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What do you wish someone had told you much earlier on?


aener
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Hello all.

Today, I am interested in the things related to riding you had to learn the hard way, and a lot of stress could have been saved if someone had just told you a simple fact early on.

I have loads, but I'll start with just one so I don't kill the thread:
For a challengingly sized sidehop, don't just sidehop on autopilot but with more effort. Actually think about jumping with your legs and feet, and remember that pulling on the bars does almost as much work as pushing on the pedals. Do both together, consciously.
 

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Magura hs brakes are sh*t for trials :D

Also, gap to fronts (with or without wheelswaps) are not separate moves (preload, jump, bend, switch) linked together, but one single move that has to be perfect from start to end to succeed.

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56 minutes ago, Canardweb said:

Riding alone sucks.

It can, but it doesn't have to. It just takes a bit of a different mindset - there are positive things about riding on your own, even though there are obviously negatives too. You just have to focus on the positives rather than dwelling on the negatives.

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On 21/06/2021 at 0:46 PM, Mark W said:

It can, but it doesn't have to. It just takes a bit of a different mindset - there are positive things about riding on your own, even though there are obviously negatives too. You just have to focus on the positives rather than dwelling on the negatives.

I know. But I have been riding alone for more than 5 years now. I am trying to ride once a week but slowly the will to go and take the bike is disappearing. I still love riding and it still brings the best feeling but I have less and less the will to go and ride. 

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1 hour ago, Futurepoke said:

You have to do stretching and massage regurarly and go to the f*cking gym if you want to ride trials and live without severe back issues.

100% this (if done the right way). But seems like many people are just fine without proper body maintenance or nutrition, I'm talking about any sport or thing. Always those people exists who are "not that athletic" but just naturally doing well all the time. Meanwhile, my regularly trained body will absolutely destroy itself if I don't focus 110% on stretching and maintaining muscle balance every day.... Trials has been extremely difficult for me physically and mostly I can't see others suffering the same or it just looks like they don't. About genetics I guess.

One small but important thing I should have been told right at the beginning: Foot positioning, use the ball of feet to allow ankles to move. I recently replaced my shoes and noticed that the pedal marks in the soles are almost centered, explaining why especially the rear foot has been very passive and I've had poor power output plus some weird balance issues. Always wondered why comp riders have such symmetric and smooth ankle movement, there it was. New shoes helped to start correcting this issue too, but I can tell it's pretty difficult to unlearn such bad habits.

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27 minutes ago, Jere_h said:

Trials has been extremely difficult for me physically and mostly I can't see others suffering the same or it just looks like they don't. About genetics I guess.

In mountain biking, the fit of a bike/setup is really important, so there are plenty of different frame sizes, bar heights and widths, stem lengths, saddles and so on. For trials though, it seems like a lot of riders (not saying this is you!) just use whatever setup their favourite rider is using and leave it at that, without really experimenting much to find out what works best for them.

The clearest example is the whole 'Carthy bars' phenomenon where lots of riders run/ran bar angles that you really don't need to suffer with for the majority of riding they're likely to do. I think guys like Jack can get away with more extreme setups because they're riding all the time and will have built up strength and to a degree some tolerance to it, but for riders who are just getting out once or twice a week for a few hours it may be doing more harm than good. 

There's a lot of things with setup on trials bikes that isn't really optimal, but it is possible to mitigate them to an extent. I have a feeling that for riders who appear to suffer less without necessarily doing the body prep, it could just be that they happen to have found a sweet spot for their body size/type and their bike. Even things like running the wrong brake lever angle and reach can have an impact throughout larger parts of your body - if your levers are too high or low, that impacts how you grip the bar, which in turn impacts your wrists, which then affects your elbow positioning and so on... 

When I first started I got a lot of wrist pain, and simply changing my lever angle by a few degrees totally alleviated it. Similar with back pain too. Just changing my stem and spacer setup allowed me to get a more comfortable setup that didn't give me any back pain.

That said, I do agree that getting into stretching early is a good thing, although I don't think you necessarily need to go down the whole sports massage/gym work routine unless that particularly does it for you. Most riders are more likely going to benefit from spending an additional few hours on their bike every week getting their technique better rather than spending that time in the gym.

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Other than a hunch it's going to take me 5 years minimum to learn the trials basics, my shoulders are the biggest problem I face on a regular basis riding trials. Recently thought they were adapting but now past week or so the same old issue, they feel like they've been pulled too hard by the bike. But Mark's comments above reminded me I had rolled the bars forward a few degrees a few weeks ago (and it feels normal now) to see how things felt - I'd noticed my handlebars were high compared with some other rider's bikes. It's really difficult when learning to have any idea at all how things should be on a trials bike (or street trials bike) if you don't have anyone else to ride and talk about these things with, you can't really tell anything when you don't have a good grasp of the moves.

I also find there's no single solution to physical ailments (ie my shoulders/top of biceps) - at least I've not found anything that's a go-to to consistently alleviate issues. Sometimes heavier strength training with low reps such as push/pull ups dips/bodyweight rows helps, other times just small weights <3kg  high reps and lots of different movements helps. And of course yoga/stretching, or even that resting thing.

I probably need someone to remind me at least once a week to stop being so impatient about it all!

Edited by marg26
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Try every session something different. Don't try something out of reach, but try a small variation of a line you already master: changing the approach, come with a different angle, etc.

 

Spend money on bike parts that makes sens. I had really crappy parts on my bike, that prevent me to ride as much as I wanted. For example, I had a TryAll bar that I used many months, despite it hurts my wrists. I hesitated much too long before changing it...

I think the current parts are much better than it used to be years ago, but still sometimes it make more sens to spend extra money to obtain quality and durability.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I'm not sure about this one, but:

Don't waste time and energy trying to find perfect balance to initiate the move.... DO THE MOVE!!!!!!!!!

Occurred to me over the past couple of days. I often do it, hop from side to side, then pause, and then loose balance, but I've wasted some much energy doing so I then have to rest before trying again, and 85% of the time I'll just do the same again over and over and end up feeling too knackered to actually practice the thing I intended.

On the other hand, I'm nearly 3 years in learning trials at an older age and I'm probably a bit stiff and wooden and with balance having never been one of my strengths, perhaps this is just something I need to go through.

But then again sometimes I know I defer doing the move for the sake of perfect balance so:DO THE MOVE STOP TRYING TO FIND PERFECT BALANCE!!!!

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12 hours ago, marg26 said:

But then again sometimes I know I defer doing the move for the sake of perfect balance so:DO THE MOVE STOP TRYING TO FIND PERFECT BALANCE!!!!

@marg26 agreed! Faffing less is key to improving, I try to keep corrective hops to a minimum but it's tricky being an older rider and less bendy but definitely something to work on.

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  • 3 weeks later...

That trials will never get you (or anybody else) laid...

 

Seriously though to keep your momentum/hopping going up and forward. So many times we try and stick things nice and clean when if I just kept hopping forward it wouldn't look as good but you'd stay on whatever you are trying to.

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