Descents are Not for Recovery. Recovery Ales are for Recovery.

Ivan Basso rips it up on the way down.
Ivan Basso rips it up on the way down.

My trouble isn’t with being a good descender; it is with cornering and stopping – and sometimes both. Or, as G’rilla puts it, “Descending is like sex; how good I am at it has nothing to do with how much I enjoy it.”

Descending is demanding and requires great skill. It is not a time for resting or taking it easy; getting down the mountain should be every bit as hard as getting up it. Merckx was himself a good climber, but his bikes were all designed to be stable and fast on the descents so he would be able to get off the mountain faster than the mountain goats he was chasing.

On the way down, we are compelled to smoothly spin the pedals at 120 or more rpms in pursuit of maximum speed. Once escape velocity is reached, we contort our bodies into the most aero tuck possible, causing our muscles to scream out in agony from the unnatural position. Cornering, we push on the pedals and bars in an effort to maximize friction between tire and pavement as an alternative to finding too much friction in the ditches at the roadside. The mind is consumed in the total concentration of keeping the rickshaw in one piece.

We hereby hand down Rule #93, plucked from the ether by @urbanwhitetrash in a moment of clair-V-ance after the VVhidbey Island Cogal.

Rule #93 // Descents are not for recovery. Recovery Ales are for Recovery.

Descents are meant to be as hard and demanding as – and much more dangerous than – the climbs. Climb hard, descend to close a gap or open one. Descents should hurt, not be a time for recovery. Recovery is designated only for the pub and for shit-talking.

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111 Replies to “Descents are Not for Recovery. Recovery Ales are for Recovery.”

  1. If you don’t or can not, learn to counter steer at speed and you will be happily amazed. Counter steering will also save yer ass in the bunch, at any speed – learn it.

  2. @PaulD Just looked up counter steering.  Interesting.  I realised that t I do this subconsiously on my mtb in the woods or at low speeds in traffic.

    So this works at speed on descents then does it?  Will try this tomorrow.

    Great thread @Frank

  3. @Fiery

    All those videos but no mention of Mohorič yet? The kid demonstrated some skills on the WC U23 road race…

    It’s like Graham Obree took him out drinking the night before the race, and filled his head with all sorts of ideas.

  4. @Andre the Fish Hey Andre, I think most of us do it at speed w/out thinking about it, but I’ve seen some guys really struggle when trying going fast around corners on the road because they’re thinking about turning – push the left hand to turn right, when you want to push right to turn right etc.
    Slower speeds, for example, it’ll (help) save you it you touch the wheel in front of you.

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