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Old 06-29-09, 08:27 AM   #1
FooserX
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Mindset for learning mtb

I'm new to mtbing, and went on a decent ride this weekend (Matthew Winters Trail in Denver)...and while it was overall a basic trail...holy eff there were some parts that scared the crap out of me and I had to walk my bike down/over. It sucked.

I think the worst was switchbacks with one of those log thingies at the top...so not only do I have to worry about doing a tight switchback, then immediately there's a log/drop...I couldn't do it. And a few other spots along that trail and Red Rocks that were just too steep for me. My riding partner was able to do it no problem since he's experienced.

So I guess my questions is...when just starting out learning to mtb...should I start on easier courses and just keep riding daily to get experience? Or should I just man up and go down some steep trails/drops, etc and just figure it out by falling and getting up? lol Normally I wouldn't mind falling, but some of the rocks around here get pretty jagged and falling on a steep hill with rocks just doesn't look all that fun. lol

The beginners mtb thread/sticky was helpful...I just didn't know the best way to get good. Did most of you learn with friends who were able to teach you things? Did you start easy? Or did you just nut up and fall lots while going on difficult trails?

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Old 06-29-09, 08:38 AM   #2
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...should I start on easier courses and just keep riding daily to get experience?
X
I think you've guessed it right there. Find less scary versions of the challenging stuff and practice, practice, practice.
If fear is getting in the way, make the transition gradual. Your skin will thank you.
Finally, when you're ready for the big stuff, follow your buddies closely, and watch what they do. Copy when possible. Then the rest will be like butter.
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Old 06-29-09, 08:41 AM   #3
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I think you've guessed it right there. Find less scary versions of the challenging stuff and practice, practice, practice.
If fear is getting in the way, make the transition gradual. Your skin will thank you.
Finally, when you're ready for the big stuff, follow your buddies closely, and watch what they do. Copy when possible. Then the rest will be like butter.
Sounds good to me! lol

I felt like a big tiddybaby yesterday walking my bike down certain parts in the trail. Even the parts that weren't too rocky looking...I dunno...the steepness just scared me. :-( I didn't know if I just needed to put my ass on the back tire and go for it...and maybe it wouldn't be as bad as it looked. Like maybe my fear was not warranted.

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Old 06-29-09, 09:04 AM   #4
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It comes to you with experience.
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Old 06-29-09, 09:20 AM   #5
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How old are you? I'm 26 now and I would probably be cautious just like you. It sucks because back in my teens nothing would have mattered and I would have just taken the plunge, consequences be damned.

Pick and choose your battles my man. It's better to fall in some places than in others. If there are lots of rocks, you probably don't want to wreck. On the other hand, if there is just some dirt and a log, that might not be so bad. If you can't risk an injury because of work or something else then that's even more reason to be cautious. Otherwise, I say just go have fun and use your head. It's OK if you fall just don't do anything stupid.
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Old 06-29-09, 10:17 AM   #6
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My policy has always been listen to the brain, if the brain decides it doesn't want to do something, doing it anyway can have poor results. I learned to mtb in my thirties, so no fearless teen years in the dirt for me (fearless on the roads, though). I went out with more experienced riders and learned from them for a good part, but also reading about technique. A book you might want to pick up is Brian Lopes & Lee McCormack's Mastering Mountain Bike Skills, good stuff. Mostly your confidence will come with experience.

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Old 06-29-09, 11:16 AM   #7
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I think when you get older you get more cautious of what ya do cause you have to pay the bills haha. Im just now learing to ride myself and hooked up with a local bike club that offers free beginners classes every other sunday.

I just take my time...if it looks like a soft landing im a little more daring ....if it looks like a week in the hospital i walk.
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Old 06-29-09, 11:19 AM   #8
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Im still a newbie but i do anything within reason, i don't do trails really but i do dirt jumping, i find things to be way scarier when looking at them. Don't sit and think wether i should do it because your mind will think of the worst thing that will happen. That also outweighs the positives. You can fall and hurt yourself in many ways which we know from experience. The thought of that brings you to the idea it's not worth the risk. Or you could wait a week or 2 and you'll probably end up trying it. I always see jumps im afraid to hit. After a week i always find myself trying them and thinking it's not so bad, until i eat crap. But that's my opinion. Anyway have fun riding

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Old 06-29-09, 11:24 AM   #9
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My policy has always been listen to the brain, if the brain decides it doesn't want to do something, doing it anyway can have poor results. I learned to mtb in my thirties, so no fearless teen years in the dirt for me (fearless on the roads, though). I went out with more experienced riders and learned from them for a good part, but also reading about technique. A book you might want to pick up is Brian Lopes & Lee McCormack's Mastering Mountain Bike Skills, good stuff. Mostly your confidence will come with experience.
+1 on this book. I couldn't think of the title/author, but it has definitely helped me. I'm in my late 40s and still have a ways to go. Alot of the fun of MTB is gradually overcoming the scary stuff. I've found that a few basic tips and even just a little practice (more is better) go an awful long way. MTB=steep learnng curve.

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Old 06-30-09, 05:57 AM   #10
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I think it's wise that you're man enough to get off your bike when you know you can't do a certain "area." Laying in a hospital and not riding for weeks sucks even more.

Ride within your skill level, but you'll know when it push it just a little bit here and there. Funny thing about skill level - it doesn't stay the same, even if you're not consciously trying to improve it. You just naturally get better in time. After a while, your brain will tell you your 'norm' is beginning to get boring and you know it's time to venture into more and more difficult track areas.

Why rush the learning curve? It's the best part!

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Old 06-30-09, 09:30 AM   #11
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^ True. My wife was pissed when I was in the hospital for four days. Takes time, enjoy the learning curve.
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Old 06-30-09, 11:28 AM   #12
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Yeah, I guess it just sucks walking my bike to safety when other riders on the trail are going FAST on the downhills and do things so effortlessly. Maybe if I had on those knee pads I wouldn't mind taking a spill.

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Old 06-30-09, 12:34 PM   #13
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^ True. My wife was pissed when I was in the hospital for four days.
That's nothing compared to having to nurse a collarbone and cracked ribs over the course of a 25th-annivesary vacation. Hell hath no fury and all that . . . . trust me.
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Old 06-30-09, 12:40 PM   #14
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You walk before you run. Everyone's been there, unless you're some kind of singletrack prodigy.
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Old 06-30-09, 12:43 PM   #15
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That's nothing compared to having to nurse a collarbone and cracked ribs over the course of a 25th-annivesary vacation. Hell hath no fury and all that . . . . trust me.
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...over your 25th anniversary vacation?!?!?!? Dude, you hit the trifecta of doom. You should've played the lottery, that day. Seriously, and I mean this sincerely, I feel for you, brother. Any one of those would've been sufficient to have the sheepish look and to take your licks like a man, but all three?

Damn, some people are just overachievers.
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Old 06-30-09, 03:52 PM   #16
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I second what everyone has said already. I have done a fare share of off road biking in the mid-late 80's up to the mid 90's then took a break from it, I am now getting back into it and in my 40's I am not going as fast as I did in my 20's, all in time...
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