Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

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Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby EDBANGER » 03 Nov 2014, 23:15

I've decided to take up track riding at the ripe old age of 34 without any prior experience. I'm a couple of months in now and loving every minute of it. I watched some YouTube videos and decided to start small at a pump track. After getting the basics of pumping down I then went and had a go around Birmingham BMX track. After nearly soiling myself when I saw how big the jumps were in real life I'm quite happy to rag it round there now with both wheels on the ground. The thing is when I started I had visions of flying. I watch the skilled riders hit jumps and fly through the air with what seems like no effort what so ever. When I attempt to get some air it's full of fail.

What tips have you guys got? I'm thinking of having some one on one lessons as I'm fairly sure it'll be a technique issue amongst other things.

Has anybody else taken this up as a noob and progressed to a half decent standard?

Will I ever be Denis Teullet? :D
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby sparker » 04 Nov 2014, 08:44

No expert here as I've only got back into it fairly recently, but it does take time before you're flying through the air, probably years before you're hitting the big jumps. But you should see an improvement every single time you go. I've had days where I've been really frustrated that I haven't progressed but then next time I go I feel the difference.

Practice jumping on the table tops so you don't land on the second jump. Do some coaching and some novice racing, watch the other riders. Don't forget to enjoy it too :wink:
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby CustardLips » 04 Nov 2014, 10:01

Just get out and ride as much as you can.
Practice makes perfect. :wink:
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby myles » 04 Nov 2014, 14:21

Practice, practice and more practice, but above all else relax and enjoy it.

I'm 43 and have only been riding for a couple of months.
Manuals have taken up most of my training time and I'm starting to get the hang of them.
Getting air of the table tops, all be it a couple of inches, has come a lot easier.

When I'm relaxed everything is a lot smoother than when I get fixated :roll:
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby bigpimp347 » 04 Nov 2014, 17:00

41 here and never raced until i started last winter..
and to be honest it's took this long to learn to manual..
the jumpings not too bad (birmingham 1st step, pah easy :) )
it all comes to us in one way or another, just concentrate on keeping the wheels down and pumping, gain your speed,
jumping and doing manuals doesn't always win you races,
once your happy with your speed then start to manual or jump be even now i am still trying to figure it out,
you starts trying to launch the bike in the air to jump, then once you get your speed you just too easy so you learn to control it,
but once your too quick you need to learn to flow add it all together and be able to get up loads of speed without having to pedal and pump and jump and manual..

just look at some of the 40+ guys stuart harper and chris brant for two :) they seem to be able to roll round a track and put little or no effort into it and be able to jump, glide and fly and i for one don't have a clue how they do it..

but it all comes to us in time...but so does the falling off and the scars, so be careful...
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby myles » 04 Nov 2014, 18:42

you make a very good point about keeping the wheels down.

As my speed has increased, the back wheel tends to pop up a lot more frequently.
I'm guessing this is due to not using my legs enough, to dampen things ?
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby ukdelinquent » 04 Nov 2014, 20:11

TIP 1 - Stay away from fecking clips at ALL costs until you learn to jump! If you cant jump on flats you will suck jumping clipped in and learn all manor of bad habits and then it will take a world of pain to correct those bad habits, I'm not bagging clips but I am pretty sure everyone will agree with me on learning to jump on FLATS.
TIP 2 - Already been covered - Practice, Practice and Practice
TIP 3 - I'm afraid is grow a pair! I size jumps up, for example if you know you can jump a table of a certain size, then there is no reason why you cant jump doubles the same size, suck it up, gun it, take off relaxed, looking where you want to land and it should be a breeze......If your really paranoid, safety jump it first time nose up slightly, If you hook up no big deal apart from maybe needing to get the spoke key out.

The more you ride the better your core strength becomes, the more stable you are, the less sketchy you feel....

I know I can jump way bigger stuff that I do but when it comes down to it as I said I need to grow a pair sometimes.

Good Luck!
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby Pootsmanuva » 04 Nov 2014, 21:08

Good thread! Liking I'm not the only cough mature noob round here.

