Roots are part of what makes mountain biking fun and challenging. But during the wet season, these friendly features take on a more sinister persona. The problem is two-fold. First, they lose their grip with reality. Even though they hold the ground together and provide us a solid anchor for our tires most of the year, their coefficient of friction virtually disappears when saturated with moisture.
When they are perpendicular to your tire, there isn’t much of a problem. But when the root is diagonal or vertical to your tire bad things can happen.
At issue is roots can transfer your energy very quickly, your forward motion becoming downward impact on to the ground. That and they provide very little braking traction. Instead, they transfer your energy again, pile driving you and your bike into the dirt.
So listen to the tips from our friends at the Global Mountain Bike Network. Always unweight at the gnarliest segments. And stay loose and let your bike and body dance a little bit, diffusing some of that side-to-side movement induced by roots.