Video: Riding rough trails on repeat mode

Riding a rough section of trail repeatedly to improve

Video
– Line Choices (most tough trail sections have more than 1 good line and a handful of really bad lines)

Line Choices (most tough trail sections have more than 1 good line and a handful of really bad lines)

Intro by Justin Wages

Sessioning. That word brings back nostalgic memories of my youth spent riding my skateboard on some obstacle for hours and hours until I could clear it or land that backside 180 late flip like a boss. Those hours spent sessioning are a part of life for skaters and BMX riders but it’s not something I see as much on the trail. I do notice my enduro and downhill racer friends regularly sessioning tough sections of a course but they are in competition and need every edge they can get. So why should us normal Joe riders be interested in sessioning? The simplest reason is because it will make us better riders.

Often times we get accustomed to a particular line through a rock/root garden and then we choose that line over and over until it becomes habit. What happens when that line changes due to erosion? Ohh my god freak out time! By sessioning a handful of different and difficult trail sections we not only learn how to ride those particular sections well but they teach us how to handle our bikes in a variety of conditions.

Brian pointing to the line (Brian pointing out potential line choices. Sometimes the clearest choice isn’t the fastest)

Brian pointing to the line (Brian pointing out potential line choices. Sometimes the clearest choice isn’t the fastest)

Let’s say, for example, there is a large and ruthless rock garden full of baby head boulders, ruts, and flat spots. There could be 3 or more decent line choices available to you and each one will require different techniques or combination of techniques to complete the line. If you choose to do only 1 line every time you ride that trail then you are limiting your potential growth by not using the techniques needed for the other 2 lines and turning those actions into muscle memory.

Walk it up

Walk it up

You may use a wide variety of techniques to get through other rough sections on that trail but because each rocky or rooty section is unique you have many more opportunities to enhance your skills and build your confidence. Those attributes really come in handy when riding blind (new trails) at high speed or when trail conditions change suddenly by nature, human design or because some bum is standing in the middle of the trail taking Instagram pictures. P.S. Don’t be that guy/girl. On that note, be courteous to other riders while you are sessioning. Listen and watch for riders coming down the hill so you can be out of the way by the time they reach you.


About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • Jason Smith says:

    Sessioning always helps me with line choice and technical descents. It increases my confidence and commitment the next time I ride a given trail or feature. I did some sessioning today on a ride, and was able to hit a few jumps and drops that I usually ride around.

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