I was out riding the Komodo at the Mansion today. (which really RAWKED my world) I noticed a few things that I take for granted. I've been riding for a while, but I feel sometimes a nooblet may not even think about these little techniques that could help them progress and enrich their trail time. Most of this spawns from riding behind a noob or non-skilled hack and cringing when I watch them pick a line or treat their bike like a personal Sherman Tank and plow through something w/o finesse.
1. When I cross a wet root, wet fencepost/water-bar, or wet rock that crosses the trail...I hit it at 90 degrees. I watched a guy the other day hit a wet root at about 70 degrees and his back wheel slid out from under him.
2. In a similar sense...when I do a technical climb with rocks and roots, I slightly lunge my body up and forward (sometimes not even noticeable...just shifting weight) so my momentum carries me past the obstacle therefore I don't rely on the traction so much from my rear tire to push me through/over a small techy obstacle.
3. When I approach what looks like several roots, a rock garden, or the like...just as my front tire reaches the first obstacle, I use the "bounce" off that obstacle to help propel my bike up and over everything else.
4. When I get to a little dip or chute in the trail...I try to pump the transition to propel me forward. (think 'half pipe' on a skateboard)
5. I always wear a "doo rag". I fold over (upward) the bottom edge (above my ears, eyes, etc...) about 1/2" or so as to create a gutter to channel the sweat back away from my eyes.
6. When I do a drop in the trail, no matter how small, I manual off it so that my tires either hit the bottom side simultaneously or rear first.
7. When I take a fast turn, I push down on my bars so I have traction "where it counts".
8. When I am in "sit'n'spin" mode and decide to "stand'n'honk"...I always shift up 2 gears b/c my standing cadence is slower than my seated cadence. Just the opposite when I'm standing and I need to take a break...I downshift 2 gears so I can keep up the RPM's.
9. When I get to a medium size hole, small crossing, or edge where the trail raises up on the far side...I almost always either manual or lift the front end up and try to let the rear tire follow the contour of the trail until it reaches the "up side". Then I push forward and shift my weight so my rear wheel doesn't take the brunt.
10. When I get to a fair size bump...I either hop it or p/u the front end and then "rock forward" taking all the weight off my rear wheel so it will roll over it w/o too much blunt force smacking the wheel. I have watched so many dudes just hack into a log and wonder why their rear wheel is bent. Heck...I watch people cross logs w/o even standing up
11. 95% of the time, I have my index fingers over my brake levers...ready to grab 'em.
12. I usually coast with my cranks parallel to the ground (even through a turn) until I really decide to "G" the turn and push into it. Then I always put my outside foot down and push into the turn with my foot to gain traction...trying to keep my body fairly straight up'and'down and letting the bike lean into it.
13. When I'm pedaling through rocks or junk sticking up...I am mindful of where my pedals will be coming down as I spin. If I feel my pedal will be coming down at an obstacle, I will give my crankset a little "1/2 rotation" sorta "ratchet action pedal" so I still have momentum, but now my pedal will come down beyond that rock or root.
14. I always brake harder with the front. (duh) Almost to the point that I lean into it and nearly do a stoppie into a turn.
15. When I have a long climb (paved or gravel road type) in addition to locking out the fork, I move my grip out to the very ends of my grips to gain leverage over the climb.
16. When downshifting up-hill, I pedal hard to "surge" forward--then soft-pedal as I shift to the easier gear--then put the power back down after the chain has dropped into gear. I know, it seems like a no-brainer...but dadgum I've seen/listened to some nasty crap out of desperation.
17. Tight techy turns (switchbacks) work really well for me when I allow my front tire to follow the outside of the turn...even if it's the top of a berm.
18. Slow, technical climbing...I pay more attn to where my rear tire is than the front.