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Old 01-30-08, 06:55 PM   #1
prhey404
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How do I ride up seemingly impossible hills?

So I am just getting into mountain biking... I bought a fsr xc from my local bike shop, didn't add anything, so it's still stock. I went riding yesterday and had the most fun in my life at Oleta park. I was getting used to the hills and getting enough confidence to start riding faster. I was doing good, zooming tree roots and zooming up hills, when I saw another hill coming up, and FAST. I was building momentum and riding up it when I saw a huge tree root at the top, how the heck was I supposed to jump that at the top of a 5 foot hill??? I slammed into it, of course, and almost fell backwards (thank GOD for my front brake)!!! How should I approach it next time? Also... I got lost on another trail, and again, was doing well with turns and jumps until there came another hill, this one, literally IMPOSSIBLE, it seemed! But must not be if it's there. Pretty much it was like, (im guessing) about a 70 degree angle upwards, almost straight up!!! I'm in pretty good shape so I know I can do it if I keep practicing...

HOW DO I RIDE UP THOSE STEEP ASS HILLS???
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Old 01-30-08, 07:02 PM   #2
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You don't jump it per-say, instead you just want to pop the front wheel over...like a slow motion bunny hop but both wheels do not leave the ground, at least not at the same time. Once the front wheel is over pop the back one over as well. Clipless pedals help a lot with the back wheel IMO but aren't necessary. It should help a bit that you have rear suspension, but don't rely on it to do all of the work. Getting the front wheel over is a balance between unweighting the front end enough to pop it up and not faling over. Practice. Momentum helps.

As for steep hills non-technical hills, anticipate them and build up speed, then power up them. A good set of legs helps. Again I like clipless pedals because I can pull up for short bursts but again, they aren't necessary.

Finally, not all climbs are rideable. If you 'aint hiking, you 'aint mountain biking. [/tired phrase]
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Old 01-30-08, 07:09 PM   #3
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thanks! I saw a few threads about clip-less pedals, got to check those out. might get some once I get more experience. So are you saying full speed ahead, but when I get to the top of the hill with that tree root, I have to do that part slower, and concentrate about getting the front wheel first, then the back one? In my mind I was thinking (funny, I know) that I would have to go really fast and jump over the whole thing on momentum. I guess not! I have so much to learn. Thanks for the advice! I'll keep this in mind when I confront it again this weekend!
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Old 01-30-08, 07:47 PM   #4
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On short hills make sure you are in the gear that you are going to need before you start the climb. Even if you end up spinning like mad at the bottom, your drive train will hold up much better. After a few times out you will start to know what gear you need to be in, and those short climbs will be easy.
For the roots, you need to practice on level ground first just picking up the front and rear wheels seperately. After you can cross logs and roots with one wheel at a time, then you can start trying to clear with one jump.
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Old 01-30-08, 07:52 PM   #5
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Do like a horsehop type thing./
Front tire, then back tire.
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Old 01-30-08, 08:40 PM   #6
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I have been reading my manuals, have to make sure I know what the drive train is... I can go over roots, but not a log yet, so far I have been avoiding them. The gears as well, the guy who worked at the park told me so far to only use the right (or back) brakes mostly, and front brake only in emergencies. There is a practice obstacle course separate from the trails to practice on, there are logs there, and a narrow bridge too, which I have to practice on, too. I'm so glad I found this forum, so much good advice and inspiration and knowledge on here. Thanks for all the responses! I'll repost here about how I do this weekend, after I confront the beast again... Thanks!
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Old 01-30-08, 08:43 PM   #7
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I have been reading my manuals, have to make sure I know what the drive train is... I can go over roots, but not a log yet, so far I have been avoiding them. The gears as well, the guy who worked at the park told me so far to only use the right (or back) brakes mostly, and front brake only in emergencies. There is a practice obstacle course separate from the trails to practice on, there are logs there, and a narrow bridge too, which I have to practice on, too. I'm so glad I found this forum, so much good advice and inspiration and knowledge on here. Thanks for all the responses! I'll repost here about how I do this weekend, after I confront the beast again... Thanks!
Proper usage of the front brakes is fundamental to braking technique. A large portion of your braking power comes from your front brakes. Don't worry about getting thrown over the bars. As long as your weight is back, it is difficult to get thrown over the bars by sheer braking force along (on flat terrain at least)
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Old 01-30-08, 08:50 PM   #8
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Your suspension will also help you from going head over heels.
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Old 01-30-08, 08:54 PM   #9
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Your suspension will also help you from going head over heels.
Not necessarily. You can easily bottom out poorly adjusted suspension, which could result in frame failure. Also, if you bring your bike over a log, but don't lift weight off the rear wheel, then you could easily hit the suspension in such a way that the force is applied laterally versus vertically, which would mean that the bike would not go over the log and the suspension would not compress... Which will end up in a very, very sudden stop.

