Motocross 101: Taming Ruts
by Sean Casey
|Ruts on the face of a jump like this are intimidating even to the pros!|
Real motocross is all about rough, choppy, rutted tracks. That is really what separates the men from the boys. Braking bumps can be intimidating, but just when you are feeling like a pro pinned down a straightaway; ruts can bring you back to reality. And they are everywhere: corners, jumps, straights. You can’t get away from them, so you might as well embrace it. Initially, it’s easy to hate ruts, but they can actually be used to your advantage.
It is a pretty easy process for a rut to form: bikes go over the same line and the rear tire digs out the soil. The main line is usually the first to get rutted up and as the day goes on, the main line will get deeper and deeper. This often times leads to a rut that prevents it from being the fastest. Keep this in mind when you do your motos later in the day. Slower riders may chop the throttle and alter the line some.
One of the most important and overlooked aspect of getting through a rut is to have both wheels lined up. I know this sounds stupid and trivial, but this can save you a lot time from getting cross rutted. This makes your forward drive and momentum easier to maintain. Remember, this goes for any rut. Once you have both wheels lined up in the rut, keep your head up and vision ahead to the end of the rut. If you look right in front you, you won’t have time to react. Staring right in front of you will only send you place, the ground.
|Basic Motocross 101: Look to the end of the rut and enter with your wheels lined up. Harder done than said.
photo: Steve Cox
Depending on how deep the ruts are, it may be a good idea to ride on the balls of you feet. This prevents the chance of your feet getting ripped off the pegs. Like always, you want to grip with your knees to keep the bike stable in the rut and apply an even, steady throttle so the bike doesn’t try to hop too much. Keeping the neutral, attack position through here will help tremendously. This puts you in a position to adjust your weight accordingly.
Each rut and scenario is different. However, remembering the basic form and keeping your vision ahead will keep you on two wheels. Once you get over the intimidation factor, you will be good to go. Stay loose, have fun and you’ll be through them before you know it.
About the Author:
Sean Casey has been riding/racing since the age of 13. Now attending the University of Central Florida, Sean is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine in Personal Training and studying Sport and Exercise Science. His site, MxTrainingBlog, covers everything from nutrition and training to racing mentality and riding technique. If you have any questions, comments, or just want to talk moto, contact Sean via email, Twitter, Facebook, or his website -
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