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Desccending tips

OK, so, my current nemesis is descending when momentum gained through gradient and gravity exceeds pedalling power and I really want to improve on that both in general terms in order to make me a better cyclist and also to improve potential performance. Other than getting to the top of a hill and hurtling down it (with the added bonus of not falling off or disappearing off the road and into the scenery) can anyone give me some tips on how to get better at this aspect? The main problem is that I feel quite inconfident on steeper sections and I can't get the confidence to get into the drops so I ride with my hands on the hoods and feathering the brakes to maintain some degree of control. Obviously neither are good or that advisable hence why I want to iron out this issue and am asking you, the great and the good of this here forum, for some sage advice.

Thanks in advance!


  • knarfknarf Posts: 3

    Practice, practice, practice

    Find a drop that you are comfortable with and go up and down repeatably. Start with a comfy upright stance and brake if you must. The do it over and over and over. This will help with your climbing as a side benefit.

    After a while you can get a bit more streamlined and maybe you can add a bit more power /speed with some pedaling.

    As for taking bends faster then this is very dependent on the line you take and this will decide how fast you can enter and exit the bend. Try following a faster rider and note their body position and the line they take on bends etc..







  • Thanks for the response. As I mentioned, I think the larger part of my issue is with the hoods drop transition as I feel unbalanced when trying to control the bike and shift position, perhaps I should look to try and do that before cresting the hill?

    With regard to finding a hill, if there's anyone based or training around the Chichester area could you recommend one which is suitable? More specifically, is a decent surface? - I'm finding that the roads in general are pretty poor quality and the backroads coccyx-crunchingly bumpy which, when allied with the above, leads to a death grip on the handlebars when going downhill.

  • risris Posts: 1,002

    i can't stand descending - much rather go up 12% than down it. 

    for me a lot of it is being relaxed and having good sight lines - i tend to prefer descending on the hoods than the drops and try to make a conscious effort to relax my shoulders, elbows and hands. gripping tightly really doesn't help me. 

    practice is the best advice here, and accept it will be a slow process to improve at it. i've only been riding regularly 6-7years and still struggle with it, although it is worth it for those moments when i let go and trust that i can manage the hills without riding the brakes! 


  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190

    I would echo the suggestions to follow a faster rider... if nothing else you get an idea of traction. Personally I am quite a timid descender as well and operate on the philosophy that I can make up more time by giving it the beans going up the hill and catching a bit of breath (and not falling off on the way down) than I can by going hell for leather down a tricky section. After all NOTHING wrecks your race as fast as a tumble on the bike session will - at best you'll be shocked and nursing road rash for the rest of the race and at worse you and/or your bike will be very very broken!

  • Right, better get me some cycling companions then! Easy answer would be to join the tri club in Chi but they are, regretfully, rather glacial in getting back to e-mails it seems. In the meantime it looks like I need to find a fairly easy hill with some soft green bits to aim for in the event of disaster and a road surface that doesn't have me vibrating in the saddle like a newlywed's bedsprings. Easy!

  • DDTTRIDDTTRI Posts: 21

    Hi Stoo, I am from Chi Tri club sorry to hear your emails have not been responded too.

    If you are still interested drop us a line over at https://www.facebook.com/chichesterwestgatetri


    I am in the same boat as you, aim for goodwood, there are 4 different ways up and down. Knights hill is good for speed with a couple of corners, the decent down into Charlton is also a good one.

    Kennel hill is very very fast and has a good lead out, so is good for builing up confidence at speed.

    Town lane is very steep and technical.


  • StooDoggStooDogg Posts: 30

    Thanks for the link, I have "liked" it and will post shortly. I have done Goodwood once but couldn't say which of the routes you mentioned it was - I went through Lavant, turned left and proceeded to go up. And up. And up. Then I got to the sign where it said it was a 14% drop into Singleton and got so petrified that if you'd placed a lump of coal between my buttocks I would have turned it into a diamond, such was the strength of my clenching.

    Anyway, as I have now found out I am better if I've got someone ahead to act as a 'sighter' as opposed to going down on my own when it feels a touch overwhelming given there's so much to be aware of; the general result is that I scrub the free speed off with the brakes until I feel (back) in control.

  • Sam181Sam181 Posts: 6

    Buttock clenching is great for your gluteal muscles- so this will help your running anyway- and revet knee pain

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