7

I have come to believe that the major skill when riding singletrack is scanning the terrain. After any turn there could be a hiker, a fallen log or just a boulder that you didn't memorize during the last pass. From then on, the reflexes, embedded in the muscle memory, kick in and braking/turning/dabbing/hopping occur.

I attempt to look as far forward as speed dictates, and not to get fixated on obstacles. Still, the perpetual concentration becomes tiring after a couple of hours.

Any tips on both how to both improve scanning at high speeds and how to become less fatigued by a whole day of riding?

  • 2
    Its the same way you get to Carnegie Hall..... – Criggie Jun 29 '16 at 9:31
  • 1
    @Criggie - take the bus? ;) – FreeMan Jul 5 '16 at 20:27
  • @FreeMan It a joke so old it was on the Muppet Show in the 70s. The answer is "Practice, practice, practice." Not given as an answer cos OP has a point, in that practicing bad habits is counterproductive. – Criggie Jul 6 '16 at 0:51
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    Yes, yes, @Criggie, that's why the "winkey" was there... bork, bork, bork! – FreeMan Jul 6 '16 at 11:40
8

Just keep on doing what you're doing.

To get good at anything, the easiest way is to keep doing that thing.

As an aside, I find I descend a lot quicker when I'm wearing a cap with the peak down. I think that having the peak in my field of view forces me to keep my head up.

  • 2
    I've noticed I'm going faster when wearing helmet - it has a peak too, so maybe it's the same effect – k102 Jun 28 '16 at 7:50
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    @k102 ....or risk compensation. – Grimm The Opiner Jul 5 '16 at 14:28
3

Some suggestions:

Follow someone else who better than you. Try to keep up - you'll be looking at where they are, ahead of you helps you anticipate whats coming up.

Ride the same track in the dark, and its a whole new experience. Your light only throws so far - even the best ones only reliably show up 20 metres ahead and that tends to be a spot not a flood.

Lower your saddle a bit - less aero and more upright will help a bit.

  • 1
    Mmm, not sure about this, you'll be looking at another rider not the terrain. Learning to look past the rider in front is worth practising - but that's not what you're advocating. Also the riding in the dark will teach you to focus on what's lit, not necessarily what needs looking at, and could be counterproductive. – Grimm The Opiner Aug 5 at 12:22
1

Don't just look.
You can look by just moving your eyes.
No, looking's not enough - you want to look.

Don't point your eyes, don't even just point your head - point your chin where you want to go - you want your head up and leading your body. Every few seconds scream "LOOK!!" in your head (or out loud, doesn't matter to me) - and then look*. (Not just look.)

(*With your chin.)

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