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Tricks For Getting Proper Alignment?


tuscani451
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Hello all, I am having a problem. This weekend I finally got my gopro mounted to the tail of my bike so I could really see what I was doing with my body positioning. What I saw shocked me-while I'm getting my butt off the bike my upper body is DRAMATICALLY twisted back over the center of the bike. My buddy pointed this out and I worked all weekend trying tips he uses to get proper alignment. At the end though I was still crossed up, is it possible I'm moving my butt too far off? What can people recommend to align my body correctly, bc in the moment I think im doing better then I see the video and I'm still not correct. Are there any tips for checking your position while your riding? Maybe I'm not fully clear on how your entire body should be aligned in relation to a turn? Any help would be appreciated.

 

Lee

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Hi Lee,

This is a great question for the coaches but let me start with some basics. Have you completed CSS level 3 which focuses on body position? Do you understand the concept of the pivot point (reading about it in TOTW II wasn't enough for me)? I was having a similar issue before taking level 3 and they were: too much butt off the seat (according to my coach more than one cheek off is unnecessary) and I didn't have a strong pivot point and was using my upper body to hold on to the bike. Once you lock that outside knee into the tank it frees up your torso and you can comfortably get your upper body aligned where you want it. It also makes it much easier to limit those unwanted steering inputs that come from hanging on to the handlebars.

 

My apologies if this is too basic, but the fundamentals are usually a good place to start and your issues sounded familiar. However there is a good bit more expertise here than I can represent. Hopefully someone who actually knows what they are talking about can chime in :D .

 

Best,

Carey

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Lee,

 

Carey had some good data, and his questions on what schools you might have done will help.

 

The body positioning issue is one of the biggest we deal with, and there aren't usually answers that can be put down in a few words. Truth be told, the program currently at the school addresses it with each level, tackling another piece of the puzzle:

 

First is the steering drill, and while it has many pieces, the big one is the going with the bike. If not, we work until we can get them so they can. Again, not trying to duck the question, but the steering drill requires an upper level coach to correctly do...the brand new coaches don't even get to train students on this, until their 2nd level of training.

 

Then there is the Lean Bike, a whole other set of factors are reviewed with that, both statically and then in motion.

 

Then, as Carey mentioned, we get into more detail in Level 3.

 

Of course, if you have already done this, we might be able to refer you back to the approriate piece...so, what training (if any), have you done?

 

Best,

CF

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As someone who has worked to overcome this problem, I agree it can be complex. What finally helped me make an improvement was seeing a picture of me with another rider following me in the same corner, at the same speed. His upper body was further from the center of the bike, and I was somewhat crossed up. It was funny, because I FELT like I was way off to the side, but the camera doesn't lie...

 

So, I compared the pictures, and for ME, the key was to lead with my shoulder. I had never been able to get my knee on the ground, and once I thought to try and drag my shoulder (not really, but that is what it feels like), everything fell into place. My knee touched down, I gained a useful tool, and my laptimes dropped a few seconds.

 

Your mileage may vary, and I agree with Cobie that there is a lot going on with body position, but for me, when I feel myself starting to revert back to my old habits, I just need to try and drag that shoulder and I'm back where I should be.

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Thanks for the responses. I have done levels 3/4 the problem is that was almost 3 months ago and I just barely got back on the track again :-/ so i'm sure I've forgotten many things. I think my problems may be a combination of several things-butt too far off, stiff/tense arms, I do agree that I dont have good enough pivot points and I am not getting locked onto the tank, also I may not be laying down far enough-ie resting my chest on the tank. I will try to work at all these at my next track day on Oct 1st and I'll update this thread-with pics. Any more ideas or suggestions are welcome in the mean time.

 

Thanks!

 

Lee

 

 

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Lee,

 

I'd make one major thing the focus of your training, all the points you list add up to a quite a bit. How about just start with locking that outside leg in, get the thigh right along the tank, get it really solid. Some of my faster/better coaches hang off LESS than one full cheek.

 

Let us know how you do for sure.

 

Best,

Cobie

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Lee,

 

I'd make one major thing the focus of your training, all the points you list add up to a quite a bit. How about just start with locking that outside leg in, get the thigh right along the tank, get it really solid. Some of my faster/better coaches hang off LESS than one full cheek.

 

Let us know how you do for sure.

 

Best,

Cobie

 

 

Thanks Cobie I think your right. I actually came to a realization last night and that is that I am not pointing my hips towards the turn. If you've ever palyed basketball you probably remember that your supposed to square your hips straight towards the basket. Same thing with a corner, by squareing your hips towards the turn (lined up with the turn) you body will naturally align, your outside leg will be more naturally angled to lock against the tank allowing you inside leg to open and your spine to align straight up/down with your hips. What I have been doing is getting my butt off but my hip are stright with the tank or turned back in. At least thats what I'm thinking, you can LMK if that sounds right. So next session will all be about locking in :)

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You can have horrible looking body position and do everything right and be much better off than the guy who hangs off the bike looking great and doesn't know why he's doing any of the things he's doing.

 

That being said, I have coached a way, that's somewhat successful, in getting the proper alignment with the bike. The key to make it SUCCESSFUL is that you actually work on it.

 

If you go to most pro races (the amateurs I've watched don't do it), you'll notice these guys work on their BP in the pits. They position themselves over and over. Tuck, switch sides, they do it all to reinforce what they know and put it into muscle memory. The important part is to ensure you're doing things like locking in and relaxing your arms, while you're switching positions. Whatever you normally do.

 

Have someone around you who knows what you're looking for and have them watch to ensure you're doing this right. They need to be critical until you have gotten it down. You need to have a way to sit the bike up straight. Cycle Gear just had a sale on wheel chocks and may still. 50% off. Can't beat that with a stick.

 

It's something you can do while in the pits. You're sitting around, whether it's a trackday or race, so take advantage of it. Practicing this with the bike set up saves you track-time in working on the same thing. You'll be amazed how you retain this once you're in motion. You know the saying: If you want to be good at something, do it 1,000 times. Working on BP with the bike set up counts.

 

How to find at least a workable BP is just as simple as practicing it. I hang off one cheek, but if you're comfortable hanging off with less, feel free. After that just lean forward onto the tank. Don't worry about that "put your head where your mirror would be" saying. That's about the most useless advice you can get or give. You can line yourself up with the bike or you can lean a little farther inside. I, for example, aim to get my outside armpit on the fuel cap. That puts me just in line with the bike. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it's the same on each side. Practice tucking, shifting, leaning into it, changing position side to side over and over. That's it. Along with everything else, do all the same things you do in a corner when you shift. Lock in, relax your arms, keep your head up, keep your hips open into the turn.

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