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Old 12-02-13, 03:22 PM   #251
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So if I wanted to work on my cornering technique, which I will add is pretty much non-existent at this point in my racing life, what are the best pointers out there? From what I am gathering, it seems to lean my body more than lean the bike. A quick search finds youtube videos both agreeing and disagreeing with this.
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Old 12-02-13, 03:59 PM   #252
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practice.

it's the only thing that works. you can know perfectly how to apex a corner, lean the bike, look where you want to go, etc..., but the only thing that will help you get more comfortable with the speed and performance of it is to do it.

for me, the recurring item I have to re-learn or remind myself of, is too look farther up the road. I tend to look at the outside edge and think "don't ride off that" where I should be looking up the road where I want to exit the turn. Once I lift my eyes up, the distance to where I am looking is much greater and therefore the speed feels relatively much lower.
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Old 12-02-13, 05:11 PM   #253
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practice.

.
yes
and when riding with others, follow the guys who know what they are doing
watch and emulate basically
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Old 12-02-13, 05:15 PM   #254
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The weight of the bike isn't really a primary factor. It's secondary.
But when your body weight is 90% of the system it's really hard to get your bodyweight away from the centre of system right? Or am I misunderstanding something here?
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Old 12-02-13, 05:22 PM   #255
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Waki's problem is his proportions are all screwy. Massive top heavy head > huge belly > large but significantly smaller legs. Races in long straight lines would serve him well.
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Old 12-02-13, 05:23 PM   #256
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Find an area (parking lot, park grounds, etc.) with no traffic and lay out a course. I would make it simple at first with just one technical turn. Focus on taking different lines through that turn. Inside, outside, shortest, early apex, late apex. Make note if how your weight needs to shift and when for each variant. Vary the weight on your outside foot. Once you feel comfortable with various lines through that corner, start to practice pedaling through instead of coasting.
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Old 12-02-13, 05:50 PM   #257
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yes
and when riding with others, follow the guys who know what they are doing
watch and emulate basically
This is how I significantly improved my descending technique. The guy that I learned from/tried to follow (Ex will like this) comes from a motorcycle racing background. Now I can keep up with him. Most cannot keep up with us (at least in our extended riding group).
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Old 12-02-13, 06:15 PM   #258
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I dunno. It helped me to understand the concepts than to follow guys. I still, on shakier days, repeat to myself (outside foot down, weight pedal, push inside, look up) over and over.
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Old 12-02-13, 06:25 PM   #259
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I'm going to print out this thread and tape it to my stem, and make sure to read it before/during/after all my crits!
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Old 12-02-13, 06:51 PM   #260
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I'm going to print out this thread and tape it to my stem, and make sure to read it before/during/after all my crits!
good idea.

I've also adjusted my station here so I can post from the drops.


-posted from the drops
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Old 12-02-13, 07:08 PM   #261
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practice.
Yes, just make sure you're practicing the right technique.

I know a lot of riders who've been riding for a long time without understanding how counter steering actually works, so for them to go out and practice blindly will just reinforce the mystery.

Practice putting constant pressure on the inside bar and watch how steady your arc becomes.
Practice putting more forward pressure on the inside bar and get comfortable with how your bike responds.
Get comfortable with the lean angle of your bike and how much pedal clearance you have when your inside pedal is at its lowest point.
Look through the turn. Not at the ground.

