3 Tips for Improving Your Cycling Descending Skills | Cycling Tips
Everyone descends on their road bike at some point. For some it can be intimidating, for others it’s one of the more fun things to do on the bike. Today I want to give you 3 tips to improve your descending skills. For a more of a breakdown on the tips below and to see examples in the real world, I'd recommend watching the above video. Everything above is summarized down below.
Descending is one of those skills I was never taught but rather learned over the years. In racing in the P1/2 fields, I got really good at descending quickly mostly due to the fact that everyone at that level bombs descents. Often if you’re too timid in descending you would get dropped out of the group. It didn’t matter how fit you were. If you couldn’t go fast downhill, you got dropped.
Tip #1 Seeing through the Corner
The first tip I want to share is learning to look through the corner. Sometimes you can get too focused on looking at the road 2-3feet in front of you. This makes it hard to read the corner and be able to navigate it properly. So looking through the corner will help you understand at a greater distance when the exit of the corner is starting so you can really lean into it and just rail through.
Tip #2 Picking the Right Line
The second tip is picking your line through the corner. I find that if you enter the corner as far to the outside as possible and stay there until you get the feel of being halfway through the corner, you can then dive to the inside of the corner and this will allow you to gain speed and exit the corner safely and quickly. Especially if the next corner is going to go in the opposite way, taking this type of line will allow you to exit nicely and be setup to enter the next corner correctly.
Tip #3 Understanding How/When to Brake
The third tip is on braking. In order to take the best line at the fastest speed, you want to avoid breaking in the corner. Especially with your front break. It will cause you to drift to the outside of the corner. If you over cook, this will also result in possibly crashing.
You’ll want to brake before the corner and release as you enter. As you learn the descent, you will start to understand how fast you can enter the corner before it becomes unsafe. On this corner in particular, as shown in the video above, I know it well enough where I don’t need to touch the brakes as long as I take the proper line. If this corner was new to me, I would definitely pull some brake before entering and then release so I can accelerate through the corner.
If you practice these tips and combine all three together, you’ll see an improvement in your cornering skills while descending. Any questions or comments please leave them below. I hope this video and post helps. Keep training hard and stay safe.