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Dr1v3n 01-20-22 09:41 PM

Eye position
Coming from riding roads, I've always had success by not looking down near my front tire, or even right in front of the bike, but keeping a high visual horizon probably 200-500 feet out front (depending on speed). Another reason to do this is to spot cars at intersections and driveways. Is this also recommended for mtb in general and especially when descending at high speeds? One thing I did notice is that on roads, since the majority are smooth, I don't really have to "look" for obstacles in my main vision as much because a pothole for example will stand out in my peripheral vision due to the contrast with the rest of the smooth road. However, on rough trails, I've noticed that there is less contrast as there are rocks and obstacles everywhere, so it's a bit harder for me to notice obstacles that I should be steering clear of versus those that I can roll over. Basically, the fear in my mtb riding is that I am trying to look far ahead, which is generally good, but I miss a nasty gutter, crevice, or large rock and hit it, sending me flying. I do ride a full suspension bike but I know that doesn't mean I can just hit everything straight on either. Any advice and/or resources on this would be appreciated.

obrentharris 01-20-22 10:46 PM

Your instinct is good. Shorten you 200-500 feet by a factor of 10. (20 to 50 feet) At least in the area where I ride, there are lots of rocks, roots, erosion gullies, bushes, and waterbars which demand attention.

Trust yourself: after just a couple rides you will figure out what works for you.

zandoval 01-20-22 11:07 PM

Muscle memory has been a gift for me. As my vision and attentive reactions decrease my years of experience are a true gem. Often I find my bike braking, swerving, skipping, and jumping over little things in the road that I no longer see. I guess that's why I am more comfortable with all my bikes set up the same. In the old days it was no big deal to switch from road to off road to bomber and back. Or even to slam the bars down and kick he seat up for a fast ride...

I know it sounds strange, and I am not a true Mountain Bike guy, but it just feels like its best to focus on things up ahead and let your body do the negotiating up close. If ya gotta think about it its usually too late...

cyclezen 01-20-22 11:53 PM

funny you should mention/bring up that topic.
In an effort to build/re-construct/polish what skills I might have and add on to them in a proper manner (nothing as fruitless as strengthening something which is improper to begin with...)<
I've been going thru a number of online sources, especially videos, on improving mtb techniques and understanding.
Top of those resources (for me) is the series done by Ben Cathro for pinkbike.
In his espisode on cornering, he goes over some key aspects of 'vision'.
He doesn't gauge or measure where his attention goes by 'distance'. He notes his attention hones in on 'difficulties' (potential or obvious) which lie ahead and become apparent, whether a few yards or just around a corner. Could be anything, a pinch of boulders, an unstable surface, anything which might have more problem than the surrounding area. He 'figures' his approach and then moves to the next problem.
It's really what we also do, on the road. It's just that the amount and degree of 'issues' experienced on-road is fewer and less varied that what the natural environment can throw at you.
So on-road, we often have the luxury of time and space and fewer 'problems' to solve - so we have the luxury of being able look further down our path, for the next difficulty.
In mtb, problems abound in amount, period and 'type', so they come at you faster, more often.
He suggests working attention from closest 'problem', until you figure it out, and then moving attention to the next.
Degree of the 'problem' is, of course, dictated by our own skills, knowledge and experience. So what might be inconsequential for him, may be death defying for me... LOL!
So, righfully, we roadies should also focus on the parade of issues, not just some arbitrary 'distance'....
Real world... in cornering at speed, on road, best is to make decent good decision on the road thru a corner, and look as far into the corner as possible. Somehow, magically, a corner becomes less 'sharp', less scary, when one looks as far into it as possible/visible.
anyway - Ben Cathro series - way worth the money...
Ride On
Yuri - my mtb skills are starting to 'suck' less... LOL!

prj71 01-21-22 11:14 AM

Originally Posted by Dr1v3n (Post 22381836)
However, on rough trails, I've noticed that there is less contrast as there are rocks and obstacles everywhere, so it's a bit harder for me to notice obstacles that I should be steering clear of versus those that I can roll over.

Get yourself a pair of polarized sunglassed. You'd be amazed at the contrast of obstacles on the trail when wearing polarized glasses.

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