I’ve been eyeing the big rock at the end of this bridge on the XX loop at Lebanon Hills every since I saw it for the first time back in the summer of 2011, shortly after I started mountain biking and took photos of all the technical features in the park at that time. I knew it would require speed to get over it but I didn’t have a grasp of the skill required.
When the Lebanon Hills skills park opened a year later (Aug. 2012), I got the hang of riding over the rock in the photo on the right using speed, a manual (non-pedaling wheelie), and a concluding modified bunny hop.
The approach to the rock is slightly downhill so it’s easy to get going fast and coast ever-so-briefly prior to starting the manual. The face of the rock has an angle to it that makes it less intimidating — you can’t just coast up it but it doesn’t require a perfectly accurate placement of the front wheel. As the rear wheel is about to hit the rock, you have to unweight (unload) with your legs so that it doesn’t bounce back. It’s a bunny hop motion but you don’t really have to use the rear foot ‘scoop’ motion to lift the rear wheel.
So Friday was the perfect time to try the bridge rock: I was riding with my eldest son Collin, visiting from New Jersey; and I had all my body armor on, including my full-face helmet. Everything was pretty much the same as riding the skills park rock, only 1) more speed (you can see me furiously pedaling the first half of the bridge); 2) starting the manual further from the rock; and 3) placement of the front wheel high on the rock, as the face of the rock isn’t angled.
I rode it a second time, to prove it to myself that it wasn’t a fluke. Piece o’ cake!
Here’s the 13-second video clip of my first attempt. Below that is an 8-second slo-mo from the same video, but just the over-the-rock sequence.
In a comment thread on Facebook about the video, Dan Haglund wrote:
Tonight I poked around and found this old video featuring Hans Rey and pals in which they show how to avoid having the chain ring bash the rock. It’s a trials video but it has application here. I can see that I need to learn how to use my leg/foot to lift the rear wheel with that scooping motion.
Going Up Obstacles (Getting up objects)
At the 2:20 mark:
I really appreciate that you geeked out enough on the set-up, photography and then the analysis and the slow-mo so much that the rest of us only have to hit play and cringe for you over and over until you got it. I’ve been mtb for years but can barely get over a curb, and i am determined to get a manual soon. Also i got a huge laugh at the end of the last vid where the guys hucked their friend off of the ledge (no helmet!) That says something for starting near the ground. Thanks again for doing this.
Hey Jana, thanks for the comment. Good to know I made you cringe 😉
I’m a long way from being a coach so all I’m trying to do here is dissect my riding a bit and chronicle my attempts to get better.
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