How your body position affects the quality of your ride
The number one focus for riders should be what the next move is. Riders often talk about being ready or staying in balance as their priority when on the bike. Although indeed important, if that’s your number one focus, you may be holding yourself back from your true potential. Looking ahead and being prepared for your next move is what will allow you to charge with certainty down the trail.
If you ride being focused on what you need to do next or what the trail options are then you are able to move down the trail more efficiently. The trail shouldn’t make the decision for you or make you ride defensively. As soon as you do that you are getting taken for a ride not going for a ride. What sounds more fun?
While hands-on mountain bike skills coaching is your best bet at learning how to ride better, reading tips and techniques about it are also helpful. Learning through visual, auditory and kinesthetic styles will reinforce the skills you are trying to absorb.
Here are some tips on how to ride on the offensive:
• Physical and mental level: Ask yourself how do I feel? This will determine how aggressive you should be riding that day.
• Trail: Look at the trail to see what its challenges are. Does it exceed your mental and physical state?
• Environment: Take into consideration temperature, weather variables and distances being traveled.
After taking those things into consideration let’s look at how we hold ourselves on the bike. Our position is forever changing as it goes through the variables a trail can throw at us. So we need to be ready, in balance, or as we like to say, “on the offensive.” We will sometimes use the term attack position, too, as it has that sound of being aggressive.
The picture at the top of this column shows what your middle range of motion is for a good offensive riding position. Take a look at the picture and note some aspects of this postion:
• See how the rider has a centered, or neutral position, on the bike.
• Notice where the COM (center of mass) is.
• Look at where the feet are and how the weight is in line with the bottom bracket. This is what we would call LOG (line of gravity).
• Weight is almost centered in the wheelbase, or the BOS (base of support).
• Finally, look at where the eyes are looking – they are focused ahead.
This excerpt courtesy of A Singletrack Mind, a professional mountain biking skills coaching. Learn more at asingletrackmind.com.