WATCH | MTB riders climb up impossibly steep trails

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Cody Kelly going all out, on a technical climb, in Arizona (Photo: scott.countryman.14)
Cody Kelly going all out, on a technical climb, in Arizona (Photo: scott.countryman.14)
  • To descend, you first have to climb.
  • Most mountain bikers are fine grinding up a gravel jeep track.
  • But technical singletrack climbing. Can be tricky.

Most mountain bikers fear the descending crash. That unexpected drop-off or devilish rock garden, awaiting you on a fast downhill section.

In truth, many crashes happen when slowly climbing up a technical trail.

Tight corners. Roots. Rocks. All these conspire to make you lose momentum, robbing your balance. Before tipping over.

Mountain biking is all about managing momentum. A bike that is rolling, is stable. One that is barely edging along a trail, will lose its inherent stability and risk tipping over.

Even the best, struggle

As Ellen Rose Noble shows, above, it can even take the pros a few tries to find the correct combination of pedalling and momentum.

Talented mountain bikers will often tell novices that they need to be confident – and keep pedalling when all seems lost.

The moment you stop on a technical climb, it is challenging to restart. Momentum and confidence are the key rider inputs.

Shorts bursts of power and effort, with a focus point where you want to go, instead of looking at the section of trail that is intimidating you, are crucial.

If you are going to stop, you need balance

Rock features are often the most intimidating to climb up-and-over on a mountain bike. Cody Kelly is one of the world’s most skilled riders and shows the value of great balance.

The irony is that when dry, a rocky trail feature offers a lot of grip, making it theoretically conquerable – even for novice riders.

Keeping your momentum and knowing when to balance on the pedals and reset your line are part of the technical climbing success story.

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