Drop Offs

Posted: May 12, 2011 in 2011, General

What is it about drop offs? I look at them and think…’easy, I can do that’ (the exception to the rule is when they are half way down a bomb hole, or even a drop  off into a bomb hole) and as soon as I get close to them ‘the fear’ takes over and I bottle it. It must be a combination of rubbish technique and lack of confidence although there must be a fair sprinkling of ‘what if I break myself?’ too. I don’t mend as quickly as I used to so that must play a part in it. The same thing applies to northshore. I can merrily ride singletrack all day, keeping within the tight boundaries of that sinuous brown strip weaving in and out of the trees, rocks, vegetation etc but point me at some shore maybe twice or three times as wide and I freeze up.

The trouble with the drop offs is the landing. Once you hit it you are committed and if you have a sudden outflow of confidence, the landing is going to get all squirrely (sic) and you can tell it is going to hurt. I will happily launch myself off little jumps in the trail getting absolutely massive air (all 6 inches if I am lucky) but a drop off is a completely different animal. It is like there is an invisible Emohawk (one for the Red Dwarf fans) floating about just in front of the point of no return and it sucks out all my confidence and commitment. The same on ‘shore’ as soon as I hit it, my ability to steer in a straight line disappears and I make the classic cycling mistake… I look at the bit I want to avoid or I look over the side and we all know what happens then…you hit it, or you simply fall off. The answer has to be to go on a skills course so I can learn how to do things that could potentially hurt me (a lot) with more confidence. It certainly makes sense but if I did, what would the poor old Emohawk feed on?

  1. Ross Burton says:

    I’m off to Cannock Chase in a few weeks for an advanced skills course (I’ve been assured the only real difference between advanced and intermediate is that the advanced is taught on the trail!) I’ll let you know how it went, they have a bit more varied terrain than Thetford has to offer over there so I’m looking forward to it.

  2. Ross Burton says:

    Forgot to say but I’m worse — I roll or avoid drops and can barely jump. I finally managed to get reasonable air on the Madgett’s exit recently and that was probably aided by being on the SL so the rear shock gave a helping boost.

  3. clemo says:

    I don’t believe it’s ‘fear’. I think it’s more like overload of the conscious mind – a bit like driving a car for the first time. I had the same problem with bomb holes – however as FR24 is practically my backyard I’ve spent many a time going down the green and brown bomb holes. Committing to go over the brink, the sudden acceleration, the compression when the angle changes at the bottom – have all progressively moved to subconscious expectation & control. I now have the luxury to project ahead, pick my line and check for hazards – whilst remaining calm.
    The bottom line is, quite simply, you need to practise drops offs – just find some where the penalty for failure is gentle. 🙂

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