Step-by-Step and Repeat
Now you know what the obstacle is, and why it’s a problem for you, the next thing is to overcome it. Simple, right?! Ok – no – but you can do it.
This is best done at your own pace, and no one else’s. If you feel more confident wearing a full face helmet and additional body armour, then do it. If you feel better tackling it with your riding partner, then take them. Use whatever it is that will help you conquer that obstacle.
Start at the bottom and work your way up. If it’s a feature like a jump or a drop, then find similar ones that are much smaller practise technique on, and then gradually move on to bigger features as you master the skill. Focus on each individual drop – but as they get bigger, remember all the success’ you’ve had so far.
Mountain Bike Skills: How to Manual
Mountain Bike Skills: How to Come off a Drop
If it’s a corner, take a riding buddy who’s a little more confident than you, and watch how they attack the bend. You can even ask them to call out what they’re doing – where do they brake? Where do they start to turn their body? Once you’ve watched it through once or twice, follow from a distance. You can learn a lot from mimicking successful riders, and once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll probably be able to transfer what you’ve learned to other similar bends.
Perhaps you’re a brake-loving rider and you want to control your speed without gripping those levers. Find a section of trail which is flowy, and session it. Each time, challenge yourself to go just a little bit faster and to leave those brakes alone a tiny bit more.
Repetition will help you memorise the corners, the lumps and bumps until you know it like the back of your hand. Time yourself each run whilst trying to let go of the brakes a little more each time, and remember to always look ahead.
Once you’re more confident with your speed control on that section, transfer your skills and confidence onto other routes and trails to practice on. Over time you’ll get more and more comfortable with your speed limits.
There’s no feeling quite like learning something new and conquering a fear. It’s important to take it slow and at a pace, you’re comfortable with, there is no right time-scale to master anything.
Once you’ve overcome that mental block, and smashed that stubborn obstacle, there’ll be no stopping you from having a fun, uninterrupted day of shredding.
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