By Chris Case
June 24, 2020

117 // The Art of Cornering and Descending, with Emile Abraham

You might not think of cornering as science—after all, the title of this episode is the art of cornering—but today we’ll try to hit the subjects of cornering and descending from many sides. Obviously, there’s plenty of physics involved in making a bike arc through a sweeping bend. We’ll tell you all about the forces at play as you drive your bike. And then we’ll tell you to set that all aside, and join us for a discussion of the nuances and, yes, art of cornering: body position, weight distribution, the eight—eight!—stages of cornering, where your eyes should be, where your hands should be, where your mind should be. All that and much more on today’s episode. We’ll also talk a bit about some of the skills specific to descending, like the supertuck. Should you risk it? If so, when and how? I once did an experiment on the supertuck with Lennard Zinn, so I’ll talk about that harrowing experience. I’m still alive! Our main guest today is Emile Abraham, someone you may not have heard of, but who has racked up numerous wins because of his cornering and descending prowess, having grown up riding the twisty, steep roads of Trinidad and Tobago. Emile is a 12-time national road race champion of his home country, as well as a Pan-Am Games silver medalist in 2007. Through his coaching business, emileabrahamcoaching.com, and his current team, the North Georgia Cycling Association (http://ngca.us/,) he provides a platform for the development of riders from around the world but especially those from the Caribbean. He’s also the event director for the two-day Mobile Cycling Classic. More than a few times today you’ll hear Emile talk about dropping Trevor like a sack of anvils at the Tobago Classic, which they’ve raced together many times. And anyone who drops Trevor, either going up or down a hill, is a friend of mine. Also in today’s episode, we hear from our friend and podcast colleague Colby Pearce, Petr Vakoc of the Alpecin-Fenix pro team, professional mountain biker Payson McElveen, and Kristen Legan, a coach and former cycling tech editor. Now, get ready to hit that apex. Let’s make you fast!


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REFERENCES
  • ​Bulsink, V. E., & Koopman, C. M. B. and H. F. J. M. (n.d.). CORNERING IN BICYCLING: COMPUTER MODEL SIMULATIONS.
  • C.R.Lommers. (2015). Descending: Measuring and comparing descending technique and performance in professional road cycling.

TRANSCRIPTION

(Please excuse any typos as this transcript is generated automatically through A.I.) Chris Case Hello, and welcome to Fast Talk your source for the science of cycling performance. I’m your host, Chris Case, you might not think of cornering as science. After all, the title of this episode is the art of cornering. But today we’ll try to hit the subject of cornering and descending from many sides. Obviously, there’s plenty of physics involved in making a bike arc through a sweeping bend will tell you all about the forces at play as you drive your bike. And then we’ll tell you to set all that aside and join us for a discussion of the nuances and yes, the art of cornering, body position, weight distribution, the eight yes eight stages of cornering, where your eyes should be where your hands should be, where your mind should be all that Much more on today’s episode. We’ll also talk a bit about some of the skills specific to descending like the super tuck. Should you risk it? If so, when and how I once did an experiment on the super tuck with Leonard’s in. So we’ll talk about that harrowing experience. I am still alive today to talk about it. This episode of fast Talk is brought to you by whoop. Whoop is a fitness wearable that provides personalized insights on the performance of your sleep, how recovered your body is and how much stress you put on your body throughout the day from your workouts and the normal stressors of life. What’s great with whoop is that every day when you get up, you get a recovery score based on your HRV resting heart rate and sleep performance that can be used as an indicator to how to approach your day. The whoop app has built in features like the strain coach which actually gives you target exertion goals worked out optimally for the level of intensity your body is signaling it can handle Perfect for working out at home. And based on how strenuous your day is the app has a built in sleep coach, which actually lets you know how much sleep you should be getting. So you can wake up and be recovered based on your performance goals, which you can send. Trevor Connor Whoop is offering 15% off with the code fasttalk, that’s fa s t, ta lk at checkout, go to whoop. That’s whoop.com. And enter fast talk at checkout to save 15% sleep better, recover faster, and train smarter. Optimize your performance with Lou. Now, Trevor, I know you’ve convinced some athletes that you still coach, that whoop is a valuable tool. So maybe give us a little overview of how you use whoop for the art of coaching. It’s just like use it the other metrics. I want to see how hard they’re trading. I want to see the work they’re doing but I have learned with my athletes, that’s an incomplete picture and I Have sub athletes that have real good stamina and can push through things until they cook themselves. I’ve other athletes that can’t handle it very well, getting that whoop data from them every week is remarkably valuable. You know, I asked them to send me the summary of the week and I want to see od whoop, there’s there’s this week view, where it shows you your strain every day. That shows you a recovery level every day. For a lot of my athletes, I want points in the week where recovery is higher than the strain and vice versa. But it is actually a very valuable metric that I can’t see anywhere else. And it gives me a complete picture of their week that I can’t get just from the train. So Chris Case our main guest today is Emile Abraham, someone you may not have heard of, but who has racked up numerous wins because of his cornering and descending prowess. Has And grown up riding the twisty steep roads of Trinidad and Tobago. A meal is a 12 time national road race champion of his home country, as well as a Pan Am Games silver medalist in 2007, among many other notable wins through his coaching business, a meal Abraham coaching.com and his current team in North Georgia cycling Association. He provides a platform for the development of riders from around the world, and particularly those from the Caribbean. He’s also the event director of the two day mobile cycling classic. More than a few times today you’ll hear a meal talk about dropping Trevor like a sack of anvils at the Tobago classic, which they’ve raced together many times and anyone who drops Trevor whether going up a hill or downhill is a friend of mine. Also, in today’s episode, we hear from our friend and podcast colleague, Coby Pierce. Petrova coach of the opposite Phoenix protein, professional mountain biker patient, McKelvin and And league and a coach and former cycling tech editor and new addition to the fast labs family here on fast. Now, get ready to hit that apex. Let’s make you fast. Welcome to fast talk Episode 117. We’re going to sit down today and talk, share some stories about the art of cornering and descending. And I know Trevor, you’ve had some stories, some some battle wounds have been inflicted on you by some nasty dissents in your life. But we have a friend of yours a colleague of yours on the race seen a meal Abraham, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your descending history or at least I know you’ve got a story up your sleeve about you and a meal that that explains why meal is a great resource for our discussion today.

