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Official Website of the Women's Cycling Association of Arizona (WoCAA)

Mountain biking in the off season – I need your help!

My favorite part of the off season is hitting the trails near my house in the McDowell’s. It’s a nice break from the road bike and a great way to keep fit.Ispend most of my time on the road bike andI’ve never really put much thought into fine tuning my mountain biking skills – just point it uphill and ride hard then point it downhill and scare myself.Just kidding, I’m not really THAT bad, but I’d like to get better and I think someone out there can help me (I know I have some teammates who can)!

Tight switchbacks kick my butt. I do fine decending, but don’tdo quite as wellwhen I’m goinguphill. Does anyone have sometipsfor navitating aswitchback – let’s saygoing uphill and downhill?

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6 comments

1 Spring { 09.25.09 at 5:02 pm }

Hi Mary, I miss you. OK my two cents…butt way back past your seat on the down switchback and butt way forward on your seat on a climb switchback. Just try it…it works:) Hope to ride the trails together soon.

2 Heidi { 09.26.09 at 8:36 am }

Hey Mary, Hope all is going well. Try while going up as you approach the switchback get your chest down while in the turn.

3 Melanie { 09.26.09 at 9:16 am }

Hey Mary! Good to hear you are on the MTB! I will come ride with you sometime. We should do a team MTB ride! Anyways, some directions are easier to turn than others. For example, I am good turning left on a steep downhill switchback, but turning right is hard for me. Find out what direction is easier, and then practice a tough section in the hard direction until you get it and/ or feel comfortable! Good luck!

4 Krista Park { 11.09.09 at 5:23 pm }

I just ran across this post while looking for cycling info in AZ.

My downhill switchback tips:
If one direction is easier than the other you are probably putting the same foot forward while turning both right and left. If turning left is easier you probably have your right foot more forward than your left. Try putting your left foot more forward on right hand turns and see if that makes right hand turns easier.

Step 2: point your inside knee into the turn, this will rotate your hips to point into the turn, which will rotate your shoulders, and head as well. If your feet are positioned correctly, they will not fight your hips. (once you really feel what I am talking about you can skip the knee part and just rotate your hips to point at the turn, right before you get there)

Step 3: weight the outside foot a bit so you do not wash out.

As for uphill:
Step 1: yes, get low

Step 2: look around the turn (not straight ahead) this will rotate everything in the correct direction.

Step 3: Pull up on the inside grip, and push down on the uphill (outside) grip, this will force the front tire to stay low and follow the turn. At first, over-do the push/pull to get the feeling. If your front wheel floats up off the ground and you have enough push/pull force on the bar, it will magically reposition itself along the correct line and (as long as you are weighted correctly and keep pedaling) you’ll swing right around the turn.

In both cases being able to trackstand will give you more time and confidence.

Hope this helps, Krista

5 Melanie { 11.09.09 at 5:27 pm }

Thanks, Krista! Great to have your advice!! Glad you found the site!

6 Mary Hall { 11.12.09 at 12:45 pm }

Wow! Those are some great tips! I’ll be out on the mountain bike tomorrow and will give them a try. I’ll let you know how it goes…

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