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Too old to jump?

July 24, 2020, 9:21 p.m.
Posts: 159
Joined: Dec. 6, 2017

I got back into Mtbing in 2018 after a 12 year hiatus (wasn't much of a jumper back then). I've watched several "How to jump" YouTube videos, but I continue to suck at jumps. I'm 50, so I wonder if it's even a good idea increasing the risk of crashing. I would like to get better at jumps because I like to challenge myself (without unnecessary risk). What the best way to get around the fear of committing to jumps? I'm fine on small jumps. I suppose the best option is getting lessons?

July 24, 2020, 10:22 p.m.
Posts: 11471
Joined: June 4, 2008

If you want to do it, you have way more than enough time.

I didn't hit the biggest jumps in WBP until my mid 40's, after maybe five years of riding there, which then leads me to think, "They are really really really good at building those kind of trails."  So, if you're riding janky shit jump trails built by 16 year olds, it's probably not a good time to try.

If you can ride professionally built jump trails, I think the most important things are (in no particular order):

  • make sure you know how to navigate a berm.  Pedaling into a jump is best left to veterans and pros.  (* this is super important)

  • learning to pop at the right time - smaller jumps are harder than the bigger ones, but the bigger ones are scary because you're going so fast.  The bigger they are, the more time you have to "jump".  With your pedals level to the ground, as you hit the pocket of a jump you'll get squished down... using your whole body absorb that compression, and then literally jump (at the right time... you'll know when you know).  I've never liked the teaching to pull the bike up with you... push it down and it will come with you.  If you ride off of lips, you're just a passenger and lots of bad things can happen.

  • learn to be relaxed, the stiffer you are the less likely you will be to pop, and the greater the chance you'll dead sailor it and get some new tattoos

  • start small (see above, it's harder because the pocket to pop is way smaller), but eventually you'll get it, you'll hit the backside of the jump and think you saw jesus
  • once you "get" the above.. do it a few hundred more times.  Your bones aren't made of rubber anymore.
  • once you get comfortable with that, turn your wheel 4.38 degrees one way or the other when you get airborne.

  • do that for 34 more laps

  • then bump it up to 8.28 degrees for another 48 laps

  • once you realize you can control the take-off and you're relaxed enough to turn your wheel, you'll soon be carving the face of a jump and throwing steezy whips and thinking there is nothing better on this planet and that you should move to whistler and ride the bike park every day.

I've never taken a course, so take it for what its worth.  I think the most important thing is to take it slow and know you have another 15-20 years of progression.  No need to fuck yourself up over it.

July 25, 2020, 10:02 a.m.
Posts: 541
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

Go get some coaching. A couple of hours could save you a lot of painful trial and error and help break the skills into workable chunks. Then go find some good spots to practice and work your way up to bigger stuff. The easier trails in the bike park are really good for this.


 Last edited by: craw on July 25, 2020, 10:03 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
July 25, 2020, 11:01 a.m.
Posts: 523
Joined: May 11, 2018

My feelings on jumping as I grow older is pretty simple. I ask two questions,

1) Why do I want to jump bigger?

2) what risk am I willing to accept to do it?

Then I go watch the Friday Fails, which reminds me of what will inevitably happen at some point in the future if I Keep taking risks.

For me, I am comfortable with drops& jumps up to my shoulder height. I figure if it's higher than that I wouldn't jump off it without my bike so why would I do it with my bike?

Gaps are another thing entirely. Generally higher speed and higher consequence. They weren't a big part of trail riding when I was riding in my 20's or 30's so now that I'm in 40s I don't want the risk or to put in the time to learn that particular skill. I'll do small ones but the bigger ones (10-15 feet) that are becoming more commonplace on blacks and double blacks don't tempt me that much. I ride alone or with my wife a lot and the last thing I need is to f@%k myself up deep in the woods. 

That is my personal take on the matter. Everyone finds their own  balance of risk vs progression. If I mess myself up doing my regular trail riding (as I have I  the past) I'm ok with that as I really enjoy trail riding and for the few times I actually hurt myself, I'm ok with the risk/benefit. Now if i was trying gaps and messed myself up, I would be mad at myself as I don't need gaps to enjoy my ride and I know they come with bigger risk. Same goes for riding at high speeds. I'm pretty quick but have given up on racing starva as it resulted in a few extra crashes and I don't need to be a few spots higher on the leaderboards that badly. There is a guy I ride with who remarked one day the cost in broken derailleurs he had incurred chasing a particular segment. Different strokes.....

In short you are not too old but as we get older and have different priorities, jumping may not be worth it for you. As noted above, coaching and practicing at Whistler is probably the safest way to do it.

July 25, 2020, 12:30 p.m.
Posts: 159
Joined: Dec. 6, 2017

I think lessons might be the best bet. I've realized that when my son films me sometimes, what I think I'm doing turns out to be the opposite. I'm not looking to do big jumps, if a pedal strike to my shin takes weeks to heal now, a crash at high speeds would mess me up for a long time. I'm far removed from being bulletproof.......gone are the days of quick recoveries!

