Flow and Braking on MTB Trails
Flow in MTB can mean many things. For some flow means the state of mind you're in when you're fully focused on the trail and nothing else. For others, flow means seamlessly linking turns and exiting with high speeds to finally get that PB. And still others literally think of bermy flow trails where it feels like you're riding on rails.
Whatever flow in MTB means to you, it's probably something you're always wanting more of!
When it comes to braking, we think of the FlowScore. The FlowScore is a BrakeAce metric that puts a number to your braking. A FlowScore of 0 means zero braking, and it increases each time your use your brakes to slow down. Heavier, longer or more highly modulated brake events take away a lot of flow and tick up your FlowScore faster than lighter, shorter or more even brake events that conserve speed. A lower FlowScore means more flow! You can look at your FlowScore per event, per ride or per trail.
Having better flow on the trails is something you can work on and improve. You can train and track your flow with BrakeAce in the same way riders use power meters to train and track their fitness. Interval rides once or twice per week help with fitness, and flow training rides once or twice per week help to improve your flow.
Below are three MTB training rides you can do to work on your braking and improve your flow:
Brake Balance Training Ride
During a normal ride, try using the front brake more than the rear on two or three sections of the trail. Note differences in your weight distribution, body position, and the speed at which you can comfortably ride compared to normal braking. The right Brake Balance varies from rider to rider and trail to trail, but getting a feel for extremes one way or the other is worth trying so you can find your sweet spot. Review your ride at the end by analysing your FlowScore and Brake Balance.
Learn more about how other rides use their front and rear brakes here
2-1-None Braking Method Ride
Head to trails with steep turns. At your normal braking points, brake heavily with both brakes to come to a comfortable speed. Control your speed through the remainder of the turn with only the rear brake. Release the rear brake when you can comfortably exit the turn. As you gain confidence with this braking strategy, experiment with your braking points to conserve speed before the turn while maximizing exit speed. Analyse your ride using the Braking Activity map.
Learn more about the 2-1-None braking method here:
BrakeAce Method Ride
Choose a 1-3 minute descent you know well and complete a smooth, fast run. Identify your Key Opportunities in the BrakeAce app. Head back to your Key Opportunities and session these sections looking for alternate lines, shorter braking points and better exit speed. This is a great chance to experiment because your KOs are your low hanging fruit to improve your FlowScore over the whole trail. Head back to the top of the trail and complete another smooth, fast run to piece it all together. Compare your FlowScore and Key Opportunities between your first and final runs.
Learn more about the BrakeAce Method here:
What Does MTB Flow Mean to You?
Tracking and training your flow on your rides will help you unlock a new level of fun in your riding. The ride doesn't have to stop when you hang up your bike. With a whole new level of analysis available with the BrakeAce app and and wireless PF2 sensors, you can continuosly redfine what flow means to you, to your riding buddies and to your trails.
As you improve your flow on your own trails, reach out to us and let us know!