We have the downhill race running tomorrow as a part of the Dirt series at the Bangalore Bicycle Championships and a lot of folks will be attempting downhill after giving it a gap of almost a year (prev years downhill race)
Here are Karan’s thoughts and some good tips on downhill riding that might be useful for folks at the race tomorrow!
Over to Karan
After the 2012 BBCH downhill (DH) race my bike has not set its treads on the DH track until today. At the moment my bike is totally pimped out to commute, road friendly tires, high air pressure, forgot all about gloves etc.
My Experience on the Course
As we went the trail, a couple of us trail builders were just setting up the next big jump. The jump is meant to make all of us s*** in our pants. I turned around and slowly pushed my bike up the hill, my knee pads and helmet dangling of the handle bar. At the first slippery incline I realized how useless my shoes were off the bike. My soles totally flat and slipping away with the topsoil. The abundance of it (topsoil) is unimaginable considering the rains. Anyways i got to the top, slipping back 1 step with every 3 steps forward. Not to mention I had to push my bike up with me and worry about her safety. Once we were at the top I took a few seconds to pray and hoped for a safe ride down.
Knowing this any sane person would not take the next leap of faith I was about to – but adrenaline kicks in the minute we say the words “Lock and Load” after which there is no looking back. I put my saddle to the lowest position and reduced tire pressure but the minute I hit the first left I knew my tires had too less air and this stuck in my mind through the whole course. As we rolled further down the course I really missed my knobby Nevegals!
Halfway through the course I realized I was missing my shades because of the mud flying all around me. Riding downhill with closed is just plain suicidal! Luckily we managed to go all the way down comfortably mostly because we were not pushing ourselves or our equipment too hard.
Race day or a more serious ride day I would seriously recommend being comfortable with your equipment. That means cutting all loose ends and ensuring you have properly checked your bike.
A few things i would keep an eye out for before attempting anything you think is adventurous.
Brakes: check brake pads, check brake modulation, see if they are working as you need them to and make sure all your cables are routed correctly.
Your tires: make that extra effort to change to the pair you know is recommended for the terrain you’re gonna be riding on and spend that extra 5 mins making sure you hit the right tire pressure!
Gloves, shades and other safety gear: just make your ride comfortable and safe!
Injuries can be painful and recovery can be long! Stay protected and you can keep riding even after that adventurous ride.
Karan rides a Cannondale SL4 with yellow pedals and green housing.
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