There are six secrets for riding with supreme confidence on insanely fast, steep downhills. First is body armour. For the rest, see below.
1. Look Ahead
Look at pics of the pros and you’ll notice that their eyes are always wide open, their heads are up, and they’re looking far ahead. By looking far ahead it makes the perception of speed less threatening. Using peripheral vision is also key, so you can see where you are, as well as subsequent checkpoints.
2. Stay Centred
Hand in hand with vision and the perception of speed is balance. Ideally you want to be neutral in the cockpit, so you have some pressure on the front of the bike to be able to steer. The proper position of your body while cornering is to have your body’s mass “straight up in the air over the bottom bracket; that helps keep your traction balanced and dead even, so you can corner more accurately.
3. Become A Better Braker
Put just one finger on each lever. The best mix of steering and braking control comes when your index fingers loop over the levers and the rest of your fingers hold the bar. Use the front brake for 70 per cent of your braking power; use the rear on more-technical sections to avoid skidding the front wheel.
Brake when the trail is smooth. If you bomb full-speed through easy sections, you’re forced to brake in the rough. Sounds counter-intuitive, but smooth hardpack is where you have more traction and braking power.
4. Hesitation, Devastation
Commit to a line and follow through. The biggest crashes happen when riders think twice, panic and scrub speed.
5. Stay Relaxed
Bend your knees and elbows to keep them loose and stay relaxed. Locking your limbs causes your bike to feel jittery, decreasing control.