My pumping really sucks ATM...any one got any top tips or good tutorial videos or is it just a case of practice, practice, practice till it becomes more like a reflex/feels more natural?
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby Jason Nicholls » 04 Nov 2014, 21:39

Have a look at this -

http://bmxtraining.com/product-category/training-plans/

Don't be put off by the fact that you need to pay $$$$ to access the training plans. Lots of good stuff in the archives and categories section for free!!. Go to the track with a focus - and work on it. Next time maybe a different focus or just ride :D
No matter how much it hurts, its still better than shopping!
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby Jason Nicholls » 04 Nov 2014, 21:49

No matter how much it hurts, its still better than shopping!
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby LeeroySilk » 04 Nov 2014, 22:35

Pootsmanuva wrote:Good thread! Liking I'm not the only cough mature noob round here.

My pumping really sucks ATM...any one got any top tips or good tutorial videos or is it just a case of practice, practice, practice till it becomes more like a reflex/feels more natural?


Pumping was something I always struggled to explain to anyone learning, for something so simple I couldn't figure a way until I remembered swinging on a swing as a youngster! Think about the technique used to start swinging, the way you'd pull and push your legs to gather momentum, the art of pumping isn't too dissimilar. Imagine rolling across a table top, as soon as your front wheels goes over the edge onto the down slope put your weight onto the bars and push down hard quickly, the same with your your back wheel, as soon as your back wheel goes over the edge put weight onto your pedals and snap your feet down. Your using your weight to push yourself and your bike downhill in a short snapping movement.
When your going up the face of a jump do the opposite, quickly unload weight from your bars and pedals.

It's still not easy to explain but try to keep in mind the movements you were doing when playing on a swing. Even if you need to go to the park and have a play on the swings for an hour. You might not learn to pump but you'll have a damn good time trying! :D
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby Pootsmanuva » 05 Nov 2014, 08:55

Jason Nicholls wrote:Have a look at this -

http://bmxtraining.com/product-category/training-plans/

Don't be put off by the fact that you need to pay $$$$ to access the training plans. Lots of good stuff in the archives and categories section for free!!. Go to the track with a focus - and work on it. Next time maybe a different focus or just ride :D


Great! Thanks! I generally do 5 or so laps just rolling around the track to warm up and then try to focus on something even really basic like my posture or where my arms/hands are and just do half the track or a straight.

Will look at that link and get me some more focus!
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby Pootsmanuva » 05 Nov 2014, 09:00

LeeroySilk wrote:Pumping was something I always struggled to explain to anyone learning, for something so simple I couldn't figure a way until I remembered swinging on a swing as a youngster! Think about the technique used to start swinging, the way you'd pull and push your legs to gather momentum, the art of pumping isn't too dissimilar. Imagine rolling across a table top, as soon as your front wheels goes over the edge onto the down slope put your weight onto the bars and push down hard quickly, the same with your your back wheel, as soon as your back wheel goes over the edge put weight onto your pedals and snap your feet down. Your using your weight to push yourself and your bike downhill in a short snapping movement.
When your going up the face of a jump do the opposite, quickly unload weight from your bars and pedals.

It's still not easy to explain but try to keep in mind the movements you were doing when playing on a swing. Even if you need to go to the park and have a play on the swings for an hour. You might not learn to pump but you'll have a damn good time trying! :D


This is good stuff! One of the coaches at Peckham described it well but it's quite hard to practice pumping when riding about generally when you ride a fixed gear bike :lol:

It's a completely different motion to an anything you'd usually do so the swing analogy is a good one. Looking forward to giving it a go on Friday. Ta!
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby EDBANGER » 05 Nov 2014, 19:56

Cheers for all the replies chaps. Really appreciate you taking the time.

I'm not totally convinced I actually want to race yet. My end goal is just to be able to flow nicely through the track. I also have no intention of going clipped in. The prospect of not being able to escape from the bike jut doesn't appeal to me at all. I was practising at BIshop TAchbrook the other day and my Aim was simply to jump the first jump on e second straight and manual the last double/table top of the same straight. I'd got the jump sorted previously so it was just a case of keeping that going. After an hour of trying I managed one convincing manual at the end. I felt like a boss. It's definitely focused me on choosing something to practice on for the session. I'm still going to have some one to one coaching as I'm sure my position and posture could probably do with correcting.

