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Technique question- riding rocks sections?


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just wondering if anyone has any tips on how to ride rock sections, similar to sections in the Scottish 6 day trial.

or can anyone recommend any good training videos or books on techniques for riding rocks. 

I just can’t seem to find the rhythm and momentum, I end up clattering through them. Others seem to float over them. 

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The biggest and most common error I see (especially with beginners) is ridding too stiff bodied. You have to learn to become one with the bike, counter intuitively you need to move more to achieve this.

 This starts from the feet up, don't be scared to let your feet move around on the foot pegs. Keep your knees supple allowing your legs to bend easily, allow your body to shift weight in all directions - up down, forward back, side to side... don't be embarrassed to stick your bum out to achieve this! keep your arms flexed not dead straight! and your grip firm but relaxed, the handle bars should feel light and you should be able to move your upper body around with ease but feel still in control of the steering and the bike. 

If you watch footage of top riders, especially some of the old stuff from the 80's 90's which you will be more able to relate to etc (before the advent of the modern Bou technique), you will see just how much movement these guys do in order to stay one with the bike! Watch people like Thierry Michaud, Steve Saunders, Jordi Tarres... and watch how they move on the bike.

If you can get someone to video you riding a rocky section, then try and compare this with a better rider riding the same section. You will be surprised that in reality the reason they "float" over stuff with ease is because they are shifting their weight, using their legs and arms whilst at the same time timing this with power delivery and suspension reaction. In other words they actually use more effort to make it look easier but use this effort efficiently. 

This is why people who have ridden other motorcycle sports but never trials are surprised at how difficult it actually is when they first attempt it. 

When I coach people I always get them to exaggerate the required movement on the bike, just so they get a sense of what they need to do. 9 out of 10 people I have to shout at them to flex their legs, as the most common mistake is straight stiff legs! Just try and imagine your legs as part of the bike's suspension, because that is exactly the role they play when riding trials! 

Edited by Intotrials
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It could be you are also riding them too fast. If the rocks are larger sized with spaces between then you should pick your spots and ride them slow, 1st gear even. If they are smaller, loose rocks, thats when a bit of speed may be needed

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The post from intotrials describes the technique really well.

I still get caught out and jerk a shoulder or jack knife occasionally especially when fatigued, it sometimes feels safer to brace arms and clatter through.

Edited by totty79
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Don’t be afraid to ride over rocks confidently rather than weaving around stuff.

Above posts give very good advice 👍 Personally I use bottom gear and a bit of old school throttle control rather than a high gear and slipping  the clutch

Keep working the throttle to keep front light when needed and as said above weight back and allow the bike to move.

Practice shifting the weight on your feet from side to side to maintain balance 👍👍

Edited by jimmyl
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18 hours ago, totty79 said:

I still get caught out and jerk a shoulder or jack knife occasionally especially when fatigued, it sometimes feels safer to brace arms and clatter through.

This is a common error we all make at times and a misconception. Our natural reaction to danger is to tense up and hold on for dear life, a difficult instinct to overcome!

I still do this when riding moto x, then end up with arm pump which makes things ten times worse. Just like in any sport that requires some sort of grip, the key is to hold on firm but relaxed and pace yourself so to enable good timing. We have all had those moments where everything just feels effortless, this is when we are at one with the bike and all the above is timed to perfection. This is what we are trying to achieve when we practice. We are attempting to develop the skills so it all becomes a natural instinct that over comes the fear factor - confidence. 

I remember a few years back riding in a national event I came across a tough section I was on the hard route and there were some real big names riding. At this particular section there was a gathering of some top riders all pacing up and down the section trying to determine the best route. It was tough, no one had even got through it to the ends so far! I was very nervous but felt I had a chance of getting through it in my mind. Somehow I just relaxed and went for it, the bike was floating under me seemingly in slow motion. I knew at that point that this was one of those moments you get once or twice in a life time. I cleaned the section to a massive round of applause and some shocked faces (mine included).  The point is I didn't really think about anything other than my intended line, I just let my natural (years of training) grooved in instincts control the bike. It felt effortless but in reality I was working hard on the bike to stay one with it. 

This is probably what sets the better riders apart from us mere mortals, in that they feel this way a lot compared to our very rare occasions. But keep practising and don't be scared to move far more than you think you need to. Then soon people will be watching you and thinking, wow he makes it look easy! 

Good luck     

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