Do not, under any circumstance, coast through a turn with your feet at 6 and 3. Or 3 and 6. Always put your weight on the outside pedal (unless you're pedaling through the turn).
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Old 12-02-13, 09:39 PM   #262
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Do not, under any circumstance, coast through a turn with your feet at 6 and 3. Or 3 and 6. Always put your weight on the outside pedal (unless you're pedaling through the turn).
if someone is coasting with their feet at 6 and 3 i think disaster is imminent...
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Old 12-02-13, 09:56 PM   #263
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if someone is coasting with their feet at 6 and 3 i think disaster is imminent...
powercranks suck anyway.
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Old 12-02-13, 10:23 PM   #264
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if someone is coasting with their feet at 6 and 3 i think disaster is imminent...
If someone is coasting with their feet at 6 and 3........ I'm thinking they need a new mechanic
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Old 12-02-13, 10:37 PM   #265
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now I'm always aero
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Old 12-02-13, 10:42 PM   #266
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now I'm always aero
Coordinates well with the 'stache.
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Old 12-02-13, 11:02 PM   #267
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now I'm always aero
Obree-approved.

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Old 12-03-13, 01:32 AM   #268
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So if I wanted to work on my cornering technique, which I will add is pretty much non-existent at this point in my racing life, what are the best pointers out there? From what I am gathering, it seems to lean my body more than lean the bike. A quick search finds youtube videos both agreeing and disagreeing with this.
I found that it was really hard to work on cornering without actually racing. I tried the parking lot thing but it took way too much energy to get up to speed so I'd blow up a few minutes into a "parking lot solo practice crit". Trying to enter every corner at 25-30 mph is tough because that means you're averaging close to that on your own. I don't know about you but I can't ride that fast for much more than a minute or three solo, and trying to practice cornering while riding well beyond my means is not a good thing. Cornering a bit slower didn't give me the same "cornering on rails" feeling that I got during a race so that didn't work (meaning like 22-23 mph).

I did find that a longer loop, about a mile?, worked. I could get up to speed and do two corners in a row. I describe it in this link here. This was about the only time I could hit a corner at high speed repeatedly - it's a right turn off of a fast bit of road, I could see traffic around the corner, therefore I could always "corner fast". Of course since I was a kid I just went faster and faster until I slid out. Then I forced myself to do the corner "just a little less fast than when I crashed" to "practice". Since I didn't have specific technique thoughts this was't a great way of practicing cornering but it beat not doing anything.

One thing you can always do is working on cornering lines. I find a correlation between the racers that can't corner and racers that don't drive corners well. When I posted this post I was a bit worried that certain people I know would take it personally (because they corner like that whether driving or racing). If anyone did take it personally they've kept their mouth shut.

Later I posted this post which sort of incorporates the lazy steering post but also talks about looking ahead. Looking ahead is one of the most important cornering techniques for me - it allows me to stop focusing on the next 10 feet and instead look forward and get an overall picture of what I need to do. Curiously enough I got a lot of offline questions on this post, some from some skilled (at first glance) riders. Skilled riders, in my experience, are always looking to improve their skill, looking for those incremental gains from gaining a tip here, a theory there.

Finally a post on cornering in general here, a much earlier one. It touches on early/late apexes and the concept that cornering is free, i.e. no fitness, no doping, just plain knowledge and practice. Although I didn't explain it well in the post what I saw in the heyday of the EPO days is that overall the pro racers lost the ability to corner well. The doped up racers were like the 1300 hp F1 cars - blast down a straight line, creep around the corner, repeat. They focused on fitness/power so much they forgot about actual technique, like how to corner. Michael Rasmussen is a great example of this - he blasted up the climbs, struggled on descents (because he couldn't and probably still can't corner well at all), but due to the huge advantage of his drugged up power he could still be in the lead at the end of a long day in the mountains. If you can watch the famous Floyd stage in the 2006 Tour there's a guy that almost causes a split in the field on the most technical descent - it's Rasmussen, cornering wrong, slowing way more than the others, in the middle of a series of super tight left-right switchbacks. It's embarrassing to see him corner so poorly. The kicker is that in breaks he'd give away time that he spent so much energy gaining, energy both in doping and in actual racing.

