Everybody wants to ride faster, smoother and more efficiently. Here’s a few tips on ironing out your descending skills which will make you a faster and smoother rider.
The tendency for many riders is to tense up while riding rough terrain which results in a bumpy ride which is slow, can damage components and can make you fall off the bike. When descending or riding at speed, you want to keep your arms and legs relaxed to soak up all the bumps. No matter how much suspension travel you bike has, you have much more in your arms and legs. Your arms/legs/bike should be fairly active beneath you while your torso remains relatively still and balanced. Riding relaxed is also more efficient and will save you energy.
If you’re picking up too much speed, instead of riding the brake, try to scrub speed by braking at intervals. You want to brake early so you can roll through a technical section instead of entering the section too fast and skidding through it. This is a much better way to regulate your speed while making it easier to ride smoothly – it is hard to be smooth when you’re on the brakes.
Line selection is especially important when descending. Instead of blindly ploughing through rough sections, you should aim for the smoothest line. As your skills improve, you will be able to smoothly ride rougher and more technical lines and you will find yourself being more creative in your line selection. You also want to consider lines that set you up nicely for corners, jumps, obstacles etc. so it is important that you are always looking further up the trail to see what’s coming.