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descending with brakes scariness

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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

descending with brakes scariness

Old 07-20-21, 08:09 PM
  #1  
Symox
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descending with brakes scariness

Hello,

Been doing a ton of hills lately and have really improved my technique with suggestions from this forum. One thing I have noticed that I could use pointers on is when I'm going fast and need to slow down more than just "feathering" the brakes, I find if the road isn't nice and smooth I get an uncomfortable shaking feeling as i'm pushing my weight back. Kind of difficult to describe, but here's the scenario:

I'm descending full speed and realize I need to slow down quick (not an emergency) so I apply the brakes (mainly the front) firmly but gently while pushing my weight back. The chatter of the road combined with my stiff arms makes my vision shake to the point where I feel like I'm on the verge of losing control. If the road were smooth this doesn't seem to be an issue.

Any pointers to help me out? Is it that in pushing my weight back I'm stiffening my arms and need to stop that?

P.S. This forum has been fantastic in helping me improve my riding technique and I thank you in advance for continuing to do so
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Old 07-20-21, 08:23 PM
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You should only be as tensed as necessary, the more relaxed the better
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Old 07-20-21, 10:25 PM
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1. Hands should be pushing against the drops only enough to keep your body back. Elbows should be bent and arms should be flexible enough be absorb bumps.

2. Weight should be on the pedals, not on the saddle. Cranks should be horizontal, especially if the road is rough. You can drop the outside pedal into the turn, if the road is smooth enough.

3. Did I mention no weight on the saddle?
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Old 07-21-21, 03:29 AM
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Shaking and the sense of about to lose control shouldn’t be a part of the experience. Slow down until handling and maneuvering at those speeds feel within your skill set.
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Old 07-21-21, 05:36 AM
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Just to reiterate, you shouldn't be continuously pushing your body back. Before you begin the descent, lift off the saddle and move yourself back. Then settle in, lightly, and grip the saddle with your thighs. Hands on the drops rather than the hoods will give you more control, comfort and stronger braking. All that said, some of us will never be fast on downhills.
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Old 07-21-21, 09:41 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Symox View Post
Hello,

Been doing a ton of hills lately and have really improved my technique with suggestions from this forum. One thing I have noticed that I could use pointers on is when I'm going fast and need to slow down more than just "feathering" the brakes, I find if the road isn't nice and smooth I get an uncomfortable shaking feeling as i'm pushing my weight back. Kind of difficult to describe, but here's the scenario:

I'm descending full speed and realize I need to slow down quick (not an emergency) so I apply the brakes (mainly the front) firmly but gently while pushing my weight back. The chatter of the road combined with my stiff arms makes my vision shake to the point where I feel like I'm on the verge of losing control. If the road were smooth this doesn't seem to be an issue.

Any pointers to help me out? Is it that in pushing my weight back I'm stiffening my arms and need to stop that?

P.S. This forum has been fantastic in helping me improve my riding technique and I thank you in advance for continuing to do so
Maybe don't stiffen your arms. Your arms and legs should be acting like springs, so your body and head don't experience the bumps as severely.
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Old 07-21-21, 09:52 AM
  #7  
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There's good info above, but I have also found that concentrating on moving forward and pedaling through those hairy spots helps me keep from stiffening up on the bike and making things much worse.
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Old 07-21-21, 10:05 AM
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Also check you tire pressure and make sure it is in a good range for your weight, rim width, etc. Stay off the saddle. Make sure your front wheel has some weight on it but don't hold it like a vise. Some times on really fast turns I weight the outside pedal and I feel it is mostly to keep the weight distribution stable as opposed to pedaling through the turn. I am usually the fastest descender in my groups (unless a real racer joins up who can pedal harder on the straights...then I just chase and it is even more fun) and I use a lot of my mountain biking techniques. I find that you want to keep the front somewhat light on fast DH runs but keep it weighted a bit on turns for sure. I'm rarely actually sitting heavy on the saddle and constantly touching/hovering over it even when coasting DH at 45-50 and not pedaling. YES, stop stiffening and locking out your arms. Keep them firm for control and bent slightly. Keep the weight back for the fast downhills but keep those hands secure and elbows slightly bent always. When not pedaling, I often keep my leading foot just above parallel to the ground to act as a stopping spring to prevent me from going forward if I hit a bump unexpectedly. Try one technique at a time and practice, if you cannot think of them all at once. I also scan the road in front- 30-50 feet ahead constantly, to look for debris, deer, whatever.
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Old 07-21-21, 10:14 AM
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Alass I no longer can ride fast enough to get that feeling. It's that feeling where you know you are going to fast and must maintain control and concentration or else. You trust in your pre flight check list, your road conditions and on coming traffic. You trust in your skills... AND YOU FLY!!!
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Old 07-21-21, 10:23 AM
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i generally do not descend fast when road conditions are crappy, when when nice i fly.

fast is fun but only when safe. i'd hate to wipe on some of the descents i do, i fear that if i ever went over the side it would be a day or two before i was found.
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Old 07-21-21, 11:58 AM
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You might also check your headset adjustment and make sure your rims are clean and straight (if you have rim brakes).
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Old 07-21-21, 01:30 PM
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You need weight over the front wheel for it to brake properly (maintain traction) so throwing your weight back isn't a great idea. Maintain a neutral body position
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Old 07-21-21, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Jack Tone View Post
You might also check your headset adjustment and make sure your rims are clean and straight (if you have rim brakes).
Make sure to also check that your wheels are properly dished. I was feeling a bit unstable on fast downhills last summer, and it turned out my rear wheel was a few millimeters out of dish. It made a huge difference.
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Old 07-21-21, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
1. Hands should be pushing against the drops only enough to keep your body back. Elbows should be bent and arms should be flexible enough be absorb bumps.

2. Weight should be on the pedals, not on the saddle. Cranks should be horizontal, especially if the road is rough. You can drop the outside pedal into the turn, if the road is smooth enough.

3. Did I mention no weight on the saddle?
All good advice, but the key is that you don't want to be thinking about any of these things at all while you're doing them.
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Old 07-21-21, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
All good advice, but the key is that you don't want to be thinking about any of these things at all while you're doing them.
But you do need to think about these things when you're learning and practicing the technique, until they become second nature.
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