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Noob--Went down Hard! Need Advice!

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Noob--Went down Hard! Need Advice!

Old 07-15-12, 06:31 PM
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poopisnotfood
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Noob--Went down Hard! Need Advice!

Long story short, I am fairly new to riding Cross-Country or single trail, etc. This morning I went to my local trail after a few days of pretty hard rain. When I dropped in (the trail is faily steep and technical, well by my standards) and I usually control my descent so not to get out of control. Apparently clay mud and pine needles make things insanely slick. I went down and went down hard when my bike literally slipped straight out from under me. I have a softball sized lump on my hip and it is going to be a nasty bruise, but I am fine.

My question is this, how do you guys handle slippery situations like the above. What did I do wrong or what could I do better to avoid this when I go out next weekend? I am really enjoying riding, just need to do it better. I think this is an engine problem, and not tires, etc. I say some guys go after me and they seemed to do fine, so it has to be something I am doing. I really struggled all day in this slop.
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Old 07-15-12, 08:27 PM
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Perhaps your brakes locked up? Slippery ground makes controlling your speed a challenge. Were the people who came by after you riding faster? Maybe they knew the trail better, and knew where they could do their braking.

I solve problems like this the simple way: if the trail looks questionable for my abilities, I just get off the bike and walk. I don't like pain.
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Old 07-15-12, 09:17 PM
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They were riding an Xterra race, so they were WAY out of my league. They were fast, and probably knew exactly where to brake. It is possible that I locked my brakes up, not a mechanical failure. So I guess that should be my question, is it better to ride the front brake going downhill which I tend to do, I usually use the back brake to set myself up if that makes sense.

In other words, I need help riding downhill.
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Old 07-16-12, 02:02 AM
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I'd say don't ride wet trails as a general rule. It leads to premature erosion of your trails in most areas. But assuming you had to for some reason, take it slow the first time. Like really slowly. Then once you've learned more where the particularly slick spots are, if the descent isn't too long, take it quickly. If you stay over your tires and don't hit any really slick spots, the bike shouldn't slide out. It's when you try hard turning or braking that you get into problems. Also, use the terrain. You don't want to be riding on a spot that's higher ground on one side of you if it's slick and you're going straight down. However, if you're trying to turn, the angle can help you from sliding out to the outside. Just practice very slowly and learn the terrain. As you get more experience, you won't need to practice each new terrain individually to figure it out, but for now going slowly will help you learn the technique. I've even leaned my bike at the side of the trail and walked things and gone over new areas on foot, stepping all over to get a feel for them before riding them quickly. I do this less now than I used to when starting MTBing, but still do it occasionally with things that are totally new to me.
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Old 07-16-12, 07:07 AM
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If the trail is steep, you'll need both brakes. You'll need to be very careful on the front brake, because you can't steer with a locked wheel. On slippery ground a momentary lock-up, such as when the wheel's weld line hits the brake pads (assuming rim brakes) or a brief change in traction, can cause you to slide out. Practice a lot, so you know what your brakes feel like at the limit of traction. Also practice moving your body back and forth for balance and to maintain traction while braking; if the back wheel slips, you can move your weight backward to help it hook up again.
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Old 07-16-12, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by poopisnotfood View Post
My question is this, how do you guys handle slippery situations like the above. What did I do wrong or what could I do better to avoid this when I go out next weekend?
Tires can make a huge difference. My Bontrager XR-1s that I run on one bike, they have many teeny-tiny knobs that are close together. They are fast on dry soil and downright dangerous on anything wet.

Really important to keep the wheels rolling. Guard against lock-up. There's an eroded ATV trail I sometimes ride. One of the downhills is side-sloped in spots due to erosion. I can't always brake in those spots, but instead must roll on through to a flatter spot more conducive to braking.

Pay careful attention to the changing shape of the ground under your wheels. Avoid lateral forces. Sometimes you can make use of dips and humps and ridges in the ground to provide something for your tire to push against, helping you retain control.

Finally, maybe just find a less steep trail to ride in wet conditions.
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Old 07-16-12, 11:13 AM
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Sometimes we wear bruises as a a badge of honor. But we all know that a sizeable bruise is a warning sign. Hope your's heals well. Hips are important in XC riding.

Wet clay and pine needles. I haven't done those for a long time. Very similar to ice. The previous posters have said good stuff. If you can find a less severe angle with those conditions you can try to develop skills and work up to steeper drops. You still have to climb out though.

And what was said about erosion and protecting the trails is vital. You don't want to damage an area and rouse the legions who think MTBing ruins the environment. Respect the trail.
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Old 07-16-12, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by poopisnotfood View Post
.....
My question is this, how do you guys handle slippery situations like the above. ....
simple...just have about 10 years experience riding. seriously. you probably didn't do anything "wrong," you are just new. don't worry about it, keep riding your bike, you will learn what you need to know, eventually.
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Old 07-16-12, 09:20 PM
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I hear you guys on not riding when muddy, this place usually closes the trail down when conditions are bad. I guess they opened them up because there was an Xterra race the same morning. I was naive to think it was ok, I just assumed, we all know what happens when you assume. Thanks for the suggestions, I will take them to heart, believe me. The bruise looks like someone hammered half a football into my leg. Hurts to sit....
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