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Old 05-28-05, 04:11 PM   #1
tri-berkeley
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Fear of downhill

While there is one ride that is fairly flat along the bay here, most of them are pretty much straight up and straight down. Surprisingly (to me at least), I much prefer the uphill part of the experience. I used to do some mountain biking and absolutely loved going downhill, but on a road bike going 30-35 mph down pavement scares the crap out of me. I end up giving my brakes the death grip which ends up amplifying any bumps in the road for the rest of my body. I'm always afraid I'm going to go flying off the side of the hill or run into a car. Any suggestions on how to relax and feel a little more comfortable on these descents?
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Old 05-28-05, 09:19 PM   #2
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The only way to become more comfortable at high-speed downhill is by practicing riding really fast downhill. Find a big hill without much traffic and gradually increase your speed. Soon you'll be in the 50 mph range on downhill and will be more comfortable with crosswinds and somewhat more touchy handling.
Good luck, and don't crash. Scope out the path for potholes and roadkill before starting.
-jim
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Old 05-29-05, 12:19 AM   #3
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what's the benefit of going 50?
if gravity does all the work and i'm on winding, mountain roads i don't go above 30-35 either. it's simply because i have too much respect for speed, oncoming traffic, debris or sand that may be on the asphalt that wasn't there the last time, or anything else.
if it's really long, straight slope where i do at least part of the work myself i feel fine going 40.
i've had people on mountain- and fitnessbikes overtake me. so what? if i had wider tires with a profile i'd be going faster too. or if i knew the street were closed and it's a race. but why when it's just training / for fun?

in conclusion: i don't need to prove to myself or other riders out there how big my nuts are. it's just training.

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Old 05-31-05, 08:57 AM   #4
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The thing about going fast liek that in training is so you get comfortable with it for racing. The point of doing 50, when gravity can do it for you at 30-35? Well hte obvious, 15mh difference. Also you are allowing lactic acid to build up in your legs when you arent using them(same reason you should be spinning faster in the last 2km of a Tri)
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Old 05-31-05, 09:11 AM   #5
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I love the downhills. They're better than roller coasters 'cause you're in control. On my ride yesterday I took a twisty downhill with a speed limit of 25 for cars at about 30-35 and had a stupid grin on my face the whole way down.
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Old 05-31-05, 09:28 AM   #6
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How stable is your bike on descents? Some bikes just go where you point them and eat up descents, others have minds of their own and can feel really skittish. Ive been scared witless riding down mountain roads on unfamiliar, flighty bikes.
If you want to lower your speed to a safe level you can increase aerodynamic drag by raising your torso and ease up on the brakes. Feather the brakes a bit and bleed off some speed before entering a corner.
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Old 05-31-05, 09:35 AM   #7
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Also you are allowing lactic acid to build up in your legs when you arent using them
i don't get this statement...
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Old 05-31-05, 04:39 PM   #8
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Look as far down the road as you possibly can. This is something I learned while racing motorcycles. The further down the road you look the slower it seems that you're going. On downhills if I don't feel comfortable I'll get out of the aerobars and just get into as an aero position as I can without being on the bars.
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Old 06-01-05, 07:54 AM   #9
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I get high on lactic acid
 
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Originally Posted by james_holden
i don't get this statement...
WHen you allow your legs to be idle, ie. just coasting down a downhill as opposed to pedaling down it. You allow more lactic acid to build up, making your muscles sore.

Atleast thats how I understand it to work, I could be wrong.
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Old 06-01-05, 09:28 AM   #10
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ok now i get it...

not too sure how it is (scientifically) either...normally i would think that not doing anything would give the muscles a chance to recuperate.
from experience however my legs feel stiff whenever i leave them completely idle while going downhill. they feel fresher i if spin along - essentially without resistance...
i suppose that is the effect that really slow regeneration-workouts have: blood flows through the muscles so that they are refreshed faster.
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Old 06-01-05, 08:42 PM   #11
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Cool, thanks. I think looking further down the road is a big part I'm missing. I just got my bike fit as well, so maybe I just need to get comfortable again. Thanks for the ideas...
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Old 06-06-05, 08:24 PM   #12
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i had a scary high speed shimmy last year and I did'nt like it, up till that day I was hitting 40 without pedaling , but no more, now I stay at 30.

and it doesn't matter if you pedal or not at that speed. you can't pedal that fast anyway.

if you stay at 30 you can , but you can always downshift to keep your legs spinning without going any faster.

I got no desire I get hurt, it would be the end of triathlon for me if i did. my wife and daughter wouldn't deal with that very well.
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Old 06-06-05, 11:41 PM   #13
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This thread is for me....I'm a brake rider too. Top speed downhill somewhere around 35 mph and I was indeed close to soiling my shorts!! You are not the only one. Glad I'm not the only wuss!! (she said with the best intentions )
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