How To: Descending Tricky Switchbacks

Okay Bunnies the season is upon us! Can you believe the weather on the coast this past weekend? In lieu of the recent weather patterns and to get prepared for the next two weekends of warm temperatures, here’s some great riding tips from

Matt Vincent

The Expert: Speed is second nature to 27-year-old Kona rider Ryan Trebon: The 6-foot-5 Oregonian has worn a stars-and-stripes National Champion’s jersey two years in a row (in ’06, it was for XC and cyclocross; in ’07, short track). What may not be obvious is the amount of thought that goes into that speed, especially on tight, technical downhill switchbacks. “They’re probably the most challenging thing for me to ride, simply because of my size,” Trebon says. “My center of gravity is so high and the bike is so long that it makes negotiating them more difficult.” The good news is that Trebon has spent plenty of time figuring out the best way to twist through those problem corners–and he’s willing to share his hard-won knowledge. Here’s his advice for tackling tight, tricky downhill turns.

Prepare to turn As you approach the turn, stand, level the cranks and move your weight behind the seat. If you need to brake, now’s the time–during the turn, hard braking means less control overall. As for speed: “There’s a fine line between going too slow and going too fast,” says Trebon. “Many people, if they’re apprehensive, make the mistake of going too slow. It’s better to have a little speed.” aim wide Shoot for the outside line as you get closer to the turn, and ride that edge as you make the turn; as you exit, head back toward the center of the trail. “If you use the whole trail as you head into the turn,” Trebon explains, “you basically make the turn longer and straighten it out a little more.” He compares it to a semi truck making a 90-degree turn–cut it too soon, and the semi bangs into the curb and all sorts of bad things happen. But ride the outside edge of the turn to its midpoint, and you get through with no problems.



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