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Coaches Corner

Coaches Corner is the ideal spot for you to gain more information, on a range of topics. At the beginning of each month you can find something new to help you get the most out of your work/life/multi-sport balance.

Coping With Descending When You Don’t Like It
Hopefully many of you are hitting the hills in a lead up to Busso 100 or the December Ironman.
Why is it that some cyclists freak out at 40kph. Whilst others can be reasonably comfortable at 60-70kph when descending down steep hills? Everyone can learn the psychological coping mechanisms to make descending at prudent speeds both safe and fun.

Psychological Coping Mechanisms
Analyse your fear. Why do fast descents make you nervous? If you tense up when going downhill quickly, you can’t solve the problem without knowing the reason. So, conduct a self-analysis to find out. Have you fallen in the past? Do you feel comfortable on the straights but panic in corners? Are you more nervous when the pavement is wet? Is being buffeted by crosswinds a big concern? Answering these questions can help reveal why you fear fast descending – and suggest ways to
conquer your fears.

Improve your technical skills.  

Good cornering on descents is just a matter of practice. And the confidence that comes from knowing you have the basic skills will make you feel better about flying down hills. So use every opportunity to practice and hone downhill techniques. For example, find a local descent that has several moderate bends. Gradually increase your speed each time you go down. Your skill and confidence will grow. Don’t take chances, but gently push the envelope each time you ride. Soon the speed that formerly frightened you will seem mundane. I recommend Reserve Street behind Point Walter as a great hill for building confidence on.

Remember to:
Grip the top tube with your knees - to become one with the bike.
Slide back on the saddle – for overall bike balance on the descent.
Keep your peddles parallel to the ground and
Keep in a low aero position – hands on the hoods or drop bars.

Don’t get in over your head.  

Psychologically, it’s best to never descend faster than your comfort level. If you do, you’ll be afraid all the time you’re going downhill. You’ll get nervous even before descents begin. So, keep a margin of safety. You won’t lose that much time in group rides or competitive events, you’ll have a lot more fun, and you’ll find that your skill level increases much faster than if you were flying around corners on the ragged edge of control.

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