</past experience>
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Old 01-30-08, 08:56 PM   #10
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I can see that one of the most important things I need to learn is how to brake and use my gears correctly. With more practice I know I will learn. The thing is, I see that if I fall in these trails, could be pretty nasty. especially on hills, and drops, that if I make the wrong move, well, (don't want to think about that right now). I am BIG on safety, don't want to get too excited and break anything on my bike (or myself). It's just that it's so much fun, I know I want to compete eventually. Also I see that from shifting my weight during turns and leaning back from the saddle and letting it flow over hills turns is big too. Pretty much I come from a runner, basketball background, mtb is totally new to me. I'm comfortable, but don't want to get too excited and hurt myself.
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Old 01-30-08, 08:57 PM   #11
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what is bottom out?
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Old 01-30-08, 08:58 PM   #12
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I can see that one of the most important things I need to learn is how to brake and use my gears correctly. With more practice I know I will learn. The thing is, I see that if I fall in these trails, could be pretty nasty. especially on hills, and drops, that if I make the wrong move, well, (don't want to think about that right now). I am BIG on safety, don't want to get too excited and break anything on my bike (or myself). It's just that it's so much fun, I know I want to compete eventually. Also I see that from shifting my weight during turns and leaning back from the saddle and letting it flow over hills turns is big too. Pretty much I come from a runner, basketball background, mtb is totally new to me. I'm comfortable, but don't want to get too excited and hurt myself.
Getting hurt and breaking gear is part of the sport.

EDIT- Bottoming out your suspension is when the suspension has no more travel left, IE it's compressed fully. At this point, any more stress will be applied to the wheels and frame. A very hard landing could bottom out your suspension, potentially bending a wheel, cracking a fork, smashing your linkage or compromising your frame.
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Old 01-30-08, 09:07 PM   #13
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Your suspension will also help you from going head over heels.
Uh, you don't want your fork to dive under braking. It's indicative of too much weight in the front.
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Old 01-30-08, 09:16 PM   #14
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My dealer at my LBS pumped air into the shock (I think), which somehow does something for the back wheel, rear suspension, pretty sure of that. I'm trying to read the manuals but when I go over roots and big rocks I can feel the suspension, how it helps. I felt kind of bad when there would be at least a 4 foot drop and I would slam down and keep riding. See, I just bought this bike and I'm new to this... And when riding street (when I don't have time during the week to hit a trail) ride over street curbs and everything... What I'm trying to say, what is the timeframe that I have when I beat up the bike on the trails, before I can expect damage to a new bike? I would hate to just start and break something. But like ProFail said, damage is part of the sport. I think really I just need to keep learning and go with the flow... Practice makes my curiosity perfect! Bottom line, I'm HOOKED!!!
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Old 01-31-08, 06:52 AM   #15
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theres no way you can make it up a 70 degree hill.
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Old 01-31-08, 08:21 AM   #16
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God damn. You think too much. Just ride your bike. With time and experience, you'll find what works for you.
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Old 01-31-08, 10:59 AM   #17
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Use your front brake _a lot_. Just not to the point of locking the tire. It'll be 'hello trail' if you do. When you're on the brakes, all the weight is coming off the rear and it makes it easy to lock the rear tire and skid. Locking the rear is no big deal, it just tears up the trail for the next guy and it doesn't slow you down much.

As far as the log at the top goes, Pop a wheelie and get your front over it. When your chainring touches it, you can drive forward on the ring, then pop the rear over it. If this is the technique that many people have used, the top of the log will be seriously chewed up by all the chainrings. You only have to be careful to not slam the chainring into the log too hard. They can take a pretty good shot, but doing this wrong will bend stuff up.
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Old 01-31-08, 11:58 AM   #18
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God damn. You think too much. Just ride your bike. With time and experience, you'll find what works for you.

Best damn advice Iíve heard all week.
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Old 01-31-08, 12:03 PM   #19
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it sounds like you need to make a few upgrades to your bike.
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Old 01-31-08, 12:05 PM   #20
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Best damn advice Iíve heard all week.
Junkyard is known far and wide for his "cut to the chase" type wisdom!
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Old 01-31-08, 12:13 PM   #21
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Junkyard is known far and wide for his "cut to the chase" type wisdom!
I do what I can. But, that is the first time someone has referred to my posts as "wisdom". I'm flattered.
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Old 01-31-08, 12:29 PM   #22
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Learn to ignore burning quads and lungs & urge to puke.
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Old 01-31-08, 12:31 PM   #23
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My thought is that for someone who is just getting started, you're rushing into tackling some pretty hard things. I'd work up to it more - let your skills grow to the task a bit. You can get hurt out there.

- Mark
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Old 01-31-08, 12:32 PM   #24
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Learn to ignore burning quads and lungs & urge to puke.

Same advice that I give to most of the women that I date.
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Old 01-31-08, 12:36 PM   #25
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Same advice that I give to most of the women that I date.
LOL

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