The Art of Cornering

Cornering, such a simple part of mountain biking right?

But how is it that the cat 1 guys whip through those segments so fast? How is that Strava segment twisting between tree after tree even possible at those speeds?

Like any good art form, cornering will take a lifetime to master and you continually learn more, day after day, ride after ride.

Small, tiny, hardly noticeable changes in how you approach that corner or the smallest shift in body positioning. These are the things that shave minutes off your time.

It’s not about power, or acceleration or the cost of the bike you ride. None of that matters when cornering. It is a mastery of flow. A journey in search of a seamless, most efficient route around objects. A journey that you will swear over and over again is going to put you head first into a tree.

But the more you push the corners, the harder you try to make that corner happen, the further from mastering that corner you will get.

Cornering is an art, and like any art, cornering is best performed when relaxed, calm and in a state of zen.

Yes, there are tips we can share about how to become better at this art, things like keeping your eyes focused on the trail ahead or turning with your belly button will certainly help. But these are only tactics.

Much like painting, choreographing a dance or writing a symphony, tactics only take you so far. To become truly great at this art it is up to the individual rider to determine his own style. It requires a soulful presence in tune as much with the trail around him as the bike he rides.

Think back to your best ride you’ve ever had. Think about the best turns you’ve ever made on your bike. Odds are good it was while you were relaxed and enjoying the ride, not while tensely sprinting for a new PR.

All of this, because cornering is an art.

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