Another racer that can't corner is Levi. I think it's the same Tour but he takes off and gains a number of minutes on a climb (Tourmalet? I forget). He descends so poorly he gives back I think 2 or 3 of his 5 minute lead. He almost rides off the road a few times, you can see him get scared and back off the bike in corners (meaning he slides back off the saddle; with no weight on the saddle the bike is now less stable and more prone to bump-steer type control inputs, i.e. you hit a bump or rough pavement and the bike goes off your intended line). All that training, all that work attacking the field on a climb, all that unconfirmed doping work/effort/stress, and he gives back 40-60% of his time gain because he didn't practice proper cornering ever? Again, embarrassing to watch, especially since an educated Cat 5 could corner better than him.

Having said all that I generally don't try to force the bike to lean more or less than me (one exception - low traction, but that may be me being just plain scared). I know that physics makes it normal to lean the bike a bit more than the body (I think? like a few degrees, not in an exaggerated way). When I'm cornering on rails in the dry I'm not trying to lean my bike more or less, I'm just "in line with it" (minus that slight physics thing about leaning the bike a bit more/less).

Look at this picture - it's the pro/1/2/3 race in Hartford CT, last corner of a tight and technical crit, going into the sprint for the win. No one is leaning much more or less than the bike. The bikes that are leaning more or less are under guys sprinting out of the saddle. The guy on the orange bike jumped while not weighting the rear tire enough so the back end skittered out (he lost some speed relative to the others but was fine). There's one Jelly Belly pro in the picture (obscured), a number of domestic team pros (the guy that won is second wheel in the picture and he's one of them), and a few ex-pros (formerly racing for teams like 7-Up and Mengoni).

(picture by me)

What I do find useful is using extra bike lean to tighten up my line mid-turn, i.e. the guy in front of me crashes. I now lean the bike hard automatically but I sort of had to practice to make it a conditioned response (mainly riding off road and not looking far enough ahead and getting surprised by obstacles/terrain features). I've had guys slide out in front of me in fast corners without severely affecting me. I lean the bike harder (so my body is sort of at the same angle but I'm really pushing the bike down, i.e. counter steering even though I didn't know that's what it was), tighten my line, usually coast or even brake, and I'm good.

On the other hand in wet weather or in slick conditions (snow fall or even icy roads) I tend to keep the bike upright and lean the body. It's a fear reaction so maybe not correct. My thought process is that on the mountain bike that was the way to corner in slick conditions - I wanted the tread biting into the ground. On the road the same may not apply but I get scared so that's how I corner I think I corner pretty conservatively in the wet now because I don't remember sliding out on my own ever in a wet race, even really tough races (8 corners, 1/2 mile, Tour de Michigan last crit, GC on the line). If I fell in a wet crit it's because someone slid through my wheels and took me down.

I want to experiment with wet cornering and these wet conditions tubulars (Vittoria EVO Tech) - they have squirmy tread on the sides that are supposed to reduce contact patch, effectively increasing pressure for the tread that is there, therefore increasing traction for that bit of tread. When I used a rear Tech and a normal front in wet conditions (twice in 2013) the rear felt totally planted and the front super sketchy. I plan on gluing on a front Tech and trying it with the rear Tech tire/wheel. I think that with those tires I'll be leaning more in corners, both because I'll have more faith in my tires but also because I know there's a distinct advantage to getting the tired leaned over onto the scalloped part of the tread.