Racing in Trinidad and Tobago: Where You’ll Find Some of the Hardest Climbing and Descending in the World

Trevor Connor When it comes to Tobago and Emile, I’ve got a whole bunch of stories that I can share. So I you I have mentioned this race many times on the show, this is my favorite race in the world. I have been down there 1011 times, which means I am I have the second most attendances, I think. So the first time I ever did the race was 2008. And this was my experience with you as a descender. And I should just give some context, I have written a lot of mountain passes. I have written a lot of dissents. I have never seen anything like the dissents and Tobago. And I can’t tell you how many people yeah, I have taken down to that race. I’ve tried to explain this. So I’m gonna go Whatever. I’m from Colorado, I know descending, and then they get down there and they just go You didn’t tell me it was like this. It’s you You can’t Trevor Connor describe it until you get there. Or actually, the best way I can describe it is I wrote with a European team a couple years ago that has raised everything in Europe. They just went for a cruiser ride around the island a couple of days before the race because they got down there way early. When the guys couldn’t make it around. Yes, he had to take a taxi home. Hmm. So 2008 my first year down there, I had had a crash on the first day and broke my front brake lever. And we couldn’t fix it. So I only had a rear brake. So I was having a bit of a tough time on the descent. Chris Case Yeah, less than one when descending. So Emile Abraham you have to always have two brakes. Trevor Connor I have learned ever since then I bring down to that race, everything to basically build a whole new bike. Mm hmm. Because you just never know. But right. I was probably on the best climbing legs of my life. So I had this weird thing. That on all So it’s just a whole series of these 10 1520 minute climbs. And I was catching the leaders like I was the first one to the top of every climb. But then we get to the descent, I would only have a rear break and everybody would blow by me and I’d get killed. You had been dropped on the first climb, but then on that descent, you caught past me You caught the leaders. And we kind of have this yo yo in thing that I would catch all of you on the climbs. And then you would just blow by me on the descents. And we went back and forth like that for a bit. Until there was just one time it didn’t catch you on the climb. Never saw you guys again. And you won the race. You won that final day that year and it was on your descending skills. Emile Abraham Definitely. And then I’ve had a few of those. I remember to do one year in the Dominican Republic. In the Vuelta, Independencia, it’s an eight stage tour day in February. And I was wearing the yellow jersey I had won the first stage and I got the yellow jersey. And this was about states for now and we went over a pass going to Woods Santiago, and it was probably about a seven k climb or something. And I lost the group probably about two-quarters of the way up. And I lost about three minutes going on within that within that last three Ks or something. And but the sense on the other side was a much longer descent and the climb going up. And so when we got over the top, it started raining and everything and I think Just I just started to descend and I just I was going and I started closing the gap and then I guess there was a guy one guy with me at that point and he tried to keep up. And there was this one time All I heard was and he basically he tried to follow me in the dissent and he, I think, he went straight and he went into the bushes and over a barbed-wire fence and I just disappeared. I’m like opes and bait and by the time we got to the bottom of this, the dissent, I was within 20 seconds of the front group, which I eventually caught, caught them about a minute or so after and then I went on to stay with the leaders on that stage and tape in my yellow jersey. Later on in the toy, I ended up losing it and the power of a co which is like a Killer steep climb, which there’s no way a sprinter is gonna climb like that. But yeah, I mean, there’s some good stories there. On descending for sure. Trevor Connor I still remember 2012 on the final day, you were in the lead group. I was there with my teammate. And I still remember seeing the look on my teammates face. He tried to stay with you. I had learned my lesson of No, don’t try to stay with a meal, right? That’s bad idea. So he tried to stay with you. You guys separated from us a bit. He crashed on a descent took all the skin off of his kneecap and and ground down half of his kneecap. Yeah. And I caught him just as he he’s sitting. Looking at his knee. He has his hands on either side of his leg and he’s just screaming, screaming. Emile Abraham Yeah. Wow. And I just remember I remember that but Trevor Connor He was behind you. And that happened. But I just remember looking at going, yep, don’t go with me. That was collateral damage. Chris Case He was he was beat in the rearview mirror from you a meal. So you wouldn’t have seen. Right, Emile Abraham right, right. Yeah, you know, I’ve actually had people who, you know, before the tour have been, you know, hanging out and you know, the talk will come up and be like, when we get to the last stage of the Tobago, classic. Whatever you do, do not try to follow me under the sense because you will die. Trevor Connor But this growing up in Tobago, and this is why we want you on the show. You’ve spent your whole childhood learning to ride on some of the toughest dissents around it has made you a great bike handler in corners. It’s probably when you are a crit writer. It’s probably why you are such a great crit writer because I’ve seen you corner barrettes Yep. And you have built those skills and so, the rest of this episode we’re going to talk about how to corner we’re going to go into some of the basics. We are not going to try to teach our listeners how to stay with you and lose their kneecaps man, right, right. But we are hoping as one of the best descenders I have ever seen that you can really share some good knowledge with people on how to be a good descender maybe you’re not a crazy kill yourself. descender but a good right, Emile Abraham but at least better their skill level. Yes, absolutely. Trevor Connor Here’s the important thing you need to know about the physics of cornering your bike wheels are gyroscopes. So what is a gyroscope? Think back to your childhood when you had tops? Or were getting old Think back to my childhood we had tops and we didn’t have really cool video games and never played with tops right. So I top is this thing that you get spinning really quick Wait beyblades that’s the new version. Oh yes play with which is just a top with Sure, jagged edges. But you get these things spinning and then they will stay upright on their corner. And the neat thing about them is if you push on a top while it’s spinning, it’ll snap right back up. It actually wants to stay upright. So your wheels are very similar. When they are spinning really fast. They actually want to stay upright, they don’t want to lean over. That’s the first thing to remember. The second thing to remember to know about the gyroscopic effect is that it is magnified by accelerations. And now when I’m talking about accelerations I am talking about not the way we commonly use the term but the physical the way it’s used in physics. So an acceleration has two parts to it. It has both a change in speed and It also has a change it so it also has a vector direction. Yep. So if you speed up, notice I’m not using velocity that’s intangible because velocity also has vectors to it. So if you speed up or slow down, that is an acceleration. But likewise, let’s say you are heading north, and then you turn West. That is also an acceleration because there are vectors so you are slowing down. On the northern vector, you are speeding up on the western vector. And that is important because like I said, an acceleration magnifies the gyroscopic effect. So when you go around the corner, you are changing direction. You are magnifying the gyroscope, which is why anybody who meal you can talk I’m sure a lot to this, but it’s actually hard to get your bike to lean over when you go round a corner. Emile Abraham Yeah. I mean, if you think about it too, when you on a motorbike or bicycle, when you corner, you actually don’t even really turn your handlebar. Right? But you corner. Chris Case It’s just shifting weight that, that liens, the gyroscopes, and then it’s all about balancing the amount that they’re falling versus the amount that you’re putting into the bike to keep it upright. All right, Trevor Connor great. So last thing I’ll bring up about the physics is again, so you think about the things that cause accelerations. So it’s both change in direction and a change in speed. If you’re going into a corner and you’re doing both, so obviously, when you’re cornering, you’re changing direction as an acceleration. But if you’re also in the corner and you’re hitting your brakes, that is again, an acceleration again, when we’re talking about acceleration in physics that speeding up or slowing down right So you are really magnifying that gyroscopic effect. And anybody who’s had a bit of experience with fast