How to get the most out of riding Arkansas single track

Top Tips: Balance speed, direct power, and plan corners.

Seek balance, grasshopper.

Yes. Everyone and their grandmother wants to go as fast as possible, otherwise you’d be playing bridge this weekend instead of tearing up the Back 40. But it is the proper yin yang between your power and braking that will give you the control you need to achieve maximum endo-free speed.

  • Looking ahead and picking a line equals good. Reacting like a banshee equals bad.
  • As you brake, drive your weight down, back, and into the pedals – not the bars.
  • Good speed control means you’ll brake less often but on safer surfaces. Let the suspension do its job.

Make more power

For some, pedaling is a necessary evil. For the great bearded cyclocrosser, it is a religion. Whatever your religion, master a few techniques and your power will skyrocket.

  • No slumping on the bar. Either weightless or some pulling tension on the bar.
  • Engage that core. The more stable the core, the more power you generate with less back pain.
  • Head up and eyes out. Hips and spine aligned. Yep, you guessed it: a yoga class will help you ride.

Corner well. Live well.

For many of us, pulling Gs is what makes life worth living. Pay a little extra attention to the right line for your speed, the trail surface, and your suspension set-up, and that stupid grin just might become permanent.

  • Break each turn into four stages: setup, entrance, the turn itself, and the exit. Master each stage.
  • Look ahead. Look ahead. Look ahead. Seriously, look ahead. You’d be shocked at how many don’t.
  • Keep you center of gravity low and weight evenly distributed between the wheels.

Drops. Gangnam style.

You can’t always see what is around every corner, so mastering the drop is a cornerstone of having fun and staying safe. The good news: Little drops and big drops share a similar technique. You can start small and then work your way up.

  • Stay balanced on your feet and keep your center of gravity low. Do not lean too far forward or back.
  • Stay relaxed. Use your arms to match the angle of your bike to the terrain.
  • Use your legs to minimize the changes in height and manage the impacts.