Descents …

I used to think that a descent was reward for summiting. A time to relax, recover, and coast to the bottom. My how things have changed. It’s certainly a reward. But it’s not a time to slow down. It’s a time to continue pedalling, and pick an aggressive, tight line. It’s a time to go fast with less effort.

I practice descending regularly. Like climbing, it is a learned skill. A skill you can improve. When I summit, I don’t stop pedalling. I used to. Even if spent on the climb, I keep turning the pedals, and gradually gear up until I’m producing as many watts as I did on the way up.

This video outlines several tips. All tips I practice. But the most important one is to relax and let the bike do the work. Lower yourself onto the drops, select a tight line, keep pedalling, lean the bike into the turns, and let it run.

You learn to feel the turns. Learn to brake as you approach a turn not while you are in it. To look ahead avoiding pot holes, bumps, and giving less experienced cyclists a wider berth. To push on the outside pedal throughout the turn.

The more I relax, the faster I go. And, the more I enjoy the ride 😎

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5 thoughts on “Descents …

  1. I am a million times more confident going uphill than I am going downhill. Descents scare the living daylights out of me. I’m hoping this is simply a matter of gaining more experience. We have so many hills where I live, much of which involve steep, hairpin descents. The last thing I consider when I’m cycling downhill is actually pedalling. I slam on the brakes and just try to get myself down as safely as possible. But what this means is that although i might be better than some (well, a few) on the ascents, they all completely outpace me on the descents. I’m really hoping it’s just a matter of getting more experience.

    • I’m similar to you! I’m almost as fast uphill as I am downhill. I use it as a time to recover and hopefully not take a corner too wide and end up in a ditch, while all the other guys (especially the heavier ones, hehe) overtake me. I’m sure it’s just a confidence thing!

    • I do think it is a matter of confidence. Confidence in your own skills and your bike. As I point out, it is a skill you can learn and practice. I have one hill I ride regularly where the surface is relatively new and smooth. That helps. It is also a one-way road so I do not have to contend with on-coming traffic. It’s also in a park so there are no stop signs, no traffic lights, and very little traffic. This is the perfect route to let loose. When I descend on other roads, I am more careful.

      If you do want to descend faster, I would suggest your practice these “tips” regularly and you’ll find your confidence will grow.

      Let me know how you make out with this.

  2. Love descending, I think my misspent youth on motorbikes helps as it made me used to cornering fast. I like the way you can lean a bike into the bend and feel it making its own way round.

  3. Love descending, I think my misspent youth on motorbikes helps as it made me used to cornering fast. I like the way you can lean a bike into the bend and feel it making its own way round

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