cornering can tell you, if you hit your brakes in a corner, your bike goes bolt up, right? And you go off the road. Emile Abraham Yeah, yeah. Chris Case Right. And, obviously, when the wheel is off the bicycle, and you’re holding the ends of the skewer, and you spin it, this is when you can really feel the gyroscopic effect taking place. You’ve shifted side to side and you actually feel this, this this force and pulling you in the other direction. So if somebody out there hasn’t done that, do that. And you’ll understand a little bit more about what we’re talking about here. And especially if you spin it really fast, you can really feel those forces kicking in. Trevor Connor So it’s a really important concept to understand. Everybody’s really worried about their bikes slipping out. Yes, there is a traction thing. If you lose traction, then the gyroscope is no longer relevant and you slide out but beyond The trap dealing with traction. For the most part, when you’re going through a corner, your bike wants to stay up, right. So, I’m going to let you guys really talk about the basics of cornering. But the strange thing here is you actually have to push your bike down, your bike is going to try to stay up right? When you go through a corner, you need to force that bike to lean over. Coby piers, host of cycling and alignment here with us at fast labs has a wealth of knowledge to share about the physics of cornering. Colby Pearce When you’re cornering. Yes, we have a giant gyroscopic effect that happens and that will mean the bike will want to sort of naturally upright also we have some true physical force in the corner, right which is not to be confused with centripetal force two different things. And when those are occurring, basically what it means is the rider needs to actively pilot the bike in corners. Now to differentiate briefly, we’re talking about sometimes people get confused in Two minor points that I think are worth clarifying. There are two different ways to turn a bike, you can turn the bike by turning the handlebars or you can turn a bike by leaning, the majority of our cornering happens in leaning at certainly when you’re talking about road riding, in order to make a turn on a road bike, where you’re turning the handlebars, we’re talking about three miles an hour walking speed in a parking lot going around a cone, or cross a crosswalk to go around a cane in the road or something. That’s where you would actually turn the bars, what we’re talking about is leaning the bike. And so when you lean the bike, then the inertia of the wheels will have a big impact on the direction of the bike and the arc of the curve. So when you influence the arc of the curve, the way to do this is this is a really key actionable concept. I like to get my riders when I’m coaching them through how to corner, one on one, outside pedal is down. You’re pushing hard on the outside pedal and hard on the inside handlebar. That’s the crucial component. And that’s also in my experience the component that most writers Maybe instinctively have the most trouble sort of figuring out Colby Pearce that it’s okay to do that. I think a lot of writers push hard on the inside bar and they feel like the bar is gonna fall out from under them, or maybe the bikes just gonna slide out from under them. But once you start to get a feel for that, driving the bike hard on the inside bar, and specifically, we’re talking about a downhill corner or even a high speed corner on a road bike, I’m almost universally recommending that riders are in the drops. Because we want to lower center gravity and a greater leverage point on the steering mechanism. And to do that you need to be in the drop. So if you’re not using your drops, or if you’re one of those people who say I never use my drops, go have a bike fit. I encourage you to go have a bike fit because bike fit is about performance as much as it is about weight distribution over the wheelbase and being able to actually use all three parts of your handlebars that’s the tops of the hoods in the drops. So when you push down harder that inside bar and you push hard on that outside pedal, what you’re doing is you’re actually levering the bike over and So when you properly lever the bike over, and you’re pushing hard on an inside bar, the bike should be leaning more than your body is your body will lean over into the corner, but we want to actually push the bike further. And this is what drives the contact patch of the tire into the asphalt or into the pavement. And this is what brings the handling of the bike alive and makes it corner or carve around a corner like skis. It also is what enables you to most effectively direct the arc of the turn, given your velocity, things that can mess with that equation or when the surface becomes unpredictable or slippery. If you are levering the bike hard, you’re pushing it down under you and the angle, the lean angle, the bike is more acute than the lean angle of your body and you hit sand. Go down, right if you are on a rainy Crash Course, an alternate cornering technique, maybe advice right if the roads are wet, or if you’re on a cyclocross bike in muddy conditions, for example, etc, or a fat bike on snow, then we might advise either a parallel angle of the body in the bike or possibly even a situation where you’re leaning the body more than you lean the bike, the bike stays closer to vertical will say, Trevor Connor yeah, so we were even reluctant to bring that up on the show, because that’s a really advanced form of cornering, but that’s called the counter steer, where it’s actually you lean fully with your body and you push your bike away from the corner, right. Chris Case So all of this talk about how the physics of cornering the physics of the wheel and gyroscopic effect and how that affects performance, how it affects balance through a corner. These are the types of things it’s good to know them. But a lot of the times you don’t want to be thinking about this stuff. When you’re riding your bike. You want to just innately instinctually make a lot of the movements that we’re talking about the body puts your put your body in the position we’re talking about, get at low weight, the outside foot, etc being the drops all of these things. And that comes with experience. The more you start thinking about what’s going on with your wheel and gravity and these other things, the more you’re distracted from looking through the corner, finding that line, feathering the brakes if need be those types of things. So it’s good to know this basic stuff, but it’s also don’t overthink it when you’re out there. Don’t get distracted by vectors and equations and things like that. Trevor Connor Okay, so why don’t we jump into it? Let’s throw this to the two guys who are much better corners. descenders then me and you guys talk about the basics of how to get around a corner. What are our The steps what’s involved in getting getting through that corner fast and safely,

Eight steps of cornering a bike

Chris Case I might start with something that I’ve stolen from a famous Formula One driver named Jackie Stewart, Scottish guy. This is a great YouTube video and it’s become famous in certain realms because of the way he breaks down a corner. He says when he starts his career, he thinks about corners, having three parts, the entry, the apex and the exit. As he goes through his career, he realizes it’s way more complex than that. It’s got eight parts. And so I’ll just walk through quickly those eight parts and we can then dive into a little bit more on each of those. Hopefully, that sets the stage for what were all the complexities we’re talking about here. So part one being, you’re coming up to a pro you’re approaching a corner and on a bicycle, you stop pedaling. This is different from a car where You would let your foot off of the gas pedal. So in this sense, you stopped pedaling. Step two, you start braking on the final approach, and you do this before you’re actually turning. Step number three, is that you begin your turn, you’ve already released your brakes and you begin to arc at an appropriate angle for the given turn. Number four, you hit that apex, the apex depends on the corner itself, some are very consistent in the radius, some are not, but the apex of the corner is generally speaking the center point of the inside of the corner. Right, number five, you start to exit that corner so you can actually gently pedal again as you return to a more upright position. And obviously we can get into a little bit more about the you know A crit setting you there, Pat, there are corners you want to pedal through, you just have to be careful about pedal strike and all these things. So we’ll get there to Part Six, open that angle all the way. Start. Step seven, start pedaling full blast. At step eight, you’re out of the corner, you’re exiting, you’re accelerating away from the group, hopefully, or out of the corner. So those are the hopefully that all makes sense. Those are the, if you really get into the fine details of a corner, the eight different parts or the eight different aspects of cornering, so a meal Would you agree with all of that? Is there anything let’s let’s walk through and you give, give some more detail about the things that you do when you’re setting up for a corner? The how you determine your speed, those types