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Thread: Root Riding

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    Senior Member GreenFix's Avatar
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    Root Riding

    I was wondering if anyone had any pointers on riding roots.

    Specifically there is a pretty technical trail that I like to ride, that climbs up the front side of a mountain and bombs down the backside. The climb up is on singletrack switchbacks. Several sections of the switchbacks are going perpendicular to the fall line, and there are prominent roots stretching across the trail and downhill. It has been fun to try to ride this climb as cleanly as possible, but I could use some pointers. I rode the trail a week and a half ago and there was a heavy dew on the trail. All of the roots were slick, and several times my rear tire slipped down the root and down the fall line pitching me off the side of the bike. I tried riding the high line, the middle line and the low line, but did not notice any big difference. I also tried weighting my wheels differently, but I did not have any great success.

    Any pointers?

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    Senior Member sarsparilla's Avatar
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    When I come up to a trail like the one that you mentioned alot of the time I will slow down and pick a line that I know once I start to really pedal there's nothing to slow me down, then I'll stand up and lift my front tire over the root, then try to power right over the root with my back tire, while I'm doing this I try to sort of lunge the bike forward (not too noticibly, just enough to get it over the root) and this sort of pulls the rear over the root. Also, this is just common sense I guess but I try to keep my center of gravity right over the root or else you'll really slide.

    This is just how I do it, I'm curious if there is a better/easier way.

  3. #3
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    Butt of saddle and stay loose.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
    Words and Stuff.

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    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    You have to find your 'torquing' gear. Its the gear that feels ideal between spinning and mashing as you don't want to do either. Then pedal into the roots, depending on how wet they are I attack them perpendicular OR straight on. The wetter then less likely I am to ride on top of a root and try to plow through them. Past that Kona is right. Butt out of the saddle and let the bike move around you. If you are loose your body and bike will adjust to sliding.

  5. #5
    Pup
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    I pretty much take the same route as Sarsparilla when I hit roots. I lean back so that my front tire is off the ground or barely touching and all my weight is over the rear axle. When I feel traction giving way, I lunge/hop forward, then lean back again.

  6. #6
    Just give'er. hooligan's Avatar
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    I just like to have fun, and I don't have that many roots. Once I went over them and I just let loose and hammered away, but that wasn't the smartest thing, as I probably couldn've lost tration on the rear wheel and screwed up. But it was still fun.

  7. #7
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Roots are easiest at speeds. Going slow over them allow wheels to slip and wheels to get stuck.

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    Senior Member geoduck's Avatar
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    I rode my regular loop at China Camp last Sunday, after all of Northern California was inundated with a pacific monsoon-type storm. It was dumping buckets in the AM! In fact, the paper this morning reported that Ah-nold (our Governator) got flooded out of his palace way up in Sacramento!

    Anyway, back to the roots...this was the first time this year I'd ridden in wet conditions, and this trail has lots of exposed roots. Not sick, completely-exposed root systems ala North Shore, but enough to pay attention to what line you're taking.

    I started out very, very cautious, and almost talked myself into a couple of spills by not keeping up enough speed/momentum. In general, speed is your friend; keep enough forward momentum, and keep your legs moving, and you can climb your way over a lot.

    Maelstrom hit the nail on the head; you want a gear combo that lies between spinning and mashing. For me, that combination will correspond to me wanting to get out of the saddle to clear the obstruction.

    Also, hit roots perpendicular whenever possible.

    Edit: or, just bunnyhop all the roots!

  9. #9
    The Man. FoX Rider's Avatar
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    Root riding eh?


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    Senior Member GreenFix's Avatar
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    Thanks for everyone's advice.

    The roots are easy to hit perpendicular, but it is not easy to carry speed over them, as it is a 45 minute uphill slog with no rests. I have no trouble with the roots going downhll, or even on the sections that are not off camber. It is mainly the combination of the off camber trail, and slick root that is the problem. You all gave me some things to try. I have been working on the torquing gear, but I am not quite sure what that is yet. I have a couple that I have been trying. I like the pedal and lunge technique that sasparilla and pup suggested. I'll give it all a go this weekend, and update the thread later.

    Happy riding

  11. #11
    Ride bike or bike ride? Hopper's Avatar
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    You are crazy, I wouldn't dream of riding a 45 minute uphill. Then again one of the trails I ride takes about an hour to get up the hill before you get to the entrance of the DH track. Damn I want a car.

