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Mastering Mountain Bike Skills-3rd Edition

Mastering Mountain Bike Skills-3rd Edition


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    If you want to ride like a pro, you should learn from a pro! In Mastering Mountain Bike Skills, Third Edition, world-champion racer Brian Lopes and renowned riding coach Lee McCormack share their elite perspectives and their own successful techniques to help riders of all levels build confidence and experience the full exhilaration of the sport.

    Mastering Mountain Bike Skills offers everything you need to maximize your fun and excitement on the trail. Learn how to select the proper bike and customize it for your unique riding style. Develop a solid skills base so you can execute techniques with more power and precision. Master the essential techniques to help you carve every corner, nail every jump, and conquer every obstacle in your path. Last, but not least, prepare yourself to handle every type of weather and trail condition that the mountain biking world throws at you.

    Whether you’re a first-time mountain biker, a seasoned enthusiast, or an aspiring professional, this book is the guide for improving your ride. Don’t just survive the trail—own it, and enjoy the thrill.


    Mountain bike riders of all levels—both competitive and recreational—interested in improving riding techniques or seeking guidance in the selection of bikes and equipment; instructors who teach riding skills.

    Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: Choose Your Weapon
    Buy the Right Bike
    Hardtail or Full Suspension?
    Which Wheel Size Is Best for You?
    Choose the Right Bike for Your Riding Style
    Understand the Bike’s Geometry
    Customize Your Bike for Your Riding Style
    Bike Setup
    Chapter 2: Become One With Your Bike
    Get Ready to Suck Less
    Master Your Body
    Learn How to Touch Your Bike
    Get Into Attack Position
    Now Get Out of Attack Position
    Find Balance
    Stay on Your Feet
    Loading and Unloading
    Mounting and Dismounting
    Chapter 3: Control Your Speed
    Slow the Heck Down
    Don’t Let Your Lizard Brain Run Your Brakes
    Know Your Stopping Distance
    Brake With Intention
    Battle Braking Bumps
    Chapter 4: Make Great Power
    Pay Attention to Posture
    Basic Seated Pedaling
    Master These Pedaling Drills
    Standing Pedaling
    Sprinting: Upright or Bent Over?
    Make Mad Power With These Tips
    In the Saddle
    Out of the Saddle
    Spin to Win
    Training Tips From a Pro
    Chapter 5: Carve Every Corner
    Understand the Basics of Every Turn
    How Bikes Turn
    Master the Art of Changing Direction
    Ride Smart Lines
    Lean to the Right Degree
    One Foot Down or Feet Level?
    Inside Foot In or Out?
    Rail Berms
    Carve Flat Turns
    Survive Off-Camber Turns
    Conquer Switchbacks
    Skid Into Loose Corners
    Pump Berms for Free Speed
    Deal With Drift
    Chapter 6: Ride Down Almost Everything
    It’s Simpler Than You Think
    Coasting Down a Hill
    Rolling Down a Ledge
    Flying off a Drop
    Wheelie Drop
    Chapter 7: Ride Up Almost Anything
    Common Climbing Errors
    Keys to Easy Climbing
    Pedaling Up a Hill
    Transitioning From Flat to Steep
    Pedaling Up a Steep Face
    Floating Up a Vertical Ledge
    Chapter 8: Pump Bumps for Free Speed
    What Is Pumping?
    Pumping Step 1: Arms
    Pumping Step 2: Legs
    Pumping Step 3: Arms and Legs
    Add Pump to Your Riding
    Pumping a Berm
    Pump Tracks: The Hottest Thing Since Singletracks
    Chapter 9: Wheelie, Manual and Hop Like a Boss
    Lift That Front Wheel
    Lift Your Rear Wheel
    Get Over Small Obstacles
    Hop Over Large Obstacles
    Lunge Onto a Ledge
    Kung Fu Power Wheelie
    Real Bunny Hop
    Pump-Manual Hop
    Pedal Hop
    Chapter 10: Might as Well Jump
    Learn to Jump
    Dial Your Jumping Style
    Handle All Sorts of Jumps
    Chapter 11: Avoid Injuries
    Chronic Injuries
    Acute Injuries
    Stay Out of Trouble
    Common Mistakes and Their Fixes
    So You’re in Trouble . . .
    Top Exercises to Prevent Injury and Improve MTB Performance
    Rip It for a Lifetime
    Chapter 12: Handle Every Condition
    Unnecessary Roughness
    Slippery When Wet
    Soft, Deep, and Loose
    Avoiding the Rut
    Riding the Skinnies
    Fatbiking in Winter
    Chapter 13: Flow on Any Trail
    See Better to Go Faster
    Pick Great Lines
    Dial In Your Speed
    Ride With a Reserve
    Match Your Line and Speed to Your Skills
    Know Why You Ride
    Chapter 14: Race Like a Champ
    Strengthen Your Mind
    Pump Track Racing
    Dual Slalom
    24-Hour Races
    Photo Credits
    About the Authors

