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What do you think about during a fast descent?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

What do you think about during a fast descent?

Old 08-24-17, 04:16 PM
  #76  
floridamtb
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
+1

Not sure if I should envy those doing 40+ or feel sorry for them. I'm obviously a coward. I start braking at around 27 mph.
I live in pan flat south Florida so I've lost my descending skills and bravery. I get up to the mountains once a year and I now ride the breaks pretty hard on descents. Could also be that I'm older and wiser than when I went screaming down single track descents in northern Cal in my 20s.
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Old 08-24-17, 04:54 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by Trsnrtr View Post
Hit 53.9 mph today in table top flat Illinois.
I live in Illinois where? I have a few hills here that 40 is possible but not 50.
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Old 08-24-17, 05:10 PM
  #78  
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On the tandem again once I was descending into La Jolla (San Diego). The speeds were <40, but they had just paved the road. My 160PSI (Tufos) tires were digging in. I was afraid the road wouldn't hold up - so I slowed down. It was then I realized I was grown up. Soon after that I got married and had a kid.
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Old 08-24-17, 07:12 PM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by deacon mark View Post
I live in Illinois where? I have a few hills here that 40 is possible but not 50.
East Peoria.
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Old 08-25-17, 10:46 AM
  #80  
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I rode up Pikes Peak earlier this summer. The way down was very fast, 40+mph for miles and miles. I was flying!


I was surprised at how weak my rim brakes felt. The bike would start to accelerate quickly as soon as I let go of the brakes, and it seemed to take forever for the brakes to slow the bike down. So the whole time I was worried about getting the bike slowed down enough for each upcoming corner.
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Old 08-25-17, 03:33 PM
  #81  
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I"m usually too busy thinking about catching the ones who beat me up the climb to think about much else.
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Old 08-27-17, 02:36 PM
  #82  
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death, dying, vegetative state of being, more death, being pecked/nibbled to death by crows/squirrels while slumped over a cactus roadside,
missing out on post-ride junk food/beer gala, other cyclists not stopping, too incapacitated to upload ride to strava, hoping i can find a replacement
for my favorite saddle online somewhere.
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Old 08-27-17, 03:36 PM
  #83  
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Saturday I was thinking I'm grateful for good brakes, a lightweight bike and good luck.

While riding an unfamiliar route I coasted down a curving descent. Suddenly, around a blind curve, was a four way stop sign intersection. Worst road design I've ever seen. No visibility, no warnings, nada.

A car was approaching from my right. I didn't have time to notice whether there was a stop sign on his side.

I scooted back off the saddle while locking up both wheels and skidding a foot or two. The rear end flipped up. I jumped off the saddle, both feet on the ground. The top tube nudged my groin but no harm done. I hopped forward about a foot, stumbled but didn't fall.

I looked at the driver to my right sheepishly, said "Whew!" and exaggerated a forehead wipe of relief. The driver's mouth was agape. They get a lot of cyclists around that route. Now at least one resident probably thinks we're all crazy.

Good thing I'm still riding platform pedals and Merrell shoes. No way I could have unclipped in time or freed my feet from toe clips.

So now I'm thinking -- besides "Go faster!" -- "Don't blast down blind curves!"
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Old 08-27-17, 03:41 PM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Saturday I was thinking I'm grateful for good brakes, a lightweight bike and good luck.

While riding an unfamiliar route I coasted down a curving descent. Suddenly, around a blind curve, was a four way stop sign intersection. Worst road design I've ever seen. No visibility, no warnings, nada.

A car was approaching from my right. I didn't have time to notice whether there was a stop sign on his side.

I scooted back off the saddle while locking up both wheels and skidding a foot or two. The rear end flipped up. I jumped off the saddle, both feet on the ground. The top tube nudged my groin but no harm done. I hopped forward about a foot, stumbled but didn't fall.

I looked at the driver to my right sheepishly, said "Whew!" and exaggerated a forehead wipe of relief. The driver's mouth was agape. They get a lot of cyclists around that route. Now at least one resident probably thinks we're all crazy.

Good thing I'm still riding platform pedals and Merrell shoes. No way I could have unclipped in time or freed my feet from toe clips.

So now I'm thinking -- besides "Go faster!" -- "Don't blast down blind curves!"
That would have been an acceptable clipless fall.

Glad you weren't hurt.
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Old 08-27-17, 08:15 PM
  #85  
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Thanks, guys and gals, for sharing your descending thoughts (and other tips).