    Also being that long, how much altitude do you gain and how long (in km's or miles) is that trail.
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    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    off camber roots...wow...ok thats tough...I would try to move your bike as pependicular as possible to the root...past that...bunny hop what you can. Seriously thats a worst case scenario for riding roots.

    hehe 45 min uphill is crazy? You do have mountains down there don't you. I haven't done it but to get to Gargamel requires a couple hours uphill...don't know vertical ft up though...couple 1000 I would hazard though.

  13. #13
    Ride bike or bike ride? Hopper's Avatar
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    Hey, Adelaide is on the Adelaide Plains. There are hardly any hills here. There are the foothills near where I am, but I only ride for a maximum of 30 mins on road up slow low grad hills to get to my riding spot, or 20 mins on dirt. The Adelaide Hills (not classified as mountains) have some sick DH runs, but they are too far from where I live to ride to, so if I do go, I have been driven there and usually get shuttle runs with my friends.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member GreenFix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopper
    You are crazy, I wouldn't dream of riding a 45 minute uphill. Then again one of the trails I ride takes about an hour to get up the hill before you get to the entrance of the DH track. Damn I want a car.

    Also being that long, how much altitude do you gain and how long (in km's or miles) is that trail.
    I am not sure what the mileage or elevation gain is. This is in Vermont, so it is not thousands of feet. It took me 45 minutes the first time I climbed it. It is pretty technical, and I am fairly new to the sport, so there was quite a bit of getting back on my bike. I have climbed it several times since the first time, and I am pretty sure I have it down to considerably less than 45 minutes, but I have not timed it. I was thinking of getting a computer for my mountain bike to track those things.

    I live in the Connecticut river valley, and all of the rides around here begin with a big climb. Not a lot of elevation, but plenty steep and technical. Most of the guys I ride with enjoy the climbs in our own masochistic ways, but I think you have to if you are going to enjoy the cycling at all. Thanks again for the pointers. There is only one guy I know that rides the trail cleanly, and he rides a full rigid single speed (he is also monstrously strong and technically far beyond me). Maybe it is time to upgrade my equipment.

  15. #15
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenFix
    There is only one guy I know that rides the trail cleanly, and he rides a full rigid single speed (he is also monstrously strong and technically far beyond me). Maybe it is time to upgrade my equipment.

    Or, maybe it's time to go retro and full rigid single speed and ride with this guy more often!!!!!!!

    Riding with better riders will increase your own ability significantly faster.

    L8R
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  16. #16
    Senior Member GreenFix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a2psyklnut
    Or, maybe it's time to go retro and full rigid single speed and ride with this guy more often!!!!!!!

    Riding with better riders will increase your own ability significantly faster.

    L8R
    Though I was unclear, that is what I meant by an upgrade.

    After riding the kingdom trails (the best single track I have ever ridden) with him, I built a single speed up from an old scott 4130 frame that I had. Full rigid, wide scott bullhorn handlebars (the offroad ones), stx cantilevers, 36-18 for the hills and because I am a beginner. However, I need a left sided crankarm to finish the build, because the pedal threads are stripped on the STX crankset I used. I plan on finishing hte build by the time the snow begins to fly, and using the bike this winter as an intro to single speeding.

    I totally agree with you about riding with better riders. I learn sooo much every time I go out with other riders, and I have found that I generally enjoy cyclists company.

    Happy riding.

    If anyone is interested:

    http://www.kingdomtrails.org/

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    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Dang I really need to find some riding partners. Thats my biggest weakness. Everyone here is pro level or injured. So I don't end up getting out with people better than me. Or...I ride with the dreaded jumpers. People that only ride jumping trails which I don't like. There was only 2 people good to ride with. 1 had both his bikes stolen and the other moved away (and I couldn't ride the days he was riding)...

    oh well

  18. #18
    Senior Member GreenFix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a2psyklnut
    Or, maybe it's time to go retro and full rigid single speed and ride with this guy more often!!!!!!!

    Riding with better riders will increase your own ability significantly faster.

