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Old 08-01-10, 05:31 PM
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genejockey
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Sheesh!

Okay, so last week, I finally figured out what happened to the folks slower than I am - they get up and out on the road earlier.

This week, I did my first climb of OLH since last fall.

Oh.My.Gosh.

It felt worse than the first time I climbed it 15 years ago - and the time was about the same, 35+ minutes. I managed to avoid barfing, but only just, because there was a nice breeze. MAN, I need to get my climbing legs back!

But the worst part was descending 35 - normally a blast, but it was almost as if I'd forgotten how to descend. Each time I approached a curve part of me would say "YOU'RE GOING TOO FAST!! YOU'LL GO OFF THE ROAD/INTO THE GRILL OF THAT ONCOMING SUV!"

I had to literally myself to let go of the brakes and push down on the inside handlebar. Then the next curve would come and the same thing would happen.

Cripes, it's like being a noob all over again! I gotta go up and down more, and not just along!
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Old 08-01-10, 06:46 PM
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Good that you got out and into the hills. It was a good day for it!

I suggest looking at the road where you want to go instead of the edge of the road or the grill of the SUV in the other lane. People tend to ride where they look, and not looking at the scary stuff means you're less scared and more confident. Also, looking as far up the road as you can see helps with descending confidence. Since you see stuff when it's farther away your brain gets more time to process it so you feel less rushed.
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Old 08-02-10, 12:10 AM
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silentben
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Hey the good news is that next time you climb it you'll probably cut 2-3 minutes off your time!
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Old 08-02-10, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
Good that you got out and into the hills. It was a good day for it!

I suggest looking at the road where you want to go instead of the edge of the road or the grill of the SUV in the other lane. People tend to ride where they look, and not looking at the scary stuff means you're less scared and more confident. Also, looking as far up the road as you can see helps with descending confidence. Since you see stuff when it's farther away your brain gets more time to process it so you feel less rushed.
while this is great advice and makes total logical sense, I was never able to use it. I only got better at descending by descending a lot. To descend, you need to climb. So practice is a win-win.
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Old 08-02-10, 01:02 PM
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One of the best pieces of descending advice I ever read was to point your chin where you want to go. It tends to put your eyes and your mind on the road FARTHER ahead, and not on the immediate road in front of you (or the grill of the oncoming SUV).

I KNOW this, I've practiced this, and I know it works. But yesterday, my eye kept getting drawn to the immediate road in front of me.

The craziest thing is this is a road I've descended a gazillion times - I should have it memorized by now. But it was like it was completely new to me!

MAN! I gotta climb some more, so I can descend more. I guess I know what I'm doing every Sunday for the next few months....
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Old 08-02-10, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
Good that you got out and into the hills. It was a good day for it!

I suggest looking at the road where you want to go instead of the edge of the road or the grill of the SUV in the other lane. People tend to ride where they look, and not looking at the scary stuff means you're less scared and more confident. Also, looking as far up the road as you can see helps with descending confidence. Since you see stuff when it's farther away your brain gets more time to process it so you feel less rushed.
Great post. To elaborate try looking at the vanishing point. That is the point where the road curves. It does couple of things. One it tells you what kind of turn it is: constant, increasing or decreasing radius. The second, it helps/forces you to look through the turn. Specially when you are approaching the turn. So instead of looking straight ahead and seeing that road disappear you will see the beginning of the turn. Although all of this is just theory, and as the saying goes "practice, practice, practice". So find a road you a comfortable with and practice descending on it while concentrating on technique.
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Old 08-03-10, 08:10 AM
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Another piece of advise; descend in your drops and have your bars and shifters angled so that you can actually use the shifters and brakes well from the drops. Your center of gravity and control will be much better when you're in the drops. Also, if it's a long descent and you have to use your brakes a lot, adjust the brakes so that they engage closer to the bar instead of at a "hair trigger"; that means a lot of slack in the brake lever pull before the pads actually touch the rim. You'll get better modulation and your hands won't get as tired from extended braking.
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Old 08-03-10, 09:04 PM
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Other things that are important is a smooth, gradual movement from the outside of the turn to the apex and back. Try not to turn to tight or shallow as your correction will likely be an overcorrection, requiring yet another correction and likely grabbing the brakes. Also, shave speed off before you enter the turn, then let it sail though. If you have to grab brakes, bias more towards the rear as it won't put you upright as much as grabbing more front brake. Poor turn entry then grabbing front brake is a quick way to put yourself into the opposite lane if your speed is great enough.
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Old 08-03-10, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BlastRadius View Post
adjust the brakes so that they engage closer to the bar instead of at a "hair trigger"; that means a lot of slack in the brake lever pull before the pads actually touch the rim. You'll get better modulation and your hands won't get as tired from extended braking.
+ 1 million!
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Old 08-15-10, 08:36 PM
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I didn't go up OLH last Sunday - I was spooked by all the wind, so strong it almost blew the bike out from under me at least 4 times. I could see that happening in the way down 84...NO THANKS!!!

Today, however, was a much better day for it. Silentben was right - I took 2-3 minutes off my time, from 35+ down to 33 minutes. STILL didn't barf!

On the descent, I started out doing it all wrong again, then I remembered 'the chin thing' - point your chin where you want to go, it'll keep your head up, and your eye farther down the road.

It worked! Yeah, I was still way slower than I COULD have been. But I was a lot more comfortable, and felt a lot more in control.
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Old 08-17-10, 05:19 PM
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Forgive my ignorance: What/where is OLH? Still learning the Bay Area bike routes and always eager for a new ride.

EDIT: Never mind! I found it. I should have spent more time searching on my own.
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