basic level trials training: walking a section
One of the first things you'll see at a trials competition is all the riders walking the sections. There is no such thing as a practice run, so everyone tries to visualise what it will be like riding the section, and which are the best lines to take. You will be watching out for things like areas of poor traction, obstacles to avoid, and any markers specific to your grade.
A common technique is to use your hand to visualise where you think your front wheel will go. You will also need to keep in mind where your rear wheel will be going. Some riders shuffle through a section using one foot to plot the front wheel's track, and the other foot for the rear wheel's track.
When it comes to riding, it helps to watch other riders doing the section first. They may have found an easier line than the one you've planned, or encounter problems you didn't foresee with your line. There will usually be better traction too as their bikes will clear away dirt, rocks and sticks from the best lines.
At first, it is common to overestimate your abilities when walking a section - that turn that looked so easy on foot is suddenly very tight even on full lock! Some practice in walking sections is a good idea outside of competition. Accurately estimating what you can and can't do while walking a section will pay dividends in competition.
If you know a particular part is beyond your abilities, plan on where you will put your foot down to then ease your bike through. If you deliberately dab in the right spot, you will be surprised at how easily you can work the bike around a tight corner or drag it up a tough obstacle without moving your foot. It's far better to give away one point than lose five with a stalled engine or runaway bike!
Copyright B. Morris 2014
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