    L8R

    Sorry to dredge up this old thread. I do not spend much time on these forums anymore, but I got some great advice when I did including psyklnuts advice above. I took your advice psyklnut, and my main ride is posted below: '05 solo-one with an ENO freewheel and some on-one mary bars. This bike rips, and has become my go to bike for trail rides. Thanks again,

    GF

  19. #19
    Gravity Is Yer Friend dirtbikedude's Avatar
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    Looks like a nice build. I was away from the forums for a while also. So did ya ever clear the trail?

    Hey Meal, talking about ride partners, did not slc move up there? Is he still riding?


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    Senior Member GreenFix's Avatar
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    I have not ridden the trail cleanly yet, but I rode it on Saturday with the single speed, and it was the closest I have ever come. It was also the fastest I have ever ridden the trail. I think that the Mary bar helped a lot with the roots. It makes it easier to loft the front of the bike, and is very precise. The rigid fork also helps. The Judy XC air on my geared bike is not nearly precise as teh rigid fork, and probably weighs 3 pounds more. The last thing that helped is single speed. I find controlling the bike in a taller gear easier than when I am spinning my geared bike. I am thinking of going to a 1X9 set up on the geared bike.
    Overall, I have determined that I am basically a lazy rider on a geared bike. The single speed forces me to put the hammer down and go for it on the trails. I really like the results.

    Thanks again to everyone for their advice.

    Cheers,

    GF

  21. #21
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Not to side track but

    Hey Meal, talking about ride partners, did not slc move up there? Is he still riding?
    Yeah he did. But then got both his bikes stolen and his MX. We did ride quite a bit before that and he loved the trails out here. Couldn't believe how steep they were compared to chicago. For a bit he was actually scaring himself in Bellingham. He just got his insurance covered and has a session 77. So we should be riding again soon

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    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenFix
    I have not ridden the trail cleanly yet, but I rode it on Saturday with the single speed, and it was the closest I have ever come. It was also the fastest I have ever ridden the trail. I think that the Mary bar helped a lot with the roots. It makes it easier to loft the front of the bike, and is very precise. The rigid fork also helps. The Judy XC air on my geared bike is not nearly precise as teh rigid fork, and probably weighs 3 pounds more. The last thing that helped is single speed. I find controlling the bike in a taller gear easier than when I am spinning my geared bike. I am thinking of going to a 1X9 set up on the geared bike.
    Overall, I have determined that I am basically a lazy rider on a geared bike. The single speed forces me to put the hammer down and go for it on the trails. I really like the results.

    Thanks again to everyone for their advice.

    Cheers,

    GF
    I have the same issue. BUT, the odd trail I need the gearing, extra torque. I can usually run 32x17 no problem on most trails but on the trail I ride about once a week, I need a tiny gear. You need to torque down so much I can't do it for 90minutes on one gear.

    Either way congrats on the progression. Sounds like you are enjoying yourself.

  23. #23
    Too Much Crazy C Law's Avatar
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    this may sound counterintuitive but


    It is so much easier to ride on exposed rooted sections without a suspension. sure you get bounced around a lot more but the front wheel is more predictable.

    Speaking of Kingdom Trails, I always bring my geared dually when I go there but next month I am definately going to bring my singlespeed. The darling hill side is Singlespeed heaven I think. I may be wrong but I am going to give it a try.

    I would give the Burke MTN. side a try on the one speed too. Although, I don't know about climbing the toll road in a 34x16 combo.

    I am going to post some pics of UDMA when I get a chance to download them. I was up there for a few days last week and popped some pics. Pretty cool singletrack at KT.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Drunken Chicken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopper
    You are crazy, I wouldn't dream of riding a 45 minute uphill. Then again one of the trails I ride takes about an hour to get up the hill before you get to the entrance of the DH track. Damn I want a car.

    Also being that long, how much altitude do you gain and how long (in km's or miles) is that trail.
    I climb 30 minutes every weekend to get to that nice DH trail I love (only 5 or so minutes but in my opinion it's worth it. (It actually takes an hour and a quarter to get from my house to the trail entrance.
    2005 Ironhorse 7.3
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonaRider24
    Butt of saddle and stay loose.
    NOT! When going uphill over roots, your best bet is to remain seated and pedal smoothly and strongly. Being clipped in is key, especially if you are on a HT. I hope KonaRider24's advice is only meant for roots on flats and downhill.

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