Out of interest, when you hit a jump. Are you pulling up as you would do if you were doing a bunny hop?

I've got two videos of me trying to jump at two pump tracks but they're pretty lame.
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby LeeroySilk » 05 Nov 2014, 22:13

EDBANGER wrote:Out of interest, when you hit a jump. Are you pulling up as you would do if you were doing a bunny hop?


I'd love to say "yes" but it's never quite that black and white. I know the jump you're referring to at Bishop's so I'll try to base the answer around that. The speed you tend to hit that jump you usually have to give a slight pull on the bars similar to a bunny hop. Imagine hitting the same jump going twice as fast? If you pull up the same amount you'll almost certainly flat bottom. If you hit it faster you'd either pull up less or 'kill' the jump, virtually the opposite of a hop where you're actually pushing the bike down. If you were to hit the jump slower you'd have to pull up more. You then find jumps which are built just right, which you hit with just the right amount of speed and you find yourself floating over them with zero effort. That's a feeling that's hard to beat!
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby EDBANGER » 05 Nov 2014, 22:38

That is a really helpful answer. When I was first trying that jump I'd cut the Tarmac berms out and come straight over the corner. I'd pump that little Tarmac lump as best I could, throw on a few pedals and give it the beans. Now I don't bother with the pedals and hit the jump slower but pull up harder.

In contrast I tried pulling up over the last double on the third straight at Birmingham the other day. This was totally different and obviously not the thing to do. Thankfully I did it over the ding board so didn't end up in a heap. The take off is clearly much steeper. That said, how I would actually get the air the other skilled riders were getting off that lip is a complete mystery to me. No doubt they're going faster than me but in my mind, I'd need to be going at the speed of sound to get the air they were without doing something more than just hitting it?

Also, with the first jump from the start hill at Birmingham I've also tried pulling up. This usually results in me going all squirly and not getting any lift at all. In contrast I've also hit it after pedalling down the hill and remaining firmly rigid and got more air. Still not enough to clear the gap though. What's the secret to that one?
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby JOHNNY MAC » 07 Nov 2014, 13:51

I'm 42 and no expert. Although I raced in the Midlands in the eighties there are more jumps on one straight now than a whole track then. Also the jumps were a lot smaller so there wasn't any manualling back then.
If we are talking Birmingham then the best jump to start jumping on is the step up to tabletop halfway down the 2nd straight. You can safely jump and land on top and then when better, reach the downside.
My jumping isn't bad but the last doubles on the third straight are very difficult. I need to pull up to clear them but also get the manuals right to maintain speed over the jumps before it. I've clattered it a few times not getting the speed up to it.
The first step up on the first straight can be jumped on to, which is good for jumping practice but it's actually quicker to manual in a race.
It's hard how to explain how to jump but I think I compress at the bottom of the take off then extend off the lip pulling up on the bars and with the feet after like a bunny hop. Hope it helps
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby fasy » 07 Nov 2014, 22:31

Some videos on youtube from some BMX racers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYdjPQQFUmA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOIMB11Z9-U

Keep practicing
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby wingman » 07 Nov 2014, 23:06

