Inevitably, you will run across a steep section of trail that is just outside your comfort zone. You want to keep going but the trail is just on the outskirts of your comfort zone, so there is that little hesitation. Although we don’t recommend you jump-in head first into something outside your comfort zone, if your skill level permits, here are a few pointers for once you think you’re ready to descend.
Look at the entrance and exit of the steep descent. Make sure you have adequate places to pull your brakes and keep your speed in check. Next, plan the best path down. Sometimes there are rain ruts that you want to steer clear of.
When you head out down the descent, enter the beginning of the slope much slower than you would if the descent wasn’t there. If the hill is steep enough, it may be difficult to slow down because of the lack of traction, so you want to start slow. Position your body back over the rear tire and have a finger on each brake. Modulate your speed by balancing the amount of braking between the front and rear brakes. This is the trickiest part. Too much front brake and the you’ll go over-the-bars (OTB). Too much rear brake and the back end of the bike will drift out to the side and cause you to high center. You want to apply both brakes simultaneously, but with different amounts of pressure on the levers. The best way to find the balance between the brakes is to practice.
Practice these skills on a well known and well traveled trail before attempting anything too steep for your riding abilities. When ready, focus and stay loose on the bike, and most of all, have fun!