If you are planning on hitting the trails for the very first time or perhaps you are looking to improve and develop your skills on the trails, there a couple of things that will make the world of difference. We enlisted the help of current 4X World Champion, Katy Curd, to run through them:
Positioning, ie your position on the bike will make a huge difference no matter what level of trail you are riding. Even the tiniest changes can make a big difference when it comes to carrying speed and float through the trails.
Here are the main things to remember with regard to position:
1. Keep your pedals level and stand up as tall as you can
2. The majority of your weight should be on your feet. If you were to let go of the bars you should still be standing.
3. Do not let your backside drop too far back, or forward for that matter. When riding downhill, your arms should be bent with your chin over your stem.
4. Your front wheel should be light so keep the pressure off. This means the bike will skip nicely through obstacles etc.
5. Find that loose grip. You may be scared but gripping onto your handlebars for dear life is not the answer. Keep that grip lose so your body can absorb shock.
Becoming more comfortable on your bike will ultimately make you a better rider. You should practice moving forward and back on your bike and then from side to side.
This may seem pretty basic but is actually fundamental in order to succeed a mastering a wealth of other skills.
Speeding down new trails can be a pretty scary prospect so us mere mortals tend to go for the clutching brakes for dear life approach. But it is far better practice to learn to stop quickly and become confident at it.
Here are a few tips:
1. Aim to come to a stop without skidding.
2. Dip your heels and pop your bum off the back as soon as you come to a stop
3. Apply the front and back brake equally
4. Always use one finger braking. If you are used to using two fingers, snap out of the habit by moving your brake levers in so you can only reach it with one finger.
If you fancy learning more from the pro in person, why not sign up for one of Katy Curd's coaching courses in the Forest of Dean. Katy also coaches at two skills camps per year in Sierra Nevada Spain with Pure Mountains.