some walk in the front end if you always sit and spin up the hill but if you get out of your saddle and get a little more weight on the front end there is no movement at all. Simply getting in the right position, "the attack" position as many of these training books call it, you can dominate. Same with going down hill, don't lean off the back, get centered over you pedals, butt out like you're doing a dead lift elbows bent and out, back flat and chest over the handle bars, head up with vision down trail and you will feel so much more in control! If you don't believe me try it or hit me up I'll let you rip my bike before you invest your money.

Good luck to you all!

Keep it real!

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