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Old 11-15-09, 02:22 PM   #1
Andy_K 
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Primal Reactions

How do you break yourself of primal/reflex kind of reactions?

Specifically, I'm going into a turn fast, I brake hard at the last minute, but something in my brain tells me I still need to be slower and I can't get myself to let go of the brake. Intellectually, I know this is practically the worst thing I could do in terms of negotiating the turn, but I can't get myself not to do it. The thing I would most compare it to is when I played baseball and I couldn't make myself not swing at the high fastball, even though I intellectually knew I couldn't hit it.

I'm seriously thinking about riding my next race with the front brake disconnected.

Does anyone have a reasonable suggestion?
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Old 11-15-09, 03:15 PM   #2
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I watch others do whatever it is I'm seizing up over (usually some form of steep drop) and force myself to follow them as much as possible, knowing that if they can do it, then it's physically possible to do it. It works somewhat.
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Old 11-15-09, 03:48 PM   #3
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i really enjoyed going mtbiking without my front brake...i learned how to 'drift' on some fast switchback descents...and i still use that method at times to negotiate odd corners/turns....

try it! plus your bike is that much 'lighter'....
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Old 11-16-09, 12:32 AM   #4
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Maybe find a corner that has a low chance of you getting hurt if you crash, maybe an off camber uphill turn off of a hill traverse, and just run it faster and faster till you slide out.
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Old 11-16-09, 08:39 AM   #5
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You have to slowly move up to it, slowly moving toward failure (tires breaking loose and crashing)

Best time to do that is in practice, you dont really want to test the limits of your tires/bike/ability in a race.

I spent a day riding around the bases at an old baseball field. It had rained the day before so the infield was muddy, but not too muddy where you sink in. Just slick enough where it was scary to rail the corners. So I started out slow rounding the bases, then went the other direction. Slowly I built up speed till I was pretty much sprinting into the corners, coasting just a little, then hit the corner w/o hitting the brakes.

This has helped me tons in races. I am now taking corners faster than ever
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Old 11-16-09, 09:12 AM   #6
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Maybe find a corner that has a low chance of you getting hurt if you crash, maybe an off camber uphill turn off of a hill traverse, and just run it faster and faster till you slide out.
Thats exactly what you have to do. Get on your bike and crash. Does it hurt? No. Then push your self to that point in all corners. You have to find the spot where you are about to crash but recover or you are going too slow.

Oh and it would be crazy to take your front brake off IMO. And you shouldn't be using the front brake in corners. In fact, as you probably know , you shouldn't be using a brake in any corners but if you have to make it the rear.

It is tricky and I know what you mean by the instinct. And some times it takes a while to get it during a race, that is why warm up laps are so important. Last race I did on Saturday I finally got this one corner down to where I was actually power sliding around it, very fun
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Old 11-16-09, 06:26 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Those sound like much better ideas than going brakeless. I especially like the baseball field thing, although, remedial rider that I am, I'll probably start it on grass.

There actually were a couple of spots yesterday that were rocky enough that my fear of death managed to override the braking impulse. Unfortunately, it didn't carry over to the softer corners.
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Old 11-16-09, 07:59 PM   #8
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another thing i learned is to handle corners or fast curves better was leaning a bit further 'into' them (if that makes sense)...it made me feel more like i was in the bike than on it (which is why i want to get some mary-type flanged-out bars...at least for monstercrosson'

maybe it's the lower center of gravity...the gyro effect?
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Old 11-18-09, 09:51 AM   #9
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The best thing for me in cornering was to look ahead of the turn. Pick a spot ahead or through the turn where you want the bike's front tire to be and keep riding towards the spot while continuing to look ahead even more. Your body with make the changes to navigate the turn while your brain figures out the next spot to ride to. Concentrating on the spot you are at "now" wont help you set up for the next spot.

Where I practice there is a wooded patch where the MTB'ers have a technical part that zig-zags and loops through the trees, rocks and a narrow wooden bridge. By looking ahead the bike just follows the trail even though my shoulders and hip just clears the trees and the wheel misses the roots, all the while I'm trying to ride faster and not worrying about turning or avoiding something on the ground. The section is about 100 meters long and I'll sometimes do intervals as part of the workout. The intervals are not aerobic but do help in the technical skills.
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Old 11-19-09, 02:44 AM   #10
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thought I would add one thing.

you can use your rear brake while pedaling to help maintain traction, yet slow you through a corner. I learned about this after getting gapped through some technical turns by a more experienced crosser.
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Old 11-19-09, 12:23 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jonestr View Post
thought I would add one thing.

you can use your rear brake while pedaling to help maintain traction, yet slow you through a corner. I learned about this after getting gapped through some technical turns by a more experienced crosser.
That sounds pretty good. How much can I use the rear brake. Light squeeze? Feathering? Does it depend on how hard I'm pedaling? I have noticed that pedaling in a turn gives me a boost of traction, but I don't think I've combined it with braking. Sadly, I think I've gotten worse at this as the season has progressed after some early progress (before it was really muddy).
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Old 11-22-09, 05:34 PM   #12
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That sounds pretty good. How much can I use the rear brake. Light squeeze? Feathering? Does it depend on how hard I'm pedaling? I have noticed that pedaling in a turn gives me a boost of traction, but I don't think I've combined it with braking. Sadly, I think I've gotten worse at this as the season has progressed after some early progress (before it was really muddy).
I use a light squeeze and it really depends on how hard I am pedaling

I got it dialed in today and was gapping my group through the technical sandy sections with this little gem.

I would recommend setting your brake up for modulation when doing this initially, so you can get the feel for it easier than a less modulaty (its a word...dont look it up.) brake. You can accomplish this by lowering your straddle cable a little bit.
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