of things. One Emile Abraham of the first things is basically you have to try you always have to be On the alert now, nowadays, in recent years, we have GPS. So, so basically, if I am going down the descent, now I will have my GPS on the route or the road that I’m on. So I kind of know what the road looks like ahead. Now, long ago, we didn’t have that. So what we used to do, and most people, it’s probably not a good idea to look down all the time because then you lose concentration and focus on on what you’re actually doing and maybe distances, what you are from the corner and so forth. But as you approach the corner, you need to analyze basically, how much angle the road actually is making the turn, if that makes sense. Yeah. So the sharper the angle is, the more you really want to break and slowly speed. Now sometimes it’s hard to figure out, because some corners may look like it’s not really gonna turn that much. And then it just kind of keeps going. Those are the most dangerous corners that put people in, in situations where they end up, not being able to, to hold the turn and run wide into a wall or you know, the pavement, you know, or sliding out because they actually have to try to lean more, or break into turn all these things as what you want to try to avoid. So sometimes it’s better to actually slowly speed a little bit more just to be on the safe side if you’re uncertain of how sharp The turn is. And then you can always accelerate sooner if the corner is not what you anticipated it to be in terms of sharpness. So once you figure out okay, The corner is actually a really sharp turn. There’s another factor involved there wideness of the road, the wider the road is actually the faster you can make a turn because you have more distance to go from outer Apex Chris Case or outer, you can effectively make it a straighter line, Emile Abraham a straighter line as possible. The low in Tobago like in the Tobago classic generally the roads are not white at all it is it is just about two columns wide. So you don’t have a lot of roads to play with. And that and they’re generally you have to be a lot more cautious and slower in the sense. Trevor Connor So you’re calling what you do. They’re cautious. Chris Case Well did Emile Abraham you see so A lot of times to go and pre ride a course and do a recon is always the best thing to do, just so that you can visualize and know what you’re up against. So So let’s say for instance, if if someone has done a course before, or has done a course several times before and they know it very well, they know Okay, this corner is really sharp, they need to brake harder, etc. Which is why most of the times and Tobago going up there and I know the roads very well I know, okay, I can hit this corner hard. Or I, you know, I have to really slow down. And then a lot of times in the in the race, what I would do, which Trevor ended up on the floor is, I would, if I know a corner is going to be a little bit sharper and could be somewhat a challenge to the person who doesn’t No, I would go into the turn faster brake harder before the turn knowing what it is, but the other person would not really understand that and their reaction and reflex would be a lot slower because you can know what you’re doing. So that puts them in a difficult situation Trevor Connor which is fair No I’ve never ended up on the floor trying to follow you but I did but slap a car Emile Abraham Well, I mean that’s that’s almost as as as bad. Trevor Connor That was pretty bad. It was it was a really sharp left hand turn and Tobago they drive on the left side of the road. So the race is on the left side of the road. You went around the corner I didn’t realize it was as sharp as it was. So I had to go out a little wider a car came around the other way. And I kind of twisted my body and I kid you not I but slap the side of that car. But I managed to stay up. Wow, Emile Abraham you Your first real aspect is analyzing how sharp the corner is. And what’s your speed, width of the road. Knowing your Apex and being able to use your Apex because I mean sometimes if you are on a rolling and closer race, let’s say you don’t you know, sometimes they’re they can be they can be something they on the other side. But most of the times let’s say that it’s a closed course there’s no cars or obstruction. So you you go on the extreme right hand side of the road if it’s a left turn, and once you have analyzed Your turn, you hit that Apex and then on the on the exit, you always this is another important thing is you always have to look at where you want To go right through, not, if you if you lose your focus, and look, let’s say it’s a left hand bend, and you look at something on the right-hand side of the road, not where you actually want to go, you will then put your focus and lose concentration and actually end up going to where you are looking. So that so so so let’s say for instance, you’re going to return you hit your Apex and something catches your attention on the right-hand side of the road and you look at it, your natural is is going to happen where your bike becomes a little more upright, and your force then kind of goes towards that. That way. So always, always look at where you are exiting and going. And that that will find that will help keep your form on the line. As to where you actually will end up. I think that’s such an important point because your bike goes where you look and I would make an argument, a lot of crashes in corners are due to the fact that somebody comes up in a scary corner. And what they do is they look at the corner. Mm hmm. You don’t do that you have to always look at where you want to go to the corner. Yes, root corner, and an out of the turn. Trevor Connor Look for that line. Try to see the line through the corner. And that’s what you look at. Because if you look at the corner and go, hey, that’s really sharp and steep, that’s scary, you’re going to go right off the road. Emile Abraham Another important thing is when you panic, you also lose focus. And and that and that, that that form of panic usually sets you off in looking in the wrong place or hitting your brakes too hard, which causes you to slide out and stuff like that. So always try to keep composure easier said than done. Really. But the more you keep composure, and look at where you actually want to go, and your line of of exit will help you stay upright and make return even in a situation of difficulty. I think another really important point you brought up earlier is also that scrub your speed before you get to the corner. It’s easy to accelerate out of a corner. But if you are in a corner going too hot and you hit your brakes, that’s when your bike goes up, right, you can’t turn it anymore and you go off the road so it’s better to err on the side of hitting that corner to slow Trevor Connor but then going through the corner without touching your brakes, then too fast and having to hit your brakes. Emile Abraham Correct. Because once you end up in that difficult situation, your chance of maintaining control go down. You always want to try to be in control and not panic. when cornering. Chris Case A question I have for you is how do you identify where you should begin your braking. And there’s two scenarios. One is in a corner that, you know, say it’s in a cricket, and you’re doing laps. And so you can then identify maybe a landmark. So you can key off of that, versus a corner where you’ve never been through it before. How do you know when to start breaking? Emile Abraham That’s a good question. Because everybody is different, right? That’s a really good question. Trevor Connor Well, while you’re thinking about I’ll actually give an answer trying to follow you which is it’s, you want to break surprisingly early. So I remember when I was still learning how to descend, I would follow much more experienced cyclists into the corner. I noticed they would start breaking and I’d catch up to them and go, Oh, I’m being more aggressive through the corner. I’m going to beat them. But then I’d hit the corner, I’d have to slam on my brakes, it wouldn’t get through the corner very well. And by the time we are out of the corner, they had a 20 foot gap on me. Yeah. So I was obviously doing something wrong. And when I learned to break what felt like, way too early for the corner Emile Abraham forever, yeah, 200 meters before the corner, Trevor Connor right? That’s when I could stay with them. Chris Case Right? It obviously there’s a lot of factors involved, like you were saying before, sometimes you want to go a little deeper into that corner, scare the bejesus out of whoever is trying to follow your wheel and then take that corner because you know, it’s a reduced radius corner and it tightens up and right can you can throw them off their game if you do that. Otherwise, if you’re being not necessarily conservative, but just practical about your cornering then you would, you would it’s this experience thing. Where you have to brake early, but you judge how much speed to scrub, get to that level, let off the brakes and then you want to carve through that corner without touching the brakes at all. Emile Abraham Right? Now, also when you’re riding with other people, and you know, you can also judge by the person in front of you, how how they lean and what’s going on with with their cornering