Pez was ahead of me coming into a tight turn on a wet road. He hit the brakes earlier than I would have. I wasn't expecting it and hit mine too hard. Both wheels locked and I lost grip - each of them going sideways at different speeds and directions (the back moving faster and further sideways).
I stayed up. I loved it.
It's not the first time I've almost come off at speed, but I've never changed my descending style. I adapt to wet roads, of course. You'd be an idiot not to. A wider, steadier, slower line.
But the same philosophy: Don't ride faster than you can see. Look as far ahead as you can. As fast as you can go and still brake in time to stop if you see something you don't expect the next second. So the further you can see round a bend, the faster you can go.
Brake in a straight line until you can see it's clear - ie see corner, start braking, getting progressively harder until you see the exit, then the brakes come off and the power comes on until the next corner.
Get on the drops - it means you can have your hands on the brakes the whole time and get more power through them - I like to brake progressively (start early, start light) which means I sometimes need to brake really rather hard at the end as I realise the corner is a fair bit sharper than I thought. Also, you look cooler. Especially if you nail your chin to the handlebars on the straight bits.
I also ride the racing line. The one Grand Prix cars ride. Really wide on the approach, clip the apex, use all the road on the way out (adapt this for roads that aren't closed so the 'apex' becomes the half-way line on the road). Call it the result of a mis-spent youth spent watching Senna, Schumacher and Hakkinen.
On a hairpin that means almost stopping, on a small curve on a wide road you don't brake at all if you can see the road ahead. Oh, and outside foot down with weight through it while cornering*.
Why do I ride like this? Because letting the bike run under you with your hands off the brakes as the speed builds is thrilling. But only as long as you know you can stop. And I'm terrible at climbing. Awful.
|I am easily the worst at climbing (rest of Team Underprepared ahead of me).|
But as the road goes up I just can't seem to do it - despite the hours, miles, metres, kilos lost and intervals on the turbo. So being able to go fast when it heads back down again really helps.
Also, I really love the speed.
For proper tips, watch this:
Best video I've seen on how to descend
[I'd love to embed this clip, but ITV Player is too canny for me, so you'll have to follow the link instead]
*People say doing this gives you more grip, but that's a logical impossibility - it can't change the total weight or the amount of rubber on the road. I mean, it might move your centre of mass further to the outside, which would reduce the horizontal force going through the contact point between the tyre and the tarmac and effectively mean that - all else being equal - you could maintain a greate....Ok, fine, it means you have more "grip".