    About the Author

    Brian Lopes has had an unprecedented career of more than 20 years as a professional cyclist. He has been labeled "undisputedly, the best all-around, world-class cycling athlete" by USA Today.

    Brian started racing BMX at the tender age of four, turned pro at the age of 17, and competed in the BMX circuit for seven years. In 1993, he channeled his efforts into mountain biking and later earned both a fifth-place finish and recognition in the sport in his first MTB race. He then won his first NORBA National race, and he has never looked back. He has won more than 19 titles in his mountain biking career, including nine National Championship titles, six UCI World Cup wins, and four UCI Mountain Bike World Champion titles, first in 2001 and then again in 2002, 2005, and 2007.

    His enviable race resume made the Lopes name one of the most recognizable in the sport of cycling. Known for his flawless style and competitive drive, he is an inspiration to bikers and action sport enthusiasts around the world. Nominated in 2001 for the ESPY Action Sport Athlete of the Year award, he won the NEA (World Extreme Sports) award for Mountain Biker of the Year in 2000 and 2001. He was featured in the Sony PlayStation Downhill Domination game as himself. In 2008, he was inducted into both the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and the BMX Hall of Fame.

    In 2013, Brian took on the role of fitness trainer, working with the Honda, Red Bull, and Troy Lee 250 motocross team. In this capacity, Brian worked with Jessy Nelson, Cole Seely, and Shane McElrath. This opportunity allowed Brian to share his knowledge on the mental and physical fitness that racing requires.

    Brian is currently working as a lead athlete brand ambassador generating brand awareness, producing relevant media content, and providing insightful research and development intelligence with the goal of creating exceptional cycling products. He races at select events, and he resides in Laguna Beach, California, with his wife, Paula, and his son, Maverick.

    Lee McCormack is the world’s leading mountain bike skills author and instructor. He has helped thousands of mountain bikers—from beginners to experts to world champions—ride better, safer, and faster. In his role as the skill development director for the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), McCormack created the curriculum and wrote the manual used to train high school mountain bike racers and their coaches throughout the United States.

    McCormack's website, Lee Likes Bikes, is a favorite among devoted riders. The Lee Likes Bikes MTB School helps riders worldwide learn the skills he teaches in person. (Check out the site for videos showing the skills explained in this book, as well as more advanced skills.) As the founder and CEO of RipRow, McCormack is proud to be helping riders develop their skills and fitness off their bikes as well as on their bikes.

    McCormack has been a mountain biker for almost 30 years, and he is still getting better, which makes mountain biking fun. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife, Arlette, and his twin daughters, Finley and Fiona. The whole family rides together whenever they can.


    “I’ve known Brian for years, and he is one of the best mountain bike riders I ever rode with. Reading his book is sure to take your skills to the next level.”

    —Nino Schurter, MTB Olympic Gold Medalist (2016), Five-Time Cross Country World Champion

    “Brian helped me achieve my dream to become a great bike racer. He showed me the dedication and discipline that one needs to make this happen. The experience Brian shares in his book will allow everyone to achieve their goals of becoming a better and safer rider.”

    —Cédric Gracia,4X World Cup and World Champion

    “Working with Lee changed my world of mountain biking. He simply is THE best skills coach in the world. He took me from a pathetic off-road triathlete to an elite World Cup mountain bike racer.”

    Lesley Paterson,XTERRA World Champion and Professional MTB Racer