ability. So in other words, if you know someone is like really experienced, let’s say that I’m in front of you, and I’m cornering, you can use my judgment, which Trevor didn’t do, right, which he’s saying, you know, sometimes like, you know, he may go into the corner like someone is experienced in front, they slow down, and he he’s coming up on them really fast and he’s gonna crush him. No, this is your indication to know that you are going too fast, and you probably should slow as well. So you can always use that person in front of you as a good gauge, but they can also lead you astray in them going too fast, leading you into it too fast. And then you both end up in a situation, right, but a lot of times, like, I’m a coach, and I would ride with clients and if we are going down in the sense, I always tell them to just follow my lead on what I do, and try to, you know, never go into the corner faster than I am. And that and that helps them a lot, you know, and you know, you have to use your outer force pushing down. So in other words, if you’re making that left hand turn, you want to be pushing down in your right hand, your left knee, your linear knee and a little bit, but I find that sometimes leaning your knee, you want to do it a little bit, but I find I don’t really do it that much. I don’t really push my knee out a lot. I find I loot my gravitational force tends to sometimes go a little too much on the inner, which tends to make you have too much weight. On the inside, you have the centripetal. Local and the real force of gravity. If you drop that knee too far, then what I find is that full gravitational force tends to pull you too much, leaning too much, which tends to make you lose traction. Just because you have too much lean. If you lean too much in a corner, that tends to make you slide out. Right. Trevor Connor Right. So that brings us to the next really important question, which is the, where’s your weight? So we talked about you push down on your inside handlebar, you push down on your outside pedal I would also argue that unless you’re going through a big sweeping corner, you don’t really lean with your body, you keep your body more, right above your center of gravity and it’s the bike that you’re actually pushing down underneath you. Emile Abraham Right? Correct. You know, and another important very, very, very people tend to overlook this a lot. But I think a very, very important factor in cornering is tire pressure. Because if you have too much tire pressure, what happens is that you have less traction because they there’s there is less a rubber of tire that’s actually on the floor. And, and the harder the tire is the easier it is the bump off the ground. Chris Case Yeah, it’s not as supple. It doesn’t the contact patches and smearing, Emile Abraham but then again, you don’t want it too soft. So there’s a fine line right there, right? Because if you make it too soft with too much traction, then you can be actually putting out more wattage. Like if you get a flat tire, you know, you’ll find that it’s harder to push the bike, because there’s there’s too much traction to me 100 psi, or 90 to 100 psi, especially if you’re lighter. 100 psi is more than enough. Yes, yes. And, you know, once you start to go over 100 psi, you tend you tend to be going in a little too much pressure to be able to corner at high speed. You know, my go to pressure is 95 to 100. For crits for for road races for whatever now, if it’s a if it’s a time trial or something that’s not technical, you know, a road race that has no sharp corners, I may go up to 110 just because you know rolling resistance is probably gonna be a little less. But for the most part 100 is my my go to PSI for for crits and cornering. Trevor Connor Dirty Kansa silver medalist coach at Rambler rising, and former cycling tech editor Kristen Ligon points out the necessity of having the right equipment depending on the kind of road you’re attempting to set via smooth tarmac or loose fire roads, Kristen Legan descending with different conditions, having different tires, different pressures, different compounds can really make a big difference in just how stable you feel in those corners, how fast you can go in and out of those corners, and keeping everything up right. So for you know, for a road race that’s on a really, you know, perfect tarmac, your traction is going to be you know, it’s going to be a little bit better than say, let’s say going down a super steep fire road coming through a corner and you know, in that situation having a bigger tire Something with more grip to it, maybe even some side knobs that are going to be able to catch you a little bit. If you start to go a little bit too far, that’s a good way to just help you get through the corner, but also just help you feel more stable because I think a lot of us don’t push our tires to the limit, we’re just naturally going to pull up before we actually get to that breaking point just from being scared of going down. So so the better tires suited for that situation, the more you can kind of push that limit and start to learn where and how it feels when you’re about to slide out.

Gear, especially tire pressure, can be critical

Trevor Connor So I was in a race a few years back where I nearly crashed myself in a corner and I was running the cheapest I think it was $9 performance bike special tire Yeah. with Mr. toughies pumped up to 120 psi. Can we dissect if I was doing anything wrong there with my my thumbs up to you Hundred and 20 Oh good. Yeah, yeah. Kristen Legan Yeah, you know, I don’t ever want to say, you know, way more expensive product is the way you’re supposed to go but there are benefits that come from some of these more like highly engineered products and tires can be one of those. They can be, you know, obviously, more puncture resistant, that kind of stuff, but also grip is a big factor in that and just the compound that’s used in the tire development can play a big role. So yeah, so when you’re, you’re on some cheaper tires and you know, maybe have them pumped up a bit too far you’re gonna lose some of that traction. So, you know, like any race or ride if you look ahead and you see these, these pretty big corners coming up that you know are going to be a make or break situation. You can set your pressures and think about, you know, the tire selection for those situations because that could Again, it’s it’s better to be a little bit slower through those corners because you have a little lower pressure or you maybe your, your tires aren’t like the super fastest possible tire, but they have a little bit more grip in them, you’re going to be much faster getting through that corner slowly, then you are going down through that corner. Trevor Connor So I know it feels fast and scary for all of us but outside of pros who really do corner are most of us ever really going through corners that fast that hard that the the traction is critical. Kristen Legan Yeah, I think so. I mean, especially on this depends on the road surface. And you know, a lot of us ride in places where it’s mixing between, you know, there’s sand on the road, there’s cracks that are gonna jostle you a little bit. So, I think in the real world that you know, we’re not going as fast as pros, but I do think we’re also our skills aren’t as good to be able to save a you know, a slip. So having that traction i think is definitely worth it. Just depends on your level of what do you want to spend on those tires and how far are you really pushing them. This episode of fast Talk is brought to you by whoop. Trevor Connor Whoop is offering 15% off with the code fast talk, that’s f a s t, ta lk at checkout, go to whoop. That’s w h o p.com. And enter fast talk at checkout to save 15%. sleep better, recover faster, and train smarter. Optimize your performance with one last element to talk about in the cornering basics. Here is the line through the corner. And I’m just going to start it off by saying one of the biggest mistakes I see athletes make is to start cornering too soon. Absolutely. Because if you think about it, if you draw a line Between where you start cornering and the apex of the turn, if you start really early, you’re not gonna be able to turn very much. And then when you hit the apex of that corner, you are pointed towards the woods or a cliff or whatever happens to be there, Chris Case because you have to straighten up. And once you straighten up and lose your line, then that gravitational force is going to send you in the wrong direction. You hear the term diving into a corner sometimes and it really when you see the best descenders or best corners out there, they are staying upright until that last moment, and then they’re diving and hitting that Apex rather than making this video, very mellow turn through the corner, because that helps you. Basically it helps you miss or it increases the chances that you’re going to miss that Apex or come out from the apex in a wrong direction than having to overcorrect or oversteer or do some of these Other things that will slow you down, throw your off, throw your off your line, or disrupt everything and make you have to make an a more aggressive move, which is leads to the increases your risk of crashing and other things. So Emile Abraham now if you’re going down the descent, and you hit a hairpin turn, that