Learning to backflip my MTB

Learning to backflip my MTB


This is how you learn to backflip using only
the tools you have access to. Whether it’s a snow mound, a mulch pile,
or a lake, there’s always the chance you’re gonna snap yourself in half. Back in my day, we gave props for this kind
of resourcefulness and courage. Going full send was the only path to progression
and glory. Many have risked their lives to land the coveted
backflip, one of the most committing maneuvers you can pull on a bike. To all who have tried, whether you succeeded
or not, I salute you. But these days, there are safer, more progressive
ways to learn flips, including facilities like these. Welcome to the Highland Training Center, an
indoor wooden park featuring a foam pit and padded box known as a resi jump. I’m here today with my buddy Phil, to accomplish
one goal: roll away from a backflip. Phil pulled his first backflip at 13 years
old, at a facility very much like this one. The Highland Training Center is part of Highland
Mountain Bike Park, in New Hampshire. I visited Highland last year and found that
most of the features there were above my paygrade. The place is full of huge drops, doubles,
slopestyle jumps, and tricky wooden features. Today I’m getting vengeance on all the stuff
I chickened out on last year. Progression always feels good, but I didn’t
drive all the way to highland just to send some drops. Back at the HTC, we warmed up in the foam
pit. Even last year, I attempted some backflips
and got hang of the rotation. But according to Phil, there’s more to it. Landing tires down on one particular ramp
is fine and dandy, but adapting to multiple scenarios is a different story. Flipping into this foam pit is now muscle
memory, but that won’t help me when I try the real thing. This resi box has a shorter approach, which
is harder to get speed for. In preparation, I’m trying flips at different
approach speeds, heights, and distances. Lest you think foam pits provide free progression,
take it from me: they don’t. In fact, foam pits are tiring to session,
difficult to climb out of, and harder on your bike than you would think. They also provide a false sense of security. This foam pit is a powerful tool, but I’m
anxious to move on. It’s time to attempt a flip on the resi
box. A resi box is like a real jump, except it
gives a bit when you land on it. The surface is also slippery so that you don’t
get scraped up when tumbling across it. The problem with this resi box, is that the
approach isn’t that great for a full suspension mountain bike. Were I on a hardtail or bmx, I’d have an
easier time pumping the roll-in. On my mountain bike, I need to take a few
cranks to get up enough speed. Not a very impressive bail, but I did seem
cognizant of the fact that I wouldn’t complete the rotation. Knowing that my instincts are intact, actually
gives me more confidence to try again. This time, I’ll try pulling the bike towards
me to speed up the rotation. And with that, I rolled away from my first
backflip. I really wanted to catch the landing perfectly,
but needed more practice to get the distance. This session ended when I started to push
my luck. I landed on the resi without consequence,
but the bike slid directly into my funny bone. Since then, I’ve lost a lot of sensation
in my right hand. I’ll be seeing a doctor next week to hopefully
get it sorted out. This winter I hope to find a good jump to
practice on, so that flips can become something I do casually. Bike park season is nearing its end, so that
should give me a chance to heal up and focus on other kinds of mountain biking. Thanks for sharing this special moment with
me, and do check out the link below to pay your respects to those who learned to flip
with limited resources. Also, subscribe to Skills with Phil to learn
all the ins and outs of the backflip. He’ll be posting a tutorial on his channel
in the coming weeks. Thanks for riding with me today, and I’ll
see you next time.