HOW TO – RIDE ROCKS LIKE JONNY WALKER
Ride rocks the Jonny Walker way…
Riding rocks is difficult. Those unpredictible, tricky little blighters are some of the most challenging elements of enduro. Teaming up with Jonny Walker, enduro21.com have tried to break things down to offer a better understanding as to how one of the best riders in world makes the downright difficult easier.
In his own words, Jonny offers his top tips to conquering those rocky demons…
“Rock gardens are one of the trickiest things to master in enduro. Almost every time you ride the section, the bike will react differently to the obstacle. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to ride rocks – it’s more about finding a style that suits you, makes you comfortable and one that will see you reach the other side.
“When I approach a section like this – be it man made in SuperEnduro or natural on the trail – I try to approach it with as much speed as I can. This is one of the most important elements in conquering the section.
“Now, I don’t mean flat out in fifth gear, I mean a fast, steady pace. Entering the rocks with the right speed allows you to essentially cruise across the obstacle at a constant pace without the need to increase your pace while in it.
“By being able to relax on the throttle and not needing to accelerate on the loose surface gives me more control of the bike and what I’m doing. It helps to keep the rear end in line.
“I try to ride in a taller gear – usually one gear higher than normal. This makes it easier to control the RPMs of the bike. It’s less prone to getting out of shape and if it does it’s then easier to control.
© Lynn / enduro21.com
“Before I enter the rocks I’ve already decided what line I want to use – I look for a line that has the flattest surface possible and the least amount of kickers. Once I commit to it I then look towards the end of section or as far up the track as possible. Looking at what’s closest to your front wheel will distract you, make you panic and sure enough will cause you to crash.
“My body position is leaned back and working with the suspension. The idea is to keep the front end as light as possible but not in a wheelie – this will only cause you to loose balance.
“If you ride too far forward over the handlebars, you put too much weight on the front end. This increases the risk of it tucking in a gap between the rocks and pitching you off the bike.
“I like to rest a finger over the clutch and front brake while keeping a toe over the rear brake, this allows me to react quickly to a sudden change in direction or problem.
“Like I said, rock sections are difficult to master. But by approaching it at the right speed and in a tall gear will allow you to be more relaxed. Plenty of practice is the key to getting it right.”