How To Mountain Bike Up Loose Or Slippery Slopes

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Maintaining your grip on loose, sandy, or slippery ascents can be a challenge.

Use these techniques to climb like a boss:

As you approach a hill, shift to a lower gear – not necessarily your lowest, but a gear that allows you to maintain momentum without standing up on your pedals.

As you’re climbing, follow through with each pedal stroke – down, around and up. You’ll generate a more fluid motion and more constant power to the rear wheel.

Although it’s tempting to stomp down on the pedals to “power through” the climb, you’re apt to break your tires’ traction and slow your momentum. On loose climbs you’ll spit rocks out, on sandy climbs you’ll dig holes, and on slippery climbs you’ll slide all over the place.

Maintain the best balance on your bike for the terrain and degree of slope:

  • Lean your torso forward as you move your rear end back.
  • Bend at the hips.
  • Keep your elbows close to your side and flexible.
  • Keep your head up.

The looser the dirt and the steeper the trail, the closer to parallel your torso will be to your top tube.

Maintain your gear until you feel an overwhelming urge to lift out of the saddle to keep pedaling. Only then shift to a lower gear.

On short steep pitches pulling up hard on the bars – to counteract the force of pushing on the pedals – can be incredibly effective.

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Source: Women’s Mountain Biking Association of Colorado Springs; singletracks.com; mountainbikeguru.co.za

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