Here at Pinkbike, we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers?" to more in-depth, soul-searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand-picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech-oriented.
How Do I Stop Being Scared of Exposed Trails?
Question:@itay123 asks in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum:Long story short, I consider myself a pretty advanced rider at this point. I have been riding consistently for 4-5 years and my "daily rides" tend to be between black and double black (Suicide and Rocky Peak in SoCal for reference) but for some reason when it comes to riding anything with any real exposure I suddenly find myself completely paralyzed by it. I don't mind short stretches or areas where some plant cover takes away the cliff from your sight, but a few weeks ago I went to ride Mount Wilson and found myself walking things that on any other trail I wouldn't even recall.
Anyone here run into this issue? If so, how did you get over it?
Getting a little freaked out by exposure is totally understandable. After all, there's a big difference between the consequences of taking a tumble on a trail where there's level ground on each side of you versus one with a massive vertical drop off.
Patience is going to be the key here – that last thing you want to do is force yourself to ride something you're not comfortable with, since scared, stiff riding doesn't typically have a favorable outcome. I'd start by doing what you're already doing – walking. Getting off your bike and walking the sections that are making you uncomfortable will help give you a better perspective of how much room there is between the edge of the trail and a fall into the abyss. In some cases, you'll likely be surprised to find that there's more room than you expected, which will hopefully make it easier to stay on your bike the next time you're on that section of trail.
I'd also recommend trying some rides where the trail has exposure, but isn't overly difficult. A green or blue trail that's on the edge of big drop off will remove some of the worry about not getting through a section, and let you focus on keeping calm and composed.
You've probably heard it a thousand times, but if you do find yourself suddenly faced with a section of exposed trail don't forget to look ahead. Focusing on where you want to go will help you maintain forward momentum. Getting those 'What if?' thoughts out of your head is a tricky mental game, and it's not something that'll happen overnight. With time, though, I'm sure that you'll be able to feel more confident riding exposed terrain.
Riding in the desert oven involves dealing with trails situated on the edges of cliffs, and it can take time to get accustomed to the exposure.
Rocky Mountain Altitude vs Transition Sentinel
Question:@Chillout asks: Sorry to hit you up for a trivial question, but you have reviewed both bikes I’m deciding between: new Altitude and new Sentinel. I’m coming off a 2018 RM instinct c70. Love that bike but found its limits. Looking to get add a big bike for shuttle/park duty. I absolutely love the way my Instinct rides, just want it to be more stable /capable when pinning it- the front end gets twitchy. Would you say the Altitude rides like a more capable Instinct? Or should I go with Sentinel, which requires a more aggressive riding style?
If you're a fan of the Instinct, the Altitude is going to be right up your alley. It's not crazy long or ridiculously slack, which gives it a really fun all-round nature. It'll certainly feel like more bike than your Instinct, and is a much better option for bike park / shuttle laps, but it's also not cumbersome or unwieldy, even at slower speeds.
The Sentinel's 63.6-degree head angle is .8-degrees slacker than the Altitude's in the Low geometry setting. That does give it slightly slower handling, but not by much, in part due to the fact that the Sentinel has 150mm of rear travel vs. the Altitude's 160.
At the end of the day, both bikes fit nicely into the aggressive all-rounder category, and they can handle days in the bike park just as easily as they can handle long rides with plenty of pedaling. Since one isn't dramatically better than the other, availability and pricing will likely be what determines the bike you end up with.
Rocky Mountain Altitude
Deity T-Mac vs DMR Vault
Question: In a PM, Andy S. asks: I’ve been wavering between the Deity T-Macs and the DMR Vault pedals for a new bike build (after not getting along with the oneups and their outboard bearing), and I’m wondering, if price wasn't a factor, which ones would you pick? Thanks!
Taking price out of the equation, I'd go with the Deity T-Mac. I'm a fan of both pedals, but I prefer the T-Mac's slightly wider platform and thinner pins that Deity uses. Those thinner pins dig provide more traction, and since there are 14 on each side there's plenty of configuration options to fine tune the grip. They can also be removed from either side of the pedal, which helps simplify replacement.
Post-Ride Chamois Etiquette?
I'm probably not the only one that drives at least 30 min to the nearest trailheads. My question is...what do you guys do after riding? Do you drive back home with your liner on, or do you bring a towel or something else to cover up and take them off?
I'm certain I've answered a similar question to this before, but it's so common that it's probably worth revisiting the topic. Plus, I think it's hilarious to answer questions about underwear on the internet. Especially since when I was little nobody told me that you weren't supposed to wear underwear and a chamois, something that I figured out the hard way after deciding that's what I'd wear during a solo 24-hour race. Let's just say that the results weren't pretty...
Anyways, these days I'm firmly in the no-chamois camp. Ditching the padded diaper requires two key ingredients: a good saddle, and good underwear, advice that applies to all riders, no matter your gender. Riding with a pair of saggy cotton boxers isn't a recipe for success. Saddles are obviously a matter of personal preference, so it may take some experimenting before figuring out which model, and which width works best for you. My two current favorites are Specialized's Power model, and Ergon's SM Enduro series.
Once you find a comfortable perch, the next step is to invest in some decent underwear. You'll want something that's moisture wicking and form fitting for obvious reasons, and ideally with as few seams as possible to avoid chafing. I'm partial to Saxx's Kinetic HD model – they fit well, and they last a fairly long time, which is good because they're not exactly cheap. I'm also a fan of Knobby's Long Leg Pro – they're comfy, lightweight, quick drying, and they're available in all sorts of wild prints.
For those who aren't quite ready to ditch the chamois altogether, something like 7Mesh's Foundation Boxer Brief could be the ticket – they have just enough padding to provide extra comfort without making it feel like you've stuffed a huge sponge down the back of your shorts.
As for the original question, if you absolutely must wear a chamois, definitely change after you're done riding. Some people might tell you that 'chamois time is training time', but those people would be wrong. Bring a towel or a surf poncho and get out of those sweaty shorts as soon as you can – it'll make the drive much more comfortable.