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Looking Ahead

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Does anyone have any tips on looking ahead in the woods? I feel this is really what slows me down in racing. (this and bad starts) It's easy to look ahead on a wide open MX track without any trees or other riders blocking the whole view of turns or whatever is in front of you. I have a hard time blocking things out sometimes and catch myself not looking that far ahead sometimes. This would probably be better if I rode/practiced more, huh?

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If I remember correctly Shane Watts told us to look 2-3 bike lengths ahead for every gear your in. 2-3 bikes first gear, 4-6 in 2nd and so on. Gets harder in twisty woods trails, but you just need to remember to keep your head up and look as far ahead as you can.

Your right practice practice practice and catch yourself doing it and change the habit. Last night ride I did, I had set my helmet light to low without realizing it, I was having an awful time riding, not getting a rythm etc, after a bit realized it was because my light was focused to close to my front tire. Moved it out a good 10' or so farther and made all the difference in the world.

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One of the big differences between an mx track and singletrack is the precision required coming out of corners. Most mx corners you can twist it without "looking ahead" inveriably its a straight. Just twisting it on a singletrack corner usually causes more grief than its worth. What Im saying is you have to be pickier on the singletrack than an mx track. You may be looking the same distance away on each but there is usually more variables for your mind to process.

Mx tracks get very "rote". Offroad demands a little more between the ears.

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I try to pick a line by looking ahead and trusting my body to follow it. If I focus on an object I want to avoid too long, I almost always hit it!

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Learn to use your peripheral vision to see more of the up close while your looking ahead. The farther ahead you can look, the sooner you see what's coming up, and the less surprises the trail will throw at you. Your peripheral vision will let you deal with the trail that's already in front of you while your scanning for what's coming up on down the line. And don't be afraid to scan closer to your front wheel if/when needed, but only for split seconds at a time, then back down the trail. Must always keep your eyes and vision moving and scanning. A thing you learn on the street, if your vision stops moving, it will settle on one thing, then you've target fixated and everything else is blocked out. The closer you look at the front of your bike, the less your vision is moving, and the easier it is to fixate on (and hit) that big rock that appeared all of a sudden because you weren't looking far enough ahead to see it in time to plan a calm route around it.

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I'm bad at this. Especially noticable once I start getting tired... focus keeps getting closer and closer to the front tire! heh.

When I have a good wood practice loop, I'll pick one thing and try to focus on that the whole loop, whether it's looking ahead, using more rear brake, standing, etc. Just need to be able to ride more than once a week!

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i would suggest riding more at speed, not necessarily on the trail itself, nor on a drag strip either, more on like some open trails

the issue you have is not low speed, is you are not adjusting for high speed, as drive faster you will get used to the speed at which you enter corners and bumps etc and it naturally forces you to look further out.

practicing on a real trail is hard because you move too much between 5 and 50 spend more time at 50 to get used to the speed!

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Mostly, looking ahead is a skill you develop through seat time. Until it's second nature, you need to consciously focus on doing it.

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I found as I was relearning "woods" riding, that I worried too much about this, that, and the other thing. Once I learned to relax, my vision cleared, and it became easier for eyes/brain/body to absorb, process, then act on said visual stimulus. Basically, seat time took care of most of my issues. My biggest hang-up was unlearning bad riding technique, and learning proper technique.

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This may sound a little stupid, but it's something I started doing and it actually helped quite a bit. While exercising (cycling, or running) I started paying close attention to where I was looking. I started to notice that while I was running, especially when I started getting TIRED, I would be staring at my feet. If you do run or cycle..try forcing yourself to keep your head up and look forward. Like I said, it sounds stupid..but it reminds you to keep your head up. I know when you're really tired while riding, it is very easy to just start staring at your front fender.

Another tip that may come in handy while following someone through the woods or tight sections. Try your best to not keep your eyes focused on the rider in front of you or their back tire. Try instead to look around them. That way if/when they blow through a corner, you won't follow them off into the bush.

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Man my eyes are constantly moving when I'm riding, way up the trail, front fender, left, right all over the area taking in everything. I do this when I'm driving my truck as well, never know when some nut case is going to cut in front of you.

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One practice tip I've read but never got around to trying is to put a strip of painters tape along the bottom of your goggle lens. That way you'll be forced to tilt your head up and look forward instead of looking down through the bottom of the lens.

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I never really thought of this till know but i try to look to the next turn. But if im going up to a hit or going down i look for best line while going.

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I found as I was relearning "woods" riding, that I worried too much about this, that, and the other thing. Once I learned to relax, my vision cleared, and it became easier for eyes/brain/body to absorb, process, then act on said visual stimulus. Basically, seat time took care of most of my issues. My biggest hang-up was unlearning bad riding technique, and learning proper technique.

Staying relaxed while woods riding , whether it be single track or more open trails, is the key to becoming faster. A relaxed body is what makes you one with the bike.Be aware of your surroundings, and you can start to push your boundaries.

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Quick thinking is key! I always remind myself to stay loose. don't try to fight the bike. Find your line through a corner quickly and move on to finding your way to the next. I am always looking as far ahead as the surroundings will let me. Don't force yourself to stand. The position in witch a rider rides is up to him/her what works for you works for you. good luck and stay loose! Just my .02 I try to notice what im doing every race and try to conserve energy the best I can! Also do your best to set up your suspension it helps a lot.

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