that that is a good time to dive, you know, to dive the turn, because, I mean, basically, the corner is so sharp, I mean, of course, you have to be slowing down to a reasonable speed. But when you have a hip and turn the corner is so sharp actually almost like 180 degrees, you know, more than more than 90 of course, and you kind of have to divert them, because in order to make that turn, you have to hit it sharp because the corner just kind of goes back on itself. Trevor Connor is a strange concept, but the sharper the turn, the longer you should wait to actually start your turn. Yes, yes. So we’re talking about all the different elements of the corner and Chris just gave eight sides to it. But if there’s one way I could personally summarize this, of how to improve your cornering as people who are inexperienced and just learning how to corner they tend to start turning too soon, and they break too late. So they’re breaking Well, they corner and then they get to that apex of the corner, they’re pointed in the wrong direction. They’re slamming on their brakes and they have to almost come to a stop to get around the corner better. You want to brake early, before you’ve even started your turn. Get rid of all your speed, and then wait till almost the last minute to start your turn. Emile Abraham And always try to use as little braking as possible when actually turning Yeah, for sure. Trevor Connor It actually I think mentioned this earlier, but I did find one study that was done with giant alpa Sen. With with a lot of the riders on their team where they actually had a course in Europe that was just designed for practicing cornering. And they tried to see the difference between people who are cornering really well versus guys who weren’t coordinator as well. And the thing they emphasize in that study was you saw the best performers, they hit the brakes early, they actually hit them hard and they were not on the brakes for very long. So they would scrub their speed quite quickly. And then they would go through the corners without touching the brakes much because there’s just this inherent understanding that when you’re on the brakes, you don’t have a lot of control of the bike. So right, get your speed down quick and then just go through the corner with minimal braking. Emile Abraham And, and but that but that takes experience though. Yes. You know, that is something that I would not suggest and then in experience, right Or to try to mastering I think that really takes a lot of years of practice to really execute that it’s actually can really backfire on you super easy. But yes, I mean, I do tend to corner a lot later than earlier. But if I’m uncertain of what the corner is going to be, I always break earlier. Get control because the member one of the things is always in control then and accelerate sooner out of the turn, than putting yourself in difficulty going too fast through certain safeties the name of the game. If you are too fast in a corner and having to hit your brakes while you’re cornering, that’s when you get in trouble. That’s when you go off the road. That’s when you crash. It is better to hit the corner to slow and accelerate out Yeah, correct. Trevor Connor red bull rider mountain bike marathon national champion and host of the adventure stache podcast, pace and mcelveen knows the ins and outs of descending not only for mountain biking but also on the road. Payson McElveen Line choice still Trumps all I mean, you can be the best bike handler in the world, but if you hug the inside of a turn, you’re just not going to go as fast. The just the rules of swing wide cut the Apex Swing wide really holds true. One thing also that I mean if you want to get really nerdy about it, studying other sports can be really beneficial, whether it’s BMX racing or f1 or Moto GP, taking cornering to a completely new levels of speed. I mean Supercross like so many of my friends that are mountain bikers are crazy about most Across racing and following Supercross, because it’s like mountain bike racing. It’s like a short track race. But at higher speed experimenting is important. And also knowing that every corner is different. Obviously, in mountain biking, if you’re going through a corner and there’s rocks and roots in it, you have to make decisions based on your line to get through that corner. But the same goes for the road. I mean, no road is truly perfect. If you’re really pushing the limit, you don’t want to hit a little crack. That might happen to be, you know, the, quote unquote, perfect line. Also, this is way more specific, but I think a lot of people forget that. Braking early. Is is super crucial. A lot of people brake as late as they can and ride the brakes through the corner, but you’re losing traction when you’re on the brakes like that. And if you can get your braking done, and this is where it gets, you know, in the Danny Hart, Sam Hill black magic sort of stuff by If you can get to the point where you get all of your braking done before the corner, and you are so good at judging the speed that you can get through a corner to where you’re actually not even touching the brakes at all through the corner, that’s the Holy Grail. And the same goes for on the road. And that’s something that when you’re watching on TV, you know, going back to nearly, if nibbly is going down the backside of the passaggio, I guarantee you that guy is not really touching the brakes in the corner, he’s touching the brakes a lot before the corner. And that’s not something that many people would would pick up on, on TV, for example. So Trevor Connor I want to switch topics just slightly here. Everything we’ve been talking about, I think applies to everybody. anybody listening to this, who doesn’t even race, just want to be able to get down a mountain pass safer and a little bit quicker. I think all this applies to everybody, but let’s jump to actually talking about The race scenario of you are descending in a pack where you had talked about Ideally, you want to make the corner as wide as possible. So you want to go hit the corner, why then go as wide as you can come it out. You can’t do that if you’re in a pack, you’re going to cause a crash. Sometimes you just the line you have to hold this line you have to hold you don’t run into other people. So thoughts and suggestions about cornering in a in a race in a field, Emile Abraham you definitely have to hold your line. I think one of the biggest things with especially like in crits is guys not pulling the line and going straight in a corner and I think a lot of the times that’s what causes crashes because guys tend to turn and straighten and turn and you know, they panic too much and they’re not that comfortable. If everyone was to hold the line going through the corners, I think it will make for a smoother transition, you cannot change your line if you’re on the inside you have to stay on the inside. If you’re on the outside you have to stay on the outside now being on the outside is somewhat more dangerous than being on the inside because if someone on the inside can hold that line and they dress why they will come in to you. So you always have to take that into consideration in cornering but if you’re on the outside on the outside, you know it is better to to slow down a little bit and let a couple guys go by and and and be safe then try to hold your line and then up in a situation because I’ve seen that many times before to where guys forced themselves you know, in into situations where if they just relax I mean you know there’s a straightaway coming. You know if you lose a couple, couple bike, plenty of guys passing you in return I mean, it’s okay. You don’t have to, you don’t have to force yourself into a hole that’s not there. You know, you can make it back up in the straightaway. This is where it’s helpful to speak up. Sometimes if somebody is drifting into, you can say something, don’t be shy about that. But there’s also the way in which you say it, too, because a lot of times they’re, you know, you’re in Race mode, you’re in aggression. And, and a lot of the times, guys would say things too aggressively, right when they’re just trying to bring out the point. So always take into consideration how you speak to someone when trying to correct them for something. Now, I never end up in situations where if you see me in an argument in a race, Something’s definitely going on. You will never see me in conflict with anyone in a race. I’ve never seen it Trevor Connor You’re right. Emile Abraham Yeah, I mean, I never get in conflict because when I speak to someone in a race, I always speak to them in in a nonaggressive way. And I think that’s just because it’s, I think it’s just because I’m such a relaxed writer too, you know, but, but always remember how it’s not it’s not what you say it’s how you say it. And, and that’s an everyday speech. So, you know, you might want to just correct the writer in how they go through a turn that cornering, but you may say it in the wrong manner, and then that person tends to retaliate. In the same way in which you put it towards them, so and then and then you know, and then later on, you know, that writer it, it builds up you know, so I’ve seen that happen so many times and quick races and in you know, and I will go and tell the same person, the same thing. And they’re way more