On a mountain bike you are going to be going downhill at some point. It’s a Delia Smith titled sport – mountain and bike. However, dig behind that and there’s a level of fitness and skill that is required to make you hot rather than not. Whilst you can get a lift up to the top of the trail, making your way down is all about the ‘B’s; balance, braking, bouncing, bumps and frankly being ballsy.
As a downhill competition you’d think that uphill mountain bike skills may not be useful. Of course a well-laid out course will twist and turn. It may snake back up the hill here and there. So it’s a shift into the lower gears and plant your bottom on the saddle. It’s important to keep the tyre grip on loose dirt. It can be hard to keep pedalling with a deep lean forward to keep the weight on the front end.
One of my favourite places to clamber to for watching and photographing is close to the jumps. Looking at where each rider takes off from and guessing where they will choose to land. Body positions can also give away whether this is going to be a smooth moving landing or a thump and go.
Mountain Bike Downhill
This is the second in the series of mountain bike downhill paintings. Capturing the colours of the reddish brown earth and the late greenery on some trees. The downhillers coming out of the darkness of the wood. They arrive fast. Then they are jumping about 10 feet across and dropping about 6 feet.
For a moment they seem suspended and then they are down and gone. Spectators in a hushed awe or a communal ‘ooh’ for the harder landings.