How To Hit Drops on Your Mountain Bike (A 16-Step Plan)
1 May 2019
Every time I post a picture or video of myself hitting a drop — even a small one — I get comments and messages asking me “HOW DO I HIT DROPS PLZ HALP?” This has led me to believe that we as mountain bikers have an unhealthy obsession with drops. Nobody asks me how to hit corners or ride rough rocks although these things are equally important and I am most certainly better qualified to dispense advice in these realms. But nope, it’s always, always drops. So, to settle the question once and for all, here is a basic progression, based on my recent struggle with the Super 8 drop on Amasaback trail in Moab.
1. See a drop on social media and decide, based purely on photo evidence, that you should be able to do it.
2. Find said drop in real life and realize that unfortunately it now looks a lot bigger than it did in the photo. Damnit, why does this always happen?
3. Analyze all the possible negative outcomes. It’s a pretty big drop, so there are a lot of these. Allow some time for this step.
4. Roll in 10+ times.
5. Follow your husband/wife/riding partner in, balk at the last minute, accuse them of going “way too slow and trying to kill you” even though they landed the drop perfectly at the given speed.
6. If female, cry. If male, throw expensive bike parts into a pile of rocks. (Recognize that gender is a spectrum, so feel free to mix and match!)
7. Repeat steps 4-6.
8. Have a complete meltdown and consider throwing yourself off a cliff. Realize that you would then be throwing yourself off a cliff because you refused to throw yourself off a cliff in the first place. Get suitably confused and have an existential crisis.
9. Go home and pout for two days.
10. Return to the drop a second time and waste another 45 minutes replaying steps 3-8.
11. Finally give up.
12. Realize no one cares whether you hit the drop or not. Except for you. You care.
13. Return on a day with no expectations and no cameras, and tell yourself you can only have a post-ride Milt’s malt if you send it.
14. Send it.
15. Go get your damn milkshake.
16. Post a photo on social media so this cycle can begin for someone else!
I find this to be a completely accurate set of instructions/portrayal of how this happens. Number 6 was hilarious.
Number 16 is SERIOUSLY responsible for number 1. This is exactly the reason I find myself in situations that I should not be in. (And the reason for my knee surgery)
I feel personally attacked by how accurately this describes me hahaha
This is what I like about you, Syd! Pro mountain biker but still an average human. Competitive but a nice person (same applies to Macky too – it’s even rare for male athletes). Despite what you said in the intro, I’ve leaned a lot from watching your beautifully smooth and flowy ride through turns with occasional screams! That’s said the it is so awesome that you hit the drop. Well done!
This made me laugh out loud for real not just the LOL kind. I do this ALL THE TIME – with various ‘obstacles’ in my mountain-bike-land. Lucky though I’m mostly XC and my ‘obstacles’ usually only require a little extra skill and less so on the ‘guts’ side. But the balking, crying, swearing and throwing are all real… then going back solo and just doing it damn-it. Thanks Syd – your posts are the best, Signed ((not-so-young) female XC mtb’er in CA)
Find a set of progressively larger drops and do the smallest one until it becomes boring. Then move up to the next size and drop it until it’s boring. Once you have mastered those, ask experienced riders where the next step up in size drop is. Also, check in with same experienced riders for form critique or take a class.
Do NOT find a large drop and just send it.
Haha! Well done Syd, on the blog and drop.
Such a way with words woman!! I always enjoy your perspective.
I have a really hard time doing new stuff like this when there’s other people there. Reading people’s facial expressions and body language who are watching can be a bit of an emotional distraction when I really need to focus. Sometimes deliberately failing and “giving up” gets the crowd to roll down the road and hey now I’m ready to give it a go while no one is looking :)
Omg, #8 is so funny. Great job on the drop.