Downhills

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Postby Don Bolton » Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:25 pm

So this thing had lots of banter and quieted down as it should have.

There was lots of good input from others. Hopefully nobody got scared off by this thread.

Ride to where you feel safe and don't impede others. Ride YOUR pace and allow others theirs.

This years route features much tamer downhills compared to some of the "laundry chute" descents we had last year. It should be really fun no matter what your skill or confidence levels.

I would have not broached the subject but for the fact that the two times prior through here I've been trapped behind riders who believed themselves fast that would not yield a line to constant yells of "LEFT" from behind.

After 5 or 6 corners of being forced with blind opposite lane passing or diving inside to the right, I ended up with passing on the right as being the safest option based on their bike handling behavior prior.

This always elicits a tirade of how that's against the rules or something to that effect. Amazing how one can block continuously and then be incensed when you get by using the safest option they provide.


While on the road between Halfway and the Snake River watch the pastures adjacent to the road. Last time through there were about 10 or 12 horses running through the fields like children playing crack the whip.

There was a leader that would run seemingly aimlessly around some invisible obstacle course while the others followed behind. It was beautiful to watch their motions as they would accelerate, slow, and turn. At times they used the banking of the hillside to aid in the turns.

I could see them lean out their stride to pick up speed, drop lower in the front to slow and pivot their bodies in the turns. For the several minutes that they provided this magnificent display of pure animal joy I stood transfixed and I could feel their spirit inside.

When I fly downhill its not competition, its not some macho superiority, its just pure joy. A freedom of control, expression. focus. and joy that I find I share with other animals.

Its flying without wings, its instinct, its incredible! Something buried deep within our common genetic building blocks I expect.

I've always gotten along well with animals, likely cause evolutionarily I'm not that far off :D

Anyway. Be safe, enjoy the ride.

Don "Fastest cow in the west" Bolton
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Downhills

Postby wayneh » Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:30 pm

I can't compete with the eloquence of Mr. Bolton, but I can agree with what he says.

Not much in the way of downhills this year, except for the day into Joseph, which is really a beautiful ride on mostly forest servive roads as I recall. It's a great day on the bike. Be prepared for a cool start in the morning.

It's not about how fast, it's about how special, you make it.
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Postby ronnydb » Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:50 pm

That is pretty funny "Burrito Dynamics". I always said that gravity favors Taco Bell. :lol:

I also don't like to do it but will pass riders on the right if they are riding near the center line. And have been know to break the center line rule too. Sorry that is a racing term. Not allowed to cross the center line.

I am getting a bell this year my voice get horse yelling on your left all day long.

I don't feel like I am hammering. People ride at different speeds and I try to be tolerent and expect others to do the same.

Lets all have a good time and try to follow the rules but not blow up when it doesn't happen.

See you soon Ronny

Don Bolton wrote:Precisely why I started the narrative.

Burrito dynamics go slow uphill but fly down.

Even in the pro ranks there are downhill specialists and most of the pack are not really good downhill riders.

There are just some riders that unexpectedly have the gift on the downhills.

Don "feel the rush" Bolton

All about downhills wrote:
For this reason one should keep right except when passing (or avoiding surface deviations)


Don't assume you will go faster than the people you passed going uphill.

I'm not that great of a climber, but I fly downhills and have passed tandems, etc. and people are surprised by how fast I go down, especially when they passed me a while ago on the up.

the downhills on this year's course aren't anything wild (as opposed to descending from the top of Crater Lake


Those were great downhills last year. I was able to get to 48 on one before I had to slow down due to a turn.

I can't wait to ride! 2 weeks left!!
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Donny B.

Postby suziqt » Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:59 pm

Don,

See you next year???

SuziQT
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Re: Donny B.

Postby Don Bolton » Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:43 pm

Apparently unless you'll be there this year.

Don "looking forward to a relaxing tour" Bolton
suziqt wrote:Don,

See you next year???

SuziQT
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Postby Ragu » Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:00 am

Don B. : "Its flying without wings, its instinct, its incredible! Something buried deep within our common genetic building blocks I expect."


Nicely stated Don... I find myself laughing with delight on downhills. The pure joy of speed in a simple form, and wind in the face!
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Postby Oroluk Lagoon » Sun Sep 14, 2008 3:30 pm

One additional tip regarding descending turns: In addition to having your weight on your outside pedal, and your inside knee pointing into the turn, your inside arm should be straight or nearly so, and it should be pressing down more than your outside arm which should be slightly bent and somewhat relaxed.

As I started into those great descents with their big sweeping turns between Halfway and Joseph, I began to notice some wobble once my speed went up over 40. I realized I was pressing down equally with both arms and hands. As soon as I straightened the inside arm and let it do most of the work, the wobble disappeared instantly. The opposite of this technique would be the "Death Grip" that Don spoke of and is another factor that will cause and/or increase the amplitude of wobble.

BTW, I typically descend in the drops. I feel comfortable there with a lower CG and 2 or even three fingers wrapped around the break levers, and of course it gets me into a lower, more aero position.

Those descents, with tears (of joy?) streaming out of the corners of my eyes were one of the high points of the week for me.
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Postby David R » Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:54 am

In a high speed corner, both arms should be bent. All weight should be on the out side arm and outside leg. Putting all your weight on the inside arm is asking for the front wheel to kick out. Stiff arms can cause the front wheel to become unweighted if a bump is hit.

