Mountain biking is such a physical sport. It’s so much about fitness and bike handling skills. But it’s also a lot about brain skills, and how you think on a mountain bike.
It’s those strategies, those choices you make in your head, and those split second decisions. It’s remembering to do all the little things, those one percenters, that when added together, give you that extra ten percent edge over your competitors on race day.
And here’s a one percenter to add to your collection. I call it…
The Wet Weather Wipe (video)
Just say you’re in a mountain bike race and it’s raining, or the race has creek crossings or size-able puddles that you have to ride through…
Well, that’s when you should employ the Wet Weather Wipe. Remind yourself after every creek crossing or big splash of water to apply the brakes, or ‘feather’ the brakes as we like to call it, ever so slightly to wipe the water off the rotors and pads.
So that the next time you reach for the levers your brakes will respond fully straight away.
If you don’t wipe your brakes, that water could still be on your pads and rotors the next time you brake. And if your next braking point is just around the corner from that creek, your brakes will spend the first second wiping themselves clean before full performance is restored. And that first second of bad brakes that you’re not expecting, could have you off in the trees, instead of staying on course.
Or at the least you could end up over-braking to compensate for the delay in braking response – and that’s going to slow you more than necessary, kill your flow and suck your momentum dry.
Likewise, if it’s raining cats and dogs, keep your eyes up, and anticipate the terrain and Wet Weather Wipe if you think you’ll need to brake for good soon.
Blasting downhill in the rain? Feather the brakes here and there on the way down so that the brakes will be there for you one hundred percent when you need them.
About to climb? If the creek has a climb straight after it, sure, put all your focus into the climb, then wet weather wipe after the top. Just make sure to…
Remind Yourself Every Time
Chant to yourself in your head, “I’ve just ridden through water so I need to Wet Weather Wipe.”
Do it right:
- feather the brakes ever so slightly, a light touch of the brakes is all that’s needed
- you can do it while you’re pedaling
- the Wet Weather Wipe is not meant to slow you down
More essential mountain bike braking tips and techniques:
One-Finger Braking (How to brake just like the Pros)
The Wet Weather Wipe Video:
Some more ‘one-percenters’ to give you the edge on Race Day: