Video: Pre-Season Training with Ben Cathro, Henry Kerr and George Kerr

Feb 28, 2020
by Rab Wardell  

The downhill season is just around the corner and the racers I'm working with are adding the finishing touches to their winter preparation. I met Ben Cathro, George and Henry Kerr at Innerleithen in the Tweed Valley for a day of full downhill runs. The guys were making the most of the Adrenalin Uplift service to make tweaks to their bike set-up and fine tune their skills before their first races of the year this month in Spain and Portugal.

Riding in the snow

We decided on a track to focus on for the day and used the IXS upper section before traversing into a lower Cresta Run variation. During the first few runs, the goal for the riders is to warm up and get familiar with the track conditions before moving onto the main session goal.

Innerleithen Road gap

The main session focus was then for riders to be consistent on technical sections while being aware of the pace they were riding at. Pacing and patience are vital for downhill racers, and the key going fast can often be knowing how and when to back off.

Step Down

Often the pressure of racing the clock can get to a rider, so you need to develop the confidence to back off at the right times to remain in full control. The mantra 'slow is 'fast' is well known, but it takes discipline to commit to that game plan. It is all too common to feel the niggling doubt that you should be riding faster.

How do you feel when you're riding your mountain bike on the downhills? Are you in control or are you pushing past the limit? What do you think offers better results? Do you believe that slow is fast?

Photographs - Ian Linton


19 Comments

  • 26 1
 So, "Slow is Fast"......................well, I've been slow for ages. When does the fast bit come Smile
  • 5 0
 Trying to go too fast definitely slows me down sometimes. Too close to the limit, and I end up slightly off line or braking hard in a corner. I'm always looking for the fastest pace that I can ride without making mistakes. This video makes me want to take the time to session tricky track sections to get a better feel of what line choice works the best, and where to get the most benefit from pumping and braking.
  • 6 0
 I stood around and watched some pro riders at an enduro I was racing and came away with one big take away. Rather than ride a specific section as fast as possible they mostly optimized for maintaining momentum into the fast sections. They would take different, slower lines than I would expect over some tech features and through some corners to optimize for higher exit speed off the feature instead of lowest time through the feature itself.
  • 2 0
 @dthomp325: this. i used to try to take the gnarliest line I could just to say I rode it. Go in out of control, exit out of control. Really fast for 1 second, then slow as balls on the out. I am now older and wiser.
  • 3 1
 This is actually good coach stuff, and slow is indeed fast in the long term
  • 4 1
 Is Cathro available in the Fantasy Comp?
  • 2 1
 No, unfortunately. I've heard about underground bettings being set up for leftover racers like him. Bets are rewarded with beers.
  • 4 0
 he's probably not in there cause he still needs some more uci points before he can participate in the world cups.
  • 33 0
 @El-Mustachio: Bingo! Heading out points hunting next week. I’ll be at the first World Cup round but not racing it.
  • 6 0
 @ben-cathro: Good Luck. I'm hoping we'll see you soon riding some world cups.
  • 4 0
 @ben-cathro: So stoked for u man! Will u find time for Cathro-Vision still?
  • 5 0
 @DirtbagMatt: "CATHRO-VISION" is the BEST thing on "PB" !!!
  • 3 0
 @ben-cathro: Wishing you the very best of success (and luck) for the season Ben. Supporting you all the way.
  • 16 0
 @DirtbagMatt: I'll be reporting for Pinkbike daily at all the world cups this year Smile
  • 3 0
 @ben-cathro: AWESOME !!!
  • 1 0
 Get in @ben-cathro. Really looking forward to seeing you racing and next season's Cathrovision. Hopefully soon be in a position where I can bung you a bit of dollar on Patreon.
  • 3 0
 “Slow it down and smooth it up”
  • 1 0
 seems pretty dry for inners
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