How To Descend Like A Professional Cyclist | Ride Downhill Faster & Safer

How To Descend Like A Professional Cyclist | Ride Downhill Faster & Safer


(dramatic music) – You may have seen our
descending videos before. And those tips are still valid. Everyone assumes that to
be a pro at descending, you have to go as fast as possible, but there’s so much more
to it than just that. – Yeah, we know we should
be racing downhills, but that doesn’t mean we can’t
practice the basic principles of descending which will make
us more confident descenders. Thought I lost him. – [Man] First up is the
assessment of the road ahead. Observing where the road is
going, to be able to judge your speed around the corner,
you need to accurately asses where the road is heading. Which direction you need
to be preparing to turn, and how far you’ll need to lean, and ultimately how fast you will be able to navigate the corner. – [Man] Know where to break and how hard is critical to safely entering the corner on the right line. Is your braking zone on good
tarmac, how hard will you be on the breaks while they are slowing down, and do you need to modulate
the pressure applied based on the surface conditions? – Deciding on where the
exit of the corner is, is one of the most important
parts of judging your speed. If you can’t see far enough ahead, as you know what’s coming,
this is also known as the vanishing point and is crucial
because you need to be able to stop in that distance. – If the corner is tightening,
and you want to scrub some speed off, enter the
corner with a tightening of your line so you’ve got
a nice exit to the corner. On the other hand, if you’ve
got a fast flowing corner that opens up, this is the
perfect opportunity to go in wide and come out wide,
setting you up perfectly for the next corner. – If you do have a clear
line of sight, then great, go fast but stay safe. If, on the other hand, you
can quite see what’s around the corner, then keep in
mind that literally anything could be coming the other way. In the mountains especially,
coaches and delivery lorries are not an uncommon sight and
they take up the entire road. An obstruction mid corner
can result in a disaster if you’re not expecting it. Either a slam on or a
big swerve to avoid it. Either way, not ideal. You want to be able to preempt
a mid corner obstruction, by always expecting the unexpected. – [Man] The road service beneath you needs careful consideration. Not all asphalts are made
equally, they certainly don’t grip equally either. In the wet we all know we
need to use more caution, but even riding the shady side
of a hill will have less grip than the side that basks
in the sun all day long. – Does the road lean
into the corner with you, or does it in fact drop away off camber? If it does drop way off
camber, you cannot go anywhere near as fast, as you’ve
already got more of a lean angle on your tires than you otherwise do. A well cambered corner on
the other hand, is kind of unrivaled at how fast you can take it. It feels like the holy
grail of descending. – Now we’ve got observation
covered, the next golden rule is to never exceed your limit. Actually you want to ride
within 90 percent of your limit. This will make descending a
lot more fun and enjoyable. – You’ll be affording yourself
plenty of reaction time by giving yourself a 10 percent buffer. After all, imagine absolutely
pushing it on a descent and making one tiny mistake,
only one thing’s likely to happen and it’s gonna hurt. – [Man] How much of the road can I use? By now, having answered our
previous category of questions, you will have built up a
picture of how much of the road is available for safe use. You can only ride into what
you can see and you need to be able to stop if something is coming. – Another key aspect is
knowing that in the event of a puncture or a brake issue
that you can use the runoff, and you can do this by knowing
the descent and knowing the road you’re riding on. That was a close one. – All of these questions and observations are an ongoing process whilst
descending and they all will happen within hundredths of a second, but the more consciously
you ask yourself these questions, the quicker and
more confident the answers become, to the point that
you can completely switch off and enjoy the ride
safe in the knowledge that nothing can go wrong that
you don’t have an answer for. – [Man] So brake on time, keep
your weight over your tires, don’t hang off the side
of the bike, moto style, as we don’t have 200
kilograms beneath us so this isn’t really necessary. Instead, go for smooth,
relaxed and balanced movements on the bike. Sure, if you’re going fast,
you will feel like you’re throwing it from corner to
corner, but in reality you’re aiming to maintain a
good flow of the momentum from one corner to the next. Aim to get lower of the
bike and keep your weight centered between wheels. Don’t drag your brakes through the corners and certainly don’t
grab at them mid corner. Using all of the observation
techniques will really accentuate how you are able
to use your natural ability and convert that into speed. The actual physical control
of the bike will then take a very natural progression
in making you a lot faster. Pros are really good at assessing when to really push your limits, and when to back off and just ride tempo. – The same rules apply to descending. Whilst pros often do look pretty quick, there is a time and a place for it, and training is not one of them. There are no prizes for crashing when you’re out on your own. – No, and to be honest, pros
are so used to racing on closed roads and roads
they recce an awful lot. You don’t think Chris Froome
just chanced that epic descent a few years back, do you? – Good point. If you enjoyed this video
give us a big thumbs up, for more how tos click down here. Let’s go uh.
– Yeah, I mean we haven’t done it enough here,
– Quite right. – have we, so let’s hone our skills. – Go!