Cross-Country Techniques

TechniquesGuidelines for Cross-Country Techniques
Ready Positions:1) Try to keep your elbows and knees flexed and loose.
2) Make sure your jaw and shoulders are relaxed. They can indicate tension.
3) Keep pedals horizontal with your good foot forward.
4) Try to float your butt just above the saddle.
5) Center your weight on the bike, front to back and side to side.
Steering:1) Grasp the handlebar securely, don’t clench your hand grips.
2) Keep both wrists and forearms aligned and angled slightly down.
Braking:1) Control your braking force by changing the number of fingers on the brake lever. Two fingers is normal. Add or subtract one to change your brake force.
2) Try to apply both brakes at the same time but with a little more pressure on the rear brake lever.
Brake hard if the ground is hard; brake soft if the ground is soft.
3) The sharper/faster a corner, the more important it is to break before entering the corner. If you break in the corner your wheels wash out.
Shifting:1) In general, shift more than you think necessary. One gear can make a big difference.
2) Learn and use the H-rule — Higher equals Harder gears — to shift gears.
3) Change gears to maintain 60-90 rpm’s. This is the best range for efficient pedaling.
Turning:1) Brake before the turn.
2) Enter the turn wide, cut inside, and exit wide.
3) Stop pedaling, lean into the turn and increase traction by pushing down on the outside pedal. If you go wide swing your inside knee and elbow inside the turn.
4) When you reach the middle of the turn begin pedaling hard out  of the turn.
Roll Over:1) Attach the obstacle (up to 8 in.) with enough momentum (speed) to prevent stalling.
2) Try to keep your fingers clear of the front brake lever during the roll-over maneuver.
3)Take the weight off the front wheel by moving your body back and absorb impact with elbows and knees.
4) As the front wheel hits the ground, move your weight forward to unweight the back wheel as it rolls over the obstacle.
Wheelie:1) On approaching the obstacle press down on the handlebar to compress the front wheel.
2) Shift your weight back and flap your arms up and back to bring the front wheel off the ground.
3) At the same time use your power foot to drive down your pedal to increase the lift on the front wheel.
4) Return to the ready position after the front wheel hits the ground but (due to the greater forward angle of the bike) be careful not to do an endo.

Obstacles in Cross-Country

ObstaclesGuidelines for Clearing Obstacles
Ruts:1) Deep ruts running parallel to the direction of the trail should be avoided.
2) If unavoidable, level your pedals and don’t try to steer out of a rut higher than 4 inches.
3) Look for a low exit point and lift your front wheel out of the rut and lunge the back tire clear.
4) If you can’t lunge clear, keep your pedals clear of the sides of the rut and ride out the length of the rut.
Rocks:1) Stay out of the saddle, flex your knees and elbows, and keep the real wheel driving.
2) Try to select a line with larger, embedded rocks rather than small stones which may roll around beneath you.
3) Keep your momentum up and use a higher gear to muscle your way over the rocks.
Branches & Roots:1) Attack branches and roots head on (perpendicular). If this is not possible try for an angle nearest to perpendicular.
2) Never brake while on top of a root or branch — your tires will slip.
Sand & Gravel:1) If your trails have lots of sand use fat tires with low tire pressure.
2) Stay seated, center your body weight and power through sand.
3) Keep your front wheel straight and try steering by banking the bike and leaning.
Mud:1) Reduce speed on approach.
2) Slide back on the saddle.
3) Unweight the front wheel.
4) Look for the wettest areas to cross.
5) Use high rpms, low gears and maintain your momentum.
6) Power through mud.
Water:1) Don’t attempt to cross water more than the height of your bottom bracket.
2) Ripples indicate large submerged objects.
3) Shift weight back as you enter the water, stay in the saddle, and spin a low gear.
4) Maintain a fast but even cadence.