Please, lets not get this confused, if you doubt me then ask your local racer.
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Downhills

Postby wayneh » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:24 am

Daivid,

Thanks for the additional insights on handling downhills, probably the weakest part of my cycling skill set. My goal for next year is to spend more time practicing efficient climbing and then better descending skills that go beyond just hanging on and braking to keep my speed down. Its all about confidence and trusting your abilities on the bike.
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Postby Lazlo » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:47 am

I think my favorite downhill of the week was descending into Halfway after the climb from Richland. I hit my top speed of 43.5 on that one. Also enjoyed the long, straight descent into the Wallowa Valley, and the last hill down into Elgin. I checked my speed a lot more on the Day 5 downhills; I'm not so confident on high speed cornering, but got in some great practice.
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Downhills

Postby wayneh » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:56 am

Agreed, the downhill into Halfway after the Richland climg was sweet, and what I kept thinking about as I ground out the climb. I also enjoyed the downhill from Salt Creek Summit towards Joseph, but there were lots of road issues that forced one to avoid the potholes and fissures, which took away from the ability to just open it up. What a great last day, though, with that gradual downhill all the way to the Minam grade, and then the final long descent into Elgin. A great finish.
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Postby Chuck B. » Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:42 pm

Total agreement there...

Chuck "I'm much faster downhill than up" B.
The voices tell the stories. I just record them for posterity.

And the voices have some good ideas sometimes!
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Postby Oroluk Lagoon » Sat Sep 20, 2008 5:23 pm

Quoting TDF stage winner, Davis Phinney, regarding high speed turns:

"Keep your hands in the drops. Weight the outside pedal. Let your inside knee point into the turn. Straighten your inside arm as you push that side of the handlebar down."

Quoting Ed Pavelka, author, "The Complete Book of Road Cycling":

"Extend your torso to the outside of the turn while pushing the handlebar down to the inside. This accentuates the turning effect while actually decreasing the chance of skidding."

It works for me.
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Postby David R » Sat Sep 20, 2008 9:21 pm

"pushing the handlebar down to the inside."

This is not the same thing as putting your weight on the inside of the handel bar. This is pushing your bike down while keeping your torso weight to the outside for safer high speed cornering which is the same thing that happens if you put your weight on your outside leg and arm.

By putting weight on the inside you will increase steering which will decrease your turning radius which will decrease stability or increase the likely hood of the front wheel skipping out should you hit a bump.

HOW TO CORNER

For All Methods of Cornering:

Keep your hands in the drops, using a relaxed grip.

Look beyond the turn to where you are going; do not look down at the ground.

Drop your torso to lower your center of gravity.

Anticipate the speed for the corner and slow before the corner if necessary. DON’T brake in the turn! Get your braking done before the turn starts!

Ride outside-inside-outside:

Approach the corner wide and cut to the apex, finish wide.

Cutting to the apex of the turn too early is a common mistake.

Cutting late allows you to see beyond the corner and to have more road on which to ride after making the turn.

For Leaning:

Employ the steps for all Methods of Cornering listed above.

Mildly un-weight and move slightly back on the saddle.

Have your inside pedal up, your outside pedal down.

Straighten your outside leg and push down, putting weight on the outside pedal. This step is very important!

In practicing this technique you can put all your weight on the outside pedal so that you are standing on it, and your rear end is off the saddle.

The inside knee may be pointed toward the apex of the turn to help shift the center of gravity inside the tire line.

For Countersteering:

Employ the steps for all Methods of Cornering listed above.

Lean your bike towards the inside of the turn by body by extending your inside arm. This in effect makes you body lean away from the turn.

Pressing with your inside hand, keeping your body vertical and increasing the lean of the bike.

Pushing more with your inside hand will allow you to turn more into the corner creating a quicker turn.

Mildly un-weighting your inside hand will allow you to turn out of the corner.

Push down to increase the lean of the bicycle, not forward to turn the wheel. This technique gives excellent adjustment and control to cornering

The inside hip may be rotated forward, and the inside knee may press against the top tube.

For Steering:

Employ the steps for all Methods of Cornering listed above.

Keep the bicycle vertical.

Shift your weight slightly forward and to the inside of the bicycle by shifting your hips and sitting more on the inside of your saddle.

Straighten your outside arm, and push down and forward to turn, or steer, the bicycle.

You may continue to pedal around the corner as the bike will be upright at a 90 degree angle giving a great pedal clearance.

CORNERING DRILLS

Below are listed a few drill to improve your corning skills.

Choose a corner, a series of corners, or set up cones on grass or in a parking lot.

Have a skilled rider draw the "ideal" line with chalk.
Ride the corner alone a few times.

Ride following a skilled rider.

Ride two abreast to practice getting used to riding next to others.

Since sometimes other riders or hazards prevent you from riding the best line, learn how to take the next best natural line.

With some practice you will be on your way to a high-speed corner specialist!


David is a USA Cycling Licensed Coach an active Category 1 bike racer who understands the current National and East Coast racing scene. As a coach, he uses this knowledge to supply you with the latest coaching concepts to better improve you as a cyclist. David is the current member of the Ideal Tile Brielle Cyclery Racing Team. Formerly, David was an USCF Assistant Midwest Regional Junior Coach, the Cycling Coach for the United States Olympic Festival, the Cycling Coach and Director of Concept Racing and the Cycling Coach for the Louisville Wheelman Junior and Women Squad. You can reach David Sommerville online at david@davidsommerville.com.

More info on this author can be found by clicking here
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