receptive to it. You know. And, and, and that’s just, that’s just and these are experienced people too. these are guys who were racing year in year out, that tends to still do stuff like that. That’s just something that I think needs to be more put out there. In terms of of how you speak to people during a race. I have seen races where riders will forget that there’s a race going on, and they are just out to get one another mm. One guy did something to really upset the other and they just get into this battle of back and forth, screaming at one another chopping one another’s wheel right and Chris Case they’re endangering everybody else. It’s Trevor Connor one of the things you could do in a race that first time you experience it. It’s a little disconcerting, but it quickly just becomes a norm. normal thing is, if you are drifting into somebody line and experience rider is just going to tap you on the side of your just Chris Case a light touch on the hip or back or somewhere. Not you don’t want to push the person. Emile Abraham But you know, on the contrary, on the contrary, though, I mean, and it’s happened to me to where if, if someone takes the hands off the handlebar in a turn and touches me, I don’t like that. You know, I prefer that you say, hey inside, or something, rather than then touching me, like, Don’t touch me, you know, why you touching me? I know. I mean, that’s one of the things that would kind of get me angry, you know, but it takes a few times to really, you know, the, you know, the first time or two times I cannot just look at you like, you know, what are you doing, man like, you know, and I’ve seen writers explode Because Someone touched them, I think it’s better to, to say and speak to the person rather than, than touch them. You know, touching is, can be tricky. And I’m just putting that out there. Yeah, that is fair. Chris Case Everybody responds differently to words and to actions. And correct is the same thing with a horn on a car. You know, some people immediately get their tail feathers in a bunch because of a horn. But the driver, the intention of the driver was I’m here, I’m here. Emile Abraham If you if Okay, so going to the horn in a car. If you are driving with someone and you go peepee I’m here. The person will react very nicely because it’s a BP but if you go and if you do that same thing and you go up, then the aggression becomes like what will you know? Why you blind? You know what I’m saying? So it’s the same thing. It’s it’s how you portray the action, though. That’s fair. Trevor Connor And actually, it’s funny you bring that up because the thing I had to get used to the first time I went down to Tobago is people love to do the beep beep is a friendly thing. It says I’m very used to cars only honk at you because they hate cyclists on the road. Well, yeah, it’s the first time I was down there, like for a couple of days. I’m like, they’re the meanest drivers down here until I realized, oh, they’re actually just saying hi. Chris Case Yeah, right. Yeah, Emile Abraham content man. That’s, that’s our little gesture of saying hello. Trevor Connor The last thing I will bring up about the cornering and a group is sometimes somebody gets off the line. Sometimes things happen. You’ve mentioned this before about never panicking in a corner the same thing as cornering in a pack. No matter what happens. best thing to do is stay calm. And I still remember one crit, where I don’t remember if I went offline, or the other Ryder went off his line but we locked up handlebars in a corner in the middle of the pack. And we actually neither of us panicked. We got through the corner with our handlebars locked up and then graduate slowed down so that everybody could pass us came to a stop got our handlebars unlocked without anybody going down. Yeah, had we panicked we would have gotten down we would have taken out half the field. Chris Case Yeah, that’s that’s something that experience helped you immensely in that situation a lot of people wouldn’t have had the calm the resolve to write it out. And in even all the skill to write it out when you’re locked in together with somebody else’s handlebars so Emile Abraham correct. I mean, it was it would have meant that neither of y’all actually turned your handlebar either you would have kept a composer, you would have done the lean you would have hooked handlebars, but you kept too lean. You kept your lines You basically was like Siamese at that point. You know, you moved in sequence and in one, and then and that’s why y’all didn’t crash because you didn’t panic. You didn’t turn the handlebars, Trevor Connor what we actually did is we leaned into one another. So we leaned on to a, we pushed our shoulders together and leaned against each other balance. Yeah, to help us keep our balance and not rely on the bikes, Emile Abraham which made you like a Siamese twin. Trevor, the Siamese twin. Trevor Connor I wish I should we got his name. Emile Abraham Right.

Straight-Down Terror: Supertuck Positioning, When and How

Chris Case Well, do we want to talk about how to descend in a straight line as fast as possible? I know this episode is about cornering, Trevor Connor but it’d be worth bringing it up. Chris Case Yeah. Trevor Connor And I’ll just give you my bias on a 30 seconds to set that’s a 4% grade. Don’t talk. Chris Case Yeah, right, right. There’s certain It’s all relative. And there’s certain points in a dissenter, certain types of dissent, where it can be extremely effective to go into a super tuck. Right? If you’re comfortable with that, other at other times, it’s just gonna, the process of getting into and out of the super tuck is going to be more dangerous than and slower ultimately, then just sitting on your saddle and being in the drops. Emile Abraham Yeah, that the transition in and out of attack can be very wobbly, and that it’s the easiest time to really lose control in a straight line. Because when because you’re changing your point of gravity, and that and I think that’s where the problem really comes in. So if you’re if you’re not careful, the transition in and out can really throw you off. And once you once you start that wobble, you know, it’s it’s somewhat difficult to get back troll so unless you’re like super experienced and I would not recommend the super tuck, I’ve seen many guys crash, going in a straight line trying to do the talk. Trevor Connor Just so our listeners understand the super tuck, there’s different ways to do it. But the way the most common way is somebody will basically get down and almost sit on their top tube, they will they bring their hand their arms together. So they’re their arms are tucked underneath their body and then they basically eat their handlebars. You put your face right down on the handlebar. So you are Yeah, curled up into a little ball basically on your bike. Emile Abraham Yes, sitting on the top tube and your chest is on your hands on the on the handlebar. Chris Case And I have a lot of experience doing this for several reasons. I’m still bitter about this. You’re still bitter about this. Trevor Connor I’m coaching at the time. We’re trying to get him ready for an event and then he says via Ziva is like Trevor, I did something that wasn’t quite My plan today, which involved clot do it a climb, what like 5060 times? Chris Case Probably even more than that. Yeah, I think it was more like 100 times, a short, a short, steep climb. I went out there with Leonard Xin somebody who, hopefully everybody listening knows who Leonard’s in is, has worked for at venues for 30 years tech guru author, so forth, we were doing this little experiment on which super tuck position is the fastest. And so we thought we’d do some roll down testing myself, plus a control subject that sat in the same sort of upright position every time and there’s a lot of different variations of the super talk, you can have your hands together on the tops of the bars. You can have your hands still in the drops while sitting on the top tube. You can have your chest up and over the front of your handlebars. So Marco Pantani was famous for resting his chest on his saddle in his blood. was way behind. You see this also with people like Cadel Evans. So anyways, we took all of these different positions to the Hill, we had. I had photos to look at in reference before I did these different runs of the super tech and super talk and I would go up the mountain and we do multiple runs and multiple runs. And Leonard had this laser on his leg that he put out by the side of the road, and he measured the distance or the time between the two riders, and we made some determinations. So point being fast, super tough positions, and there are actually very slow super tuck positions. People think they’re going faster but they’re not. They’re just making it more dangerous to ride down a hill. I also find it easier when you have a bike with a slightly sloping top to tuck yourself in and under the saddle and onto the top tube and I’m very comfortable and get into super tough position quite a bit. But don’t try to go through corners. That way. No, you’re balanced is all thrown off, your braking ability is all thrown off, you want to extract yourself from the super tuck position well in advance of a corner. This is more for straight parts that have a long descent where you can really pick up a lot of