Improving trail riding skills...
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Thread: Improving trail riding skills...

  1. #1
    Member TWBigBlake's Avatar
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    Improving trail riding skills...

    Did some riding on Sunday with Plumbstraight and while I know I physically have my weight working against me, it felt a lot like my problems on the rock candy trail (rock candy mountain, wa) was picking a line through the roots and large chunky rocks as I’m negotiating switchbacks.

    For anyone familiar with the area (or anyone with good constructive criticism), would places with easier trail systems like Tahuya (knowing there are difficult trails there as well before I get mobbed) be a good place to practice picking lines and negotiating obstacles?

    Or should I head back up to rock candy and just get it dirty and practice the tougher trails?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Trail Woman's Avatar
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    Hmmm......II'm not familiar with these places, your skill level or ambitions but my best advice is practice slow standing driving and tight turns standing. On flat ground for starters. These exercises improve balance and in time transfer to muscle memory that can compensate for unpredictable fish tailing and loosing traction. Also work on your ability to dab a foot while riding standing. Sometimes your bike kicks out sideways and you need to put a foot down which can be done with control and feels a little like pushing yourself on a skateboard.

    Another thing to consider when riding is weighting and deweighting strategically to gain traction and smooth out your riding.

    Picking your line wisely will minimize the difficulty of your riding but even picking the best line takes experience.

    If your weight is more then the suspensions intended weight then you need to compensate for lacking suspension with your legs. My weight is under the intended weight and I still need to stand and use my legs as the stock TW suspension travel is very short.

    If you really want to challenge yourself riding in a few inches of snow is like light mud only cleaner and by the time spring thaws your riding will have greatly improved.

    Watch instructional youtube videos like "Cross training enduro skills" or "Heddletowns enduro ride" for example.
    Last edited by Trail Woman; 06-04-2019 at 07:46 PM.

  3. #3
    Member TWBigBlake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Woman View Post
    Hmmm......II'm not familiar with these places, your skill level or ambitions but my best advice is practice slow standing driving and tight turns standing. On flat ground for starters. These exercises improve balance and in time transfer to muscle memory that can compensate for unpredictable fish tailing and loosing traction. Also work on your ability to dab a foot while riding standing. Sometimes your bike kicks out sideways and you need to put a foot down which can be done with control and feels a little like pushing yourself on a skateboard.

    Another thing to consider when riding is weighting and deweighting strategically to gain traction and smooth out your riding.

    Picking your line wisely will minimize the difficulty of your riding but even picking the best line takes experience.

    If your weight is more then the suspensions intended weight then you need to compensate for lacking suspension with your legs. My weight is under the intended weight and I still need to stand and use my legs as the stock TW suspension travel is very short.

    If you really want to challenge yourself riding in a few inches of snow is like light mud only cleaner and by the time spring thaws your riding will have greatly improved.

    Watch instructional youtube videos like "Cross training enduro skills" or "Heddletowns enduro ride" for example.
    For little frame of reference, some good advice, I definitely use my legs to help soften bumps, I’ll try standing like you said and practice turns like that, I was definitely hunkering down on the switchbacks.

    Thanks for the response!
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  5. #4
    Senior Member RockyTFS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Woman View Post
    Picking your line wisely will minimize the difficulty of your riding but even picking the best line takes experience.....
    Amen. This was what I had the most difficulty with after a 35 year hiatus in riding single track trails. I still have problems picking the ideal line 8 years later. My old brain just doesn't function as fast as it used to.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member Leisure Time Larry's Avatar
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    Capitol Forest is a great place to practice. There are many miles of trails, most of it double track, that offers differences in terrain from packed dirt to rocks to sand. If you check out my YouTube channel, I have a series of long videos of riding around a large loop through there on the trails. I wanted it to be a reference for others such as yourself to see what it is like. Some of the steeper and more difficult stuff is in the Rock Candy area. The Porter Creek area on the west side is easier woods riding and the Waddell to Rock Candy is sandy out of Waddell until you get into the woods further north.

