Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What an idiot

What an idiot. Me.

Do you remember the first time you learned how to brake correctly on a mtb? I do. 1995. On a trip to Winter Park and Moab. I happened to have one of the mountain bike mags and read an article by Ned Overend (I think) where he talked about braking and how do it properly. His core point- FRONT BRAKE. Front brake causes your center of gravity to actually move towards the rear wheel, whereas rear braking does the opposite.

So I had the Redline set up PRO style with the brake levers switched i.e the left lever is for the rear brake. The rational is that since you dismount on the non-drive side (left), taking your right hand off of the bars and grabbing the top-tube, if you need to brake, you want to use the rear brake, so the left lever needs to activate the rear brake.

Easily said, but harder to remember at race pace and over 10 years of left/front right/rear. During my first 2 races I had some problems braking coming into the tight turns on the cross courses. I felt like my center of gravity was all over the place and I was not in control. Lack of control means you slow down even more.

Tonight at cross practice I had an epiphany: I hadn't switched my braking in my head. I was going into turns still braking as if the levers were regular i.e. left/front. All of a sudden, I was hitting the turn faster, sitting back, a little front brake and drift through the turn. My center of gravity staying where it should.

Speaking of cross practice, Lou laid out a nice course in between a soccer field and 2 baseball diamonds, winding around the trees and the home plates.

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