It's a learning process, this whole technique thing. When I first started on Bike Forums I learned tidbits here and there as well as some pretty major philosophy/technique type things, and I'd been racing actively for well into two decades at the time (next year will be my 32nd race season). If I had stopped learning way back when I'd probably have quit racing. Because it evolves in terms of competition, technique, and equipment it constantly changes, making things interesting. In fact I'm at a point where I'm probably the least educated now in terms of equipment, relative to other riders. I haven't used the most aggressive wheels (either super lightweight or super aero), I don't have 11s, no electric shifting, no 10-12 pound bike (some of my competitors have such bikes), etc. I fell behind the "seriousness" curve and don't spend all my money on bike equipment now like I used to I used to be cutting edge, pushing equipment limits - bar end shifter so I could shift while sprinting, filing down teeth on the big chainring so the chain would pick up quicker, super light pedals for less rotating weight (68 grams per pair of pedals and cleats), modifying shoes for clipless pedal use, racing on aero wheels in the late 80s, using mass start aero bars, regularly racing on carbon rims (Zipps), focusing on aero even in mass start events, skin suits regularly, rear disc wheel in crits, etc. Of course all that only made me a semi-competitive Cat 3 but it was fun. Ha.
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Old 12-03-13, 04:01 AM   #269
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So if I wanted to work on my cornering technique, which I will add is pretty much non-existent at this point in my racing life, what are the best pointers out there? From what I am gathering, it seems to lean my body more than lean the bike. A quick search finds youtube videos both agreeing and disagreeing with this.
Hey, what do I know. I've only got a couple of 250 GP Championships. Try this video of one of the fastest descenders in the pro peleton, start at 19s:

[video=youtube;gK6l0To9X9k]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gK6l0To9X9k[/video]

Here's the front view:



Or just Google "Andy Schleck Descending Skills". On the off chance there's an actual video, do the exact opposite of what you see.
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Old 12-03-13, 07:13 AM   #270
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Thanks for the write up CRD. And Ex, I do agree that the consensus on this forum is what you have said over and over and others have agreed. I read up on it some more last night and there were some good articles and videos that supported this as well. I guess the couple of videos that I found that said otherwise were just quacky, or done by Mr. Schleck
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Old 12-03-13, 08:15 AM   #271
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now I'm always aero
worked for obree http://www.myshavedlegs.com/2009/06/...-scotsman.html
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Old 12-03-13, 08:16 AM   #272
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9 and 3.
I meant 9 and 3.
I swear I can read a clock.
9 and 3.

My editor should have caught that.
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Old 12-03-13, 08:16 AM   #273
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I think CDR showed me this before...it's Peter Sagan at the Tour of Alberta practically laying the bike down around a corner.
http://stevetilford.com/2013/09/10/peter-sagan/
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Old 12-03-13, 08:52 AM   #274
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I found that it was really hard to work on cornering without actually racing. I tried the parking lot thing but it took way too much energy to get up to speed so I'd blow up a few minutes into a "parking lot solo practice crit". Trying to enter every corner at 25-30 mph is tough because that means you're averaging close to that on your own. I don't know about you but I can't ride that fast for much more than a minute or three solo, and trying to practice cornering while riding well beyond my means is not a good thing. Cornering a bit slower didn't give me the same "cornering on rails" feeling that I got during a race so that didn't work (meaning like 22-23 mph).
The other thing that makes practicing cornering without racing kind of hard is that, as an inexperienced racer, you're probably going to have a hard time understanding just how hot you're going to come into those corners in an actual race. Without the additional adrenaline of a race, if you have a normal sense of self-preservation it will be very hard to make yourself go into a turn at actual race speeds. One crit I did years ago was basically on the side of a hill in Knoxville, TN. Long front straight downhill, long back straight uphill. We were coming into that first turn at what felt like insane speeds, though probably "only" 35 mph or so. This in a cat 4 race. How many of us had done a 90 degree corner at that kind of speed before? Pretty close to none, I think. That was damn scary. Anyway, the simplest way to practice cornering at anything like true race speed is practicing on fast, technical descents. In Nashville, we had an awesome place to do this kind of practice in PW park, with an 11-mile, one-way circuit with tons of elevation change and twisty downhills. I'm sure the locals wherever you might live have whatever their equivalent is, provided that you aren't so unfortunate as to live in a place without any climbing. If that's your situation, cones in a parking lot is basically your solution.
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Old 12-03-13, 08:52 AM   #275
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Waki's problem is his proportions are all screwy. Massive top heavy head > huge belly > large but significantly smaller legs. Races in long straight lines would serve him well.
Everyone picking on the fat guy...
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