The consensus seems to be...
1. Don't think about much of anything. Especially equipment, since that was checked over before the ride.
2. Focus on the present moment, which includes looking out for obstacles, planning lines through curves, etc. (This involves perception and response rather than deep thought.)
3. Yell "wheeeee!"

I tried this today on two descents. The first was mostly a straight shot - I pulled the brakes too early, but still hit 41MPH. The second was a bit more winding and technical. I literally talked myself through the corners, out loud, and yelled "wheeee!" a lot. I got a few looks from drivers, but who cares - it was a blast, and I hit a PR on that one.

I want to go again! Now!
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Old 08-28-17, 06:35 AM
  #86  
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I'm so jealous, guys in Illinois are hitting 50, whereas I'm surrounded by big steep hills, and have only managed 42mph sitting on my top tube with my head in from of the bars. Too many turns for me I guess. Also, I'm not real confident in my cornering.

At OP. I usually yell "whoo" after the speed slows.
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Old 08-28-17, 09:54 AM
  #87  
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Around me the steep descents are on roads that are in bad shape so my main focus is looking for potholes and bumps. My biggest fear is wondering what would happen if my carbon frame shattered at 40+MPH. I always stay off the seat to allow my knees to absorb the shocks and minimize impact.
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Old 08-28-17, 10:09 AM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by Ogsarg View Post
Around me the steep descents are on roads that are in bad shape so my main focus is looking for potholes and bumps. My biggest fear is wondering what would happen if my carbon frame shattered at 40+MPH. I always stay off the seat to allow my knees to absorb the shocks and minimize impact.
If you are worried about your carbon frame shattering, you should probably stop riding it altogether. I expect the effects at 20mph would be equally devastating.
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Old 08-28-17, 10:37 AM
  #89  
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If Im going fast enough..
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Old 08-28-17, 01:15 PM
  #90  
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Yeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwww....
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Old 08-28-17, 08:12 PM
  #91  
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"Do I brake to a safer speed?" versus "Will my braking heat my clincher tubes to blow out?" conundrum.

I end up braking intermittently, and using the rear brake more often since I figure that a blow out on the back will be less catastrophic, perhpas.
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Old 08-28-17, 09:10 PM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Not really thinking in a conscious sense. Just focused on the road, what's up ahead, and the thrill.
Same here!
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Old 08-29-17, 06:35 AM
  #93  
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The tour of Britain is passing my door and down the hill on which I live and I am wondering if we will have a crash on the hill as the road surface is not perfect - far from it. I dodge the holes and bumps as much as I can and try to keep at 30 mph or higher not to hold up the traffic. I live 1 mile from the finish of stage 4.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain | Stage Four, Mansfield to Newark-on-Trent

You can see the steepness of the end from the route profile.

http://d2cx26qpfwuhvu.cloudfront.net...Stage-4-AW.jpg
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Old 08-29-17, 09:38 AM
  #94  
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What do I think about? Ideally, nothing. Much like the Zen meditation, I want to be in a state where my mind is quiet and I'm not consciously thinking about anything and my brain/body can focus on properly riding my bike and reacting to the world around me -- it's very much why I ride.

This state is sometimes referred to as the FLOW state. Plenty to read up on it online in the context of athletics.

https://www.bicycling.com/training/s...nce-of-wheeeee
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Old 08-30-17, 11:13 AM
  #95  
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I usually think about going to plaid
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Old 08-30-17, 11:37 AM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
Oooh, you need to come and visit us here in Western Wisconsin. 45mph is a possibility on nearly every ride I take, and I'm a skinny climber The big guys easily get into the 50s!
South-Central and South-West Wisconsin too
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Old 08-30-17, 12:07 PM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
South-Central and South-West Wisconsin too
# driftless
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Old 08-30-17, 12:20 PM
  #98  
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Originally Posted by Nick Bain View Post
# driftless
Grew up in Illinois ... flat land is in my blood. It's been quite an adjustment, and we're on the FAR east side of driftless. But climbing to the top of a ridge, and looking out across the entire area, is so very rewarding. Hoping to tackle more and bigger hills to the west soon enough
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Old 08-30-17, 12:28 PM
  #99  
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It's just about the only time I'm NOT thinking about food or sex.
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Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.
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Old 08-30-17, 02:28 PM
  #100  
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Originally Posted by Nick Bain View Post
# driftless
+1.

Vernon County is my jam.
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