“Foot out, flat out”…. We have all heard the term and if you have ever ridden a mountain bike – you’ve done it.
Taking your foot out in a corner is an incredibly natural aspect of mountain biking. Be it on purpose or at the last minute to keep you off the ground, it’s something which is both fun and essential when riding.
That said, cornering with your foot out isn’t going to be the fastest was around a turn 99% of the time. Even the world’s best flat pedal riders will strive to keep their feet up through turns to get on the pedals asap when exiting a turn. It’s also something which can sap corner speed when not done right. Remember that the best judge of your corner speed is how fast you exit the turn – not how fast you enter the turn.
More often than not, taking your foot out means sliding and losing speed as you corner, but on loose, wide open turns, or when you’ve come in just that little bit too hot. Taking your foot out can give you some extra confidence and stability and if you do it right, you can ensure maximum exit speed from your turns. Or, throw a bit of roost for show. Here’s some tips to help make it happen.
STEP 1 -Think ahead
The sooner you know you’re going to need to get your foot out, the better. Adjustments mid turn generally equal lost speed, especially if you ride clipped in. Try to read the turn as early as possible to make the call, and as soon as you know, begin to unclip or take your foot off the pedal.
STEP 2 - Toes up, foot forward
You want to keep your toes up and your foot forward prior to it hitting the dirt. This means that by the time you plant your foot you’ll have more time to use with your foot planted as your bike rolls through the turn. If you are leaving your foot out for an extended time, leave it forward of your cranks which will also help you weight your bike more evenly with your outside leg.
STEP 3 - Push down with your outside leg
Concentrate on keeping as much weight as possible on your outside pedal. This will help weight the bike and gain as much traction as possible. Picture pushing your tyres into the dirt as hard as possible while keeping your weight centred on the bike and low.
STEP 4 - Get your foot back up as soon as you can
Don’t leave your foot hanging (literally). As soon as you can, get your foot back on your pedal to exit the turn. At the same time, be conscious of how much you are braking. Getting off the brakes as soon as possible will help you roll out of the turn faster and also give you some extra traction.
STEP 5 - Look up, not down as you exit
Remember to look up as far as possible as you exit the turn. Often in a panicked situation, you’ll naturally focus on what’s right in front of you rather that what’s further along the trail. Focusing ahead will help you get your foot on the pedal sooner, get off the brakes sooner and increase your exit speed. Focus on exiting the turn on a wider line and not over turning in the corner which is easy to do when your back end is coming around. Get back on the pedals, throw in a few pedal strokes and get back up to speed!
Words: Jared Rando Photos: Nick Way