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Anticipating the trailhead

Shane Watts

“Anticipating” is an essential and key part of riding a dirtbike.

For sure now, as you are driving your vehicle to the trail head, the moto track, or your favorite practice loop out in the bush you have a lot of “anticipation”. Same goes for when it’s mid morning and you’ve got heaps more hours to go being either stuck in that office cubicle, or digging trenches, or what ever it is you do before you can jet out of there and go roosting. But that’s not the kind of “anticipation” I’m talking about here….

Instead, what I mean is the ability to “anticipate” the situations and conditions that are approaching on the trail ahead – whether it be a nasty uphill, a rutted out corner, a bog hole, or any other of the multitude of difficult trail situations out there. By paying acute attention not only to the previous trail but also the environment and topography you are approaching you can gain a pretty good understanding and judgment of what that next trail situation is that you will be forced to conquer before you have even seen it.

For example, let’s say that back down the that moist, slippery clay trail that you are roosting there was a spot where the soil on the trail changed to a lighter color, and a sandier composition and therefore you experienced plenty more traction for the short portion of trail. Well, further up that trail as you are slip sliding around approaching that next tight corner and you see that the soil starts changing to that lighter shade of color, you can fairly certainly say, due to your “anticipating” that you are going to have much more traction in this next corner than the previous slippery ones. This means you will be able to decide to safely carry more speed into and around that particular corner. Now that is a good thing because at that same time you had noticed the trail you had been traversing along was in the bottom of a gully, with somewhat steep side walls that been “closing in”. Again, you could pretty much “anticipate” with near 100% certainty that following the next corner you will be faced with an abrupt hillclimb to conquer. Thankfully your “anticipating” has given you a better chance of cresting the top of that rise, not only because you were somewhat expecting the hill and ready to attack it, but also because you carried more speed and momentum around that previous corner.

“Anticipating” and trail experience go hand-in-hand together – they complement each other and the more you have of each the better and more correct your decision making judgment will be on the trail.

Generally it is hard to see and know what is around that next corner – it is that situation where your “anticipating” skill will give you the most benefit on the trail. Currently we are filming Volume #2 in our Advanced series of DirtWise Instructional DVDs, which focuses on an in depth analysis of cornering, braking and tight tree trail situations you will deal with. “Anticipating” has been a big part of this filming – not only does it apply to so many of the trail situations that we will show how to successfully conquer, but we also have a lot of “anticipating” in getting it finished and on sale in early September so as you guys can view, learn, and fast track your skills improvement from it!!!

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