July 25, 2020, 1:16 p.m.
Posts: 523
Joined: May 11, 2018

Don't know if you've watched this one. I found it helpful.

https://youtu.be/44A6CyEua3k

July 25, 2020, 3:12 p.m.
Posts: 649
Joined: March 15, 2013

Posted by: RAHrider

My feelings on jumping as I grow older is pretty simple. I ask two questions,

1) Why do I want to jump bigger?

For me personally the reason I want to learn how to jump is simply this: I currently can't do it.

It's an obstacle in the way of self improvement that I want to conquer and it is pretty much the last thing standing in the way of being the rider I want to be. This is the most important part of my desire to jump.

I want to roll up to jumps on the trail and not leave feeling disappointed every single time. I want to ride clean through the trails I enjoy and not ride around most of the jumps. I don't care about sending Crabapple hits or any prolines, but I'd like to be able to ride Aline and eventually case nothing. I don't really care about whips or tables or tricks, I just want to send lol.

I have cleanly ridden every single tech feature that I've wanted to ride. Whether on the first attempt or not there is nothing tech that I can think of that I want to clean still, or the ones that I can think of I know 100% that I can do it now I just wasn't feeling it the day I was there or had a crash already or something. On the flip side of that there are tons of jumps I can think of that not only did I not clear, I didn't even have the balls to send. In fact almost every trail I've ever ridden has had jumps that I haven't cleared or attempted. I know I have the skills to jump I just don't have the balls or confidence.

I would echo Craws advice and get some coaching, and I should probably take that advice myself.


 Last edited by: thaaad on July 25, 2020, 3:15 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
July 25, 2020, 3:58 p.m.
Posts: 159
Joined: Dec. 6, 2017

Posted by: thaaad

Posted by: RAHrider

My feelings on jumping as I grow older is pretty simple. I ask two questions,

1) Why do I want to jump bigger?

For me personally the reason I want to learn how to jump is simply this: I currently can't do it.

It's an obstacle in the way of self improvement that I want to conquer and it is pretty much the last thing standing in the way of being the rider I want to be. This is the most important part of my desire to jump.

I want to roll up to jumps on the trail and not leave feeling disappointed every single time. I want to ride clean through the trails I enjoy and not ride around most of the jumps. I don't care about sending Crabapple hits or any prolines, but I'd like to be able to ride Aline and eventually case nothing. I don't really care about whips or tables or tricks, I just want to send lol.

I have cleanly ridden every single tech feature that I've wanted to ride. Whether on the first attempt or not there is nothing tech that I can think of that I want to clean still, or the ones that I can think of I know 100% that I can do it now I just wasn't feeling it the day I was there or had a crash already or something. On the flip side of that there are tons of jumps I can think of that not only did I not clear, I didn't even have the balls to send. In fact almost every trail I've ever ridden has had jumps that I haven't cleared or attempted. I know I have the skills to jump I just don't have the balls or confidence.

I would echo Craws advice and get some coaching, and I should probably take that advice myself.

I can relate to most of this!

July 25, 2020, 3:59 p.m.
Posts: 159
Joined: Dec. 6, 2017

Posted by: RAHrider

Don't know if you've watched this one. I found it helpful.

I have, but I'll watch it again.

Thanks

July 29, 2020, 11:16 a.m.
Posts: 1250
Joined: Jan. 5, 2005

Lots of great advise in here. I too am a 40+ year old and I still jump lots,  but I got more into jumping in my 30's. The secret learning tool I found that super charged my learning curve was very simple, ride jumps on a chainless, brakeless BMX. 

Trains both your mind (stay off the brakes) and your body (pump and pop). Seriously, it works. Once you get passed the initial fear (and your first few cases) you'll be flying!  ...plus just the feeling of having all your fingers wrapped around your grips cause there are no levers is really nice.

July 31, 2020, 1 p.m.
Posts: 2290
Joined: May 23, 2006

Posted by: ReductiMat

know you have another 15-20 years of progression.  

But I'm 65! You're saying I have to risk death?

Aug. 1, 2020, 9:50 a.m.
Posts: 1003
Joined: Feb. 5, 2011

Posted by: thaaad

For me personally the reason I want to learn how to jump is simply this: I currently can't do it.

It's an obstacle in the way of self improvement that I want to conquer and it is pretty much the last thing standing in the way of being the rider I want to be. This is the most important part of my desire to jump.

I want to roll up to jumps on the trail and not leave feeling disappointed every single time. I want to ride clean through the trails I enjoy and not ride around most of the jumps. I don't care about sending Crabapple hits or any prolines, but I'd like to be able to ride Aline and eventually case nothing. I don't really care about whips or tables or tricks, I just want to send lol.

I have cleanly ridden every single tech feature that I've wanted to ride. Whether on the first attempt or not there is nothing tech that I can think of that I want to clean still, or the ones that I can think of I know 100% that I can do it now I just wasn't feeling it the day I was there or had a crash already or something. On the flip side of that there are tons of jumps I can think of that not only did I not clear, I didn't even have the balls to send. In fact almost every trail I've ever ridden has had jumps that I haven't cleared or attempted. I know I have the skills to jump I just don't have the balls or confidence.

I would echo Craws advice and get some coaching, and I should probably take that advice myself.

Good to hear I'm not the only one. This is pretty much exactly how I feel. Hopefully I can eventually overcome it...

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