With the sky doing its best imitation of a daffodil our session at Mere Road was almost over, but it turned out that the best was yet to come. It is not something that I teach often, yet the results showed that maybe it should be a staple of our coaching in the future.
We had been working on ruts. Getting a feel for their front brake was helping them enter fast and stay in the ruts, but the exit was particularly rough. I decided to do a demo for them that was something a little special.
The main rut looked something like a wave that had become snap frozen, arcing high and threatening to collapse. Even worse was the threat of how it could catch an unwary foot. With the balls of my feet on the pegs and toes turned inwards I felt much safer.
Jack was first to really give it a go despite protests and plenty of apprehension. He has a very balanced body position while standing, and by that I mean he is not afraid to have his head past the handlebars. It worked, and soon he had stood through the rut three times in a row so I signalled for him to come talk it through.
Power Can Be Decieving
“When I sit through the rut I feel faster because I can get on the gas,” he said. “But standing was definitely better as I came out of the rut.”
“Yes, and I think you were faster while standing through the rut than you think. There is no power but you are entering faster and get the turn finished so quickly. I think if we got out the stopwatch you would actually find that standing is faster.”
There was something else we needed to try though. “I try to stand so low to the bike through ruts that my upper chest is almost on the handlebars. I also noticed that when you put out your inside leg while standing that it is very straight. Try standing extra low to the bike and keeping both of your legs bent.”
Easy Does It
Marcus had also been listening. When we pointed at the rut he gave it a go himself and, after a few false starts, proved to have a very light touch when he wanted to stab the ground.
“By only touching the ground gently when you feel you are leaning too far, you are actually putting all your weight on the outside footpeg. That is partly why you are so stable in there.”
He was pretty stoked, but the smile on Jack’s face proved that he was impressed with how good it was to stand low the bike through the rut.
Just That Good
“I honestly didn’t think it would help, but it was awesome.” He was so impressed that he asked whether it would be worth standing like that through berms as well. My answer was that some legends like Stefan Everts and Ryan Villipoto definitely did it, and we agreed that it would definitely be better if the berm was bumpy. Regardless, the style of standing through ruts has at least one more convert.