    Tahuya can be fun, but if it's busy, it can also be dangerous as the trails are two-way and the danger of head on collisions is real. There isn't much difficulty there IMO, but there is enough area to ride to make for a fun day.

    Have you ditched the stock front tire yet? Wanna be a better rider, get a Shinko 241.
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    Senior Member sub251's Avatar
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    There are some good tips and training exercises in this book: https://www.amazon.com/How-Ride-Off-...gateway&sr=8-1
    The author runs an off-road training school.
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  8. #7
    Member TWBigBlake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisure Time Larry View Post
    Capitol Forest is a great place to practice. There are many miles of trails, most of it double track, that offers differences in terrain from packed dirt to rocks to sand. If you check out my YouTube channel, I have a series of long videos of riding around a large loop through there on the trails. I wanted it to be a reference for others such as yourself to see what it is like. Some of the steeper and more difficult stuff is in the Rock Candy area. The Porter Creek area on the west side is easier woods riding and the Waddell to Rock Candy is sandy out of Waddell until you get into the woods further north.

    Tahuya can be fun, but if it's busy, it can also be dangerous as the trails are two-way and the danger of head on collisions is real. There isn't much difficulty there IMO, but there is enough area to ride to make for a fun day.

    Have you ditched the stock front tire yet? Wanna be a better rider, get a Shinko 241.
    I’ve checked out some of your adventure ride videos and one where a guy rides off a rock into a fence... but I’ll check out your capitol forest videos, I saw a couple other videos with some double track trails that just looked fun, thinking “where the heck are those trails?” and finally got some DNR maps.

    I did get rid of that stock front tire and use a shinko 700.

  9. #8
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    If in doubt, slow down — (as someone on here said, it’s not a race — before haring off into the distance)

    Sometimes you can see where the tire tracks go which makes it a bit easier, but always go at your own pace — anything else is going to end in you getting flustered. The TW is capable of taking almost it gets thrown at, the rider is not

    Skills come with time and practice, so “take your time and practice” — don’t just try to keep up with the guy in front. Although you may be able to keep up, your brain and body is going to get tired and start making mistakes

    I can get over almost any terrain the guys in Moab could — but after 20 mins, I’d had it — (fortunately, I found some nice soft sand to rest in)

    You are facing two things — skills, and endurance — one is useless without the other

    Everyone takes their own individual time to build these two things up, there is no shortcut to that. You are fortunate to have Plumstraight as a guide, he gives good advice. As you may have noticed, the keyword here is “time” — take as much as you need, and you will get to where you want to be

    If you feel you need an easier trail, then find one — if you need to “pick” your way along the tricky bits, then do so — this is all about “you” — don’t judge yourself by others

    Run at your own speed, and in your own time …..
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  10. #9
    Senior Member ejfranz's Avatar
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    Root riding takes practice and momentum, you need to attack them. It is best done standing. Your weight needs to be back and a bit of throttle to lighten the front wheel so it can get over the root. Once the front tire is over the root you need to get your weight forward, roll off the throttle until the rear tire is on top of the root and continue on your way. Most people try to ride them too slow and get hung up. If you do get hung up do not try to spin the tire to get over, all you are doing is digging a deeper trench in front of the obstacle or polishing the root making the obstacle more difficult for the next rider. Either back off the root and roll back down the hill to try again or physically pull the bike up over the root.
    Yesterday on my ride I hit a polished root and lost all traction and slid off the path I wanted to get over the lager root bundle causing me to get stuck on the lager root. I backed down the trail and tried again missing the polished root and easily get over the larger root bundle.
    The area I ride in is similar to capital forest with the exception it is all motorcycle single track. Lots of roots, loom and loose rocks.

    The Shinko 700 does not have an aggressive enough tread for single track riding. The trials tires work great in the PNW as they will grip roots allowing you to manoeuvre.
    Last edited by ejfranz; 06-05-2019 at 08:26 AM.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member Trail Woman's Avatar
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    A little momentum goes a long way. The same applies for any low traction surface. Accelerating makes it worse...sometimes a little clutch feathering carries the momentum without breaking traction. Or riding in lhigher gear with lower RPMs.
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