Great thread this! A bit of background from me first, used to race as a kid in the 80's, got back into it about 18 months ago.
Found our 'local' club (Redditch, not that local!) and just started riding my bike there. Felt alright until some of the kids turned up and started clearing the bigger jumps! But, stuck with it and started going to other local (still not that local!) tracks like Birmingham, Bristol and Hereford. One thing is for sure, no 2 tracks are the same! So, what you learn at one might not translate well to another (jump take-offs seem to have a differant feel to them plus some tracks' doubles seem to be 'deeper' when manualling them in comparision to others). So, got into racing and started doing the Midlands champs until an injury put paid to the season. Back on it now though! Favorite track to learn on for me is Birmingham! I learned to manual on the second jump on the second straight. You hit the roller coming out of the corner and then a step-table thingy which really helps when learning as the table part offers you a safety net if you get it wrong. It is the same for learning how to jump. Use the same jump as that safety net works well! Once that was mastered, I moved onto the first jump on the first straight. My mate was pushing me all the time to keep going over the ding board over and over and eventually, I was clearing it with both wheels. So, he said to move across and jump the gap. Now, that is where it gets interesting because you know you can clear the gap (cleared the ding board so can clear the gap) but it really seemed quite a phycological step to over come that gap! For the first like, 10 times, I was heading down the start hill saying '$hit, $hit, $hit' to my self right up to the take-off!!! I guess you get used to it and now it is an easy jump to do (but it was not to start with!). You then have a roller and finally a step up/step down at the end of the first straight. I thought I would have a go at manualling that step up and got it quite easily (easier than I thought it would be to be honest) but could n't manual the first step up at the bottom of the start hill! So, would jump the first, pick up over the roller and manual the step up, step down, and that was the first straight. After watching the really fast guys going down that same straight, it seems the fastest way to get over the first step up was to manual it. I tried and tried and could n't get it until my mate said to go as fast as possible. So, although my mind once again was saying '$hit, $hit, $hit' as I pedalled as fast as I could down the start hill, when I hit the jump it was a case of a tiny lift of the bars and an extension of my legs and I was over! So, carried on doing it over and over and it does seem correct that it is faster (in a race situation) to get over by manualling rather than jumping. I would also mention that it is a GREAT feeling to hit it as fast as you can and really nail the manual over that jump!!! So, after riding there (Brum) for a while, I would consider myself an 'OK' rider, nowhere near the fast guys but a little quicker than the novices. I would also suggest that the way the transistion of the jumps work at Brum seem better for me personally as a rider than at say, Hereford, where (especially the 3rd straight) the jumps seem really close together and steeper than at Brum. We went to the Bishops Tachbrook pumptrack last Sunday and I liked the first straight, did n't bother with that extra bit off the top corner (way too tight for me!!) but found I could not get enough speed up to do anything decent back down the second straight! I actually seem to struggle at pumptracks because they tend to be really tight so was really happy to check out our local pumptrack (not actually that far from where we live!) at Quedgeley which really is open with tarmac'd berms that can be cranked all the way around to keep the speed up down each of it's 5 straights!!! It's also a great track to learn on and my daughter has come on loads with her manualling as a result of going there.

Sorry if this has gone on a bit, I am in a similar position to yourself with regards to learning and as someone mentioned, Stu makes it look really easy to clear all the jumps at Brum and I do hope that one day soon I might be able to do at least some of what he does, haha!!!


Cheers,

Chris.
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Re: Started, now would like to progress. Mid life noob.

Postby EDBANGER » 08 Nov 2014, 13:26

The videos are helpful.. It's given me some idea for trying it out.

I had an interesting night at Birmingham on Thursday. I was there with another senior noob (although he has been riding longer and more frequently than me) and he timed a lap when he first started and then did another timed lap on Wednesday. He found he'd knocked 4 seconds off his best which, rightly he was pleased with. This inspired me to do a timed lap so off I went, giving it the beans and made it round in 49 seconds. Not exactly blistering but at least it's set the bench mark. One thing that was point out to me was not getting back onto the pedalling quick enough from the berm. With this in mind I decided to give it another 'fast as I can' lap, although I wasn't being timed. I got on the pedals really early on the first berm and flew down the second straight, up the second berm and straight on the pedals again and came out at some considerable pace. My intention was to keep the wheels grounded and pump the first jump as I normally would. I hit that jump and took off like a rocket. This would have been great if I were expecting it but as I took off I then tried to push the whole bike down which results in me hitting the front side of the next jump pretty hard with the front wheel. Amazingly I managed to stay on the bike though. This lead me to think that maybe if I'd have expected to leave the ground like that and just relaxed with it I might have cleared it? Needless to say I didn't try it again. I think I need to build up to that.

Following that I was then trying to do an entire lap without pedalling at all. I was at this for about 40 minutes and the furthest I managed was the end of the second straight. I just couldn't carry any speed through the berms and I think it also highlighted the need to improve on my pumping technique. That being said I quite liked the fact that I had a specific goal in mind.

I've got myself booked in for a one to one lesson with Mark Sleigh on Thursday to hopefully just put me right on all the basics and give me some direction as far as coming to the track and practicing goes. Very much looking forward to it......as long as it's not raining.
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