speed if you get low, and get tight and turn yourself into a bullet. So which position was fastest? The fastest position is if again if you’re going in the straight line, the fastest position is seat See, or put your butt onto the top to tuck your butt underneath your saddle as much as possible and put your hands together you get as narrow as possible and as low as possible. problem with that is you have your hands are not on the brakes. So if a deer runs in front of you, for example, on this climb that we were on, Trevor Connor or this I think you’re talking of experience Chris Case Yeah, there were deer around this is n car for anybody that knows. So there’s a big Meadow up there and deer come out all the time. No braking ability and your hands being so narrow, not a lot of stability, right? So straight line is great. You’re going to go 70 miles per hour, and you’re going to probably poop your pants because you’re going to go so fast. The variation that we thought was the best combination of control. And speed was, again, sitting on the top to talk back as far as possible hands in the drops and hook your tuck your elbows in as far as possible, which is Trevor Connor how I attended Exactly, yeah, Chris Case it’s a sort of a natural starting point for the Super talk. Because going moving your hands from the drops to the center of your bars at speed is that’s when the wobbles kick in. And that’s pretty nerve racking, correct? Yep. You have a lot less control, less leverage with your hands that close to together. Trevor Connor Go back to what I said. At the Beginning if you are on a short descent, I hate it when people get into tox. Because as a meal said, the most dangerous points are when you’re getting and do it. Mm hmm. And when you’re getting out of it, and if it’s a 32nd descent, the gains are negligible, but you’re taking too big risks. Yeah, and take somebody else out. Chris Case The other thing that you have to be aware of when exiting the super tuck position is to not hook your jersey pocket or something on the underside of the straddle, which you can do and that can really throw you off. And I’ve seen guys do that. And you don’t want to do that. Because then you lose half your kneecap, move to the ground, or whatever the case may be. Yeah, Chris Case so be careful when you choose that super tuck. Yep. Trevor Connor Alepcin Fenix Peter Vakoc has more than a few World Tour race corners under his belt. We thought it’d be fun to hear from a pro about what to expect when cornering. in the big leagues, Chris Case can you describe to us what you are thinking about or how you look at descend and navigate it most effectively? And then what are the common mistakes you see people make that should be avoided. Petr Vakoc First of all, I have kind of like two speeds for the sense that like when I go and training or when I write in a bunch and nothing is really happening and there is not really worth trying to go fast then I’m really cautious and I like to keep a distance to have like extra margin of safety. But then once it’s important moment to data downhill really fast or I’m riding for for a victory for a good result or in a breakaway. Then I like switch the move when I when I take more risks and it goes Kind of like naturally to, to even like enjoy the john hills more and then then really feel the fear or something of crashing. So it’s like interesting thing that that happens to me naturally. For me it’s always to try to exit the corners at at high speed which for many people might be a bit contrary dated, but it’s good to break a little bit earlier, not really having to break in the actual corner but already before just trying to see if there is somebody riding with you they are ahead of you. Just try to see his line maybe leave him a little bit of space going into the corner. So you can take the corner bit faster and an exit the corner without having to sprint just take the bigger speed to exit the corner faster than the person in front of you. So it’s it’s important thing to leave a little bit of gap to have this possibility to break earlier and then exit faster it’s about looking ahead in the corner and knowing which would be the optimal angle or I would say to hit the corner what are some mistakes that you’ve seen even pros make when they’re trying to get down Chris Case a mountain pass fast and they miss judge a corner or they just don’t hit the apex or something. What are some of those mistakes that you’ve seen Petr Vakoc taking too much of the inside line rather than taking little bit more outside of the line where you can keep slightly higher speed in not in all cases, but sometimes it’s better to To take the corner a little bit wider, like the biggest mistake I see it’s hitting the corner too fast, getting scared in the middle of the corner and, and just breaking to heart afterwards. Also, when we go really fast in the bunch sometimes happens that that people would leave a little bit of gap. But then on the extent of the corner, they don’t accelerate fast enough. Like once you are leaving the corner, then then it’s necessary to really be in the wheel of the of the person in front of you otherwise it’s it’s very difficult to close it so outside it’s too they would react too slow on the exit of the corner and then lose the slipstream and make a gap which is then difficult to close some of the basic mistakes I would say it’s Just like people are trying to lean with the bike and not with their body and also not putting enough weight on the outside pedal, because then if you push on the pedal which is on the outside side of the corner, then you can have more traction, I would say in the corner when you put the weight there then you have better grip. Chris Case All right, Trevor, since you’re the experienced one here, when it comes to one minutes, take-homes, why don’t you kick it off and tell us what is the most important message about cornering you’d like people to take home with them. Trevor Connor There are a lot of aspects to cornering. So we talked about all the different details but I would say if there is one thing that anybody I’m not talking to us about racers, but anybody can do to them. prove their cornering it’s break earlier than you think. Scrub all your speed before you hit that corner so you can go through the corner without touching your brakes. And start your turn later. inexperienced riders start the turn soon too soon because they think that’s safer, but then they hit the apex at the wrong angle. And that it’s really hard to get around that corner. If you wait a little bit, you’re gonna discover that hey, actually, it’s a lot easier to get around the corner like this Emile Abraham Mele. Tire Pressure is one of the most important and fundamental aspects of cornering, as well as having a proper line. So these four for me is things that you need to always take into consideration. And last but not least, is never panic. When you panic, you lose focus, and you lose control. And when those things happen, you’re almost sure to end up in a situation Where you would either crash or run off the road? If you run off the road and you can save it, then great, but always break earlier, it is better to be safe than sorry. Get control, keep control, know your line, always look at where you are going and never lose focus. Okay, Chris, you want to finish this out here? Chris Case Sure. I have two points. One would be I’d like to reiterate something I said early in the episode, which is there’s a there’s a lot of information to take in from this episode, from the physics to the eight different stages of a corner of that. Don’t overthink it when you’re doing it. Now, if you’re experienced, you know what that means. You know what it’s supposed to feel like going through a corner. You know how much speed you can carry. Hopefully we’ve given you some things to think about. That’ll make you even better. If you’re new New to cycling or if you’re not a great dissenter, or if you’re not great at cornering, then what I would say is back up for a step, go out and do think about all of these things at a slower speed as you practice, find a corner ride at 50 times, think about these things each time, you’ll go a little bit faster. Obviously, you don’t probably want to get to a point where you go so fast, you crash because you’re going to lose a lot of skin. That’s going to probably set you back a bit. You might be more tentative cornering, if you do that to yourself, but a lot of these things can be distracting to you if you’re overthinking it when you’re in the midst of a race or in the corner itself. So go out, find some time, find that right corner to practice, and think about all these things there. And then let your mind sort of open up when you’re out. The next ride and I think you’ll see vast improvements because of that. That was another episode of fast talk. As always, we love your feedback. Email us at fast talk app fast.com or record a voice memo on your phone and send it our way. Subscribe to fast talk wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcasts. Check us out on social media. We are at real fast labs. The thoughts and opinions expressed on fast talk are those of the individual for a meal Abraham Colby Pierce, Petrofac coach, patient McKelvin, Kristen legen, and Coach Trevor Connor, Chris case. Thanks for listening.