Alternate Smoother Lines with Barry Hawk - Dirt Rider Magazine

There's a characteristic of racing and riding in woods and many other off-road situations that's hard to ignore: People tend to go where others have gone before them. That's often the safest thing to do, since there could be unseen dangers lurking just off the main trail.However, all that traffic on one bit of trail will tend to make it deteriorate into a rough, whooped-out, body-jarring ride for everyone who follows that path. That's when it pays to actively look for an alternate line, which is what Am-Pro Racing's Barry Hawk suggests here.

The 2003 GNCC champ points out, "This trail has been ridden many times, and everybody who comes up the hill ends up on the left side ." While it doesn't appear all that rough in the photos, it's certainly enough to keep you on your toes when you're hitting it at speed.Hawk continues, "What I do—and what I noticed Randy and Jason do—is actually slow down. Once we get through the , we slow down and hop up on the right side coming up the hill. It's a lot smoother."It's slower at the bottom because you have to let off the gas and set yourself up. But when you get to the top of the hill, you're going way faster because you're missing 10 or 12 big chopped-out sections it's smooth. In the long run you're saving energy."The biggest thing is to set it up early so you don't get down in the rough stuff."
A. WRONG: Here, Barry Hawk rides through the main part of the trail, as most guys normally would. It's not a bad choice, but there's a better one.B. RIGHT: What Hawk basically does is work the edges of the trail more. Although he has to slow down a bit to force the bike to change direction, it will pay off in the long run. As you can see here, he has already made what is normally a gentle bend into a sharper turn and is wheelying over some ruts to get to the smoother, little-used portion of trail.C. Now he's on a small shelf of smooth ground and can accelerate hard up the rest of the hill instead of dealing with all the chop on the other, more-used side.

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