How can you go faster on downhills?
Getting fit for MTB is easy. If you have a power meter, you can measure your current fitness then follow a training plan, track your progress and get better.
We use power meters because we can get a direct measurement of where we are at, then try new ways to get faster and figure out if these are working.
Try it. Measure it. Improve it.
So of course training to get fitter takes a lot of time, but it sure is straightforward thanks to technology!
But does getting fitter help us go faster on downhills? How do we even get faster on downhills? What skills do we need?
Say on Strava, we are 20th on our local descent. We've ridden the trail dozen of times. Can we ever imagine getting a KOM? Where are we losing time? Where do we start?
Unfortunately, to date it has been impossible to measure or track your downhill performance other than with just time. Everything about going down hills has been just guesswork! This is unfortunate at the highest level, where World Cup downhillers are just holding on and hoping for the best. Yes, they tick off some serious routines and processes along the way, but the only measurements are time to complete a section.
And of course for the rest of us, what can we do to get faster on downhills?
This is the whole reason we invented BrakeAce! Giving MTB riders the tools to get faster is my passion, and a data-led approach is the only way to do it. This valuable tool of the future fills a massive void in the sport, and one day it will be on every MTB.
Fortunately with BrakeAce, we can get faster without getting fitter at all. BrakeAce users have gained up to 10 seconds on their favorite trail in only 1 day!
On top of measuring everything you do on the downhills, BrakeAce also sorts out the places on the trail where you can improve the most, called your Key Opportunities.
This cuts to the chase and shows you just 3 places where you should focus on getting better. In your Key Opportunities, BrakeAce shows you what exactly you are doing with your brakes, such as braking too long, with too high intensity, or with crazy high modulation.
You can then go back to these sections of trail, looks for new lines and approaches, and measure your progress as you go.
There's this beautiful thing called the FlowScore, which makes it super easy to measure changes in your braking in a specific section, or even to directly compare with your friends. You can use this FlowScore to see how the pros ride differently than you, since it is a direct comparison of brake efficiency on a section of trail, every corner, or every Strava segment.
By now, we've tested this on riders from beginner up to the World Cup, and the strategy simplifies getting faster, so you get faster, well, faster!
In one test session, our super fit downhiller was within the top 5 on Strava on a trail called Box of Birds in Rotorua. The trail was used in the EWS previously, but newer lines had been burned in since.
On day 1 of testing with BrakeAce, Tyler was actually able to get the new KOM. It was a huge surprise!
Later that day, he analyzed his Key Opportunities, then went back the very next day to see if he could get faster.
He sessioned each of the 3 Key Opportunities 3 times, and was very confident.
Now remember, he didn't use BrakeAce to pick apart every single braking event (even though we could); he just looked at his Key Opportunities and general trends of which brake he was using and how he was braking before turns.
Tyler wasn't sure if he would get faster at all since he had ridden the trail 58 times, and was already the fastest.
But amazingly, after only 1 day of testing with BrakeAce, he beat his own KOM and lowered his FlowScore!
This was super cool, and we got video the whole time. It turned out to be a nice edit, so check out the video here to learn more how this rider beat himself for the KOM!
You can still get on the list to order BrakeAce, and of course, if you ever have any questions about it, just let us know :)