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I think a key to staying light is consciously weighting and unweighting to float rough sections. Select the right place in the trail to literally let your weight push into flow and gain traction. Alternatively Float up, not necessarily pop off the ground but push off and rise upward just before rough sections. The smoothest way through the roughest patches is unweighted float, of course you cant endlessly float, so it becomes a game of heavy in the smoother spots setting up your direction and pop to lightly float the tops or even completely above those real nasty bits coming int smoother spots to drive through the pedals allowing more traction for direction changes or setting up the next upward light float. I have seen this work very well for talented experienced riders regardless of suspension geometry, tire choice, etc. Hardtail guys that rip really rough trails will demonstrate this if you watch them closely.
Up untill this year i rode a gt avalanche with a marz airfork pumped up so high its basically rigid. Used to smoke my pals on technical and demanding terrain, even rode a junker trek full rigidcrap brakes and slicks on local flow trail system and would straight embarass guys on FS bikes. Land the transition ya know. But then i splurged and bought an enduro with 170 front and back, downhill grade brakes, dropper etc. Sadly I cant go back. If I pull out the old GT i can barely ride it to the store. New geometry and burly running gear has me going so fast and cleaning up and downhill chunky stuff. I cant go back. Plus Im old now. 3 hours into a serious ride its nice to sit down and let the bike take all the abuse. Only problem ive had is bent rims, torn tires, destroyed rear derailleur, because i dont even care about a clean line through rough stuff, cant feel anything in the rear till major damage is done and tubless sealant is literally everywhere. Its like switching to a motocross bike. Whole new world and I really loved the old hair shirt and self fladulation from my hardtail and basically rigid fork!
I find technical climbing is engaging and the focus makes me forget the suffering. A long fire road is my worst enemy. It is easy to begin hunting for the solution to every little problem, gnats, flies, i need sunscreen, i need a new seat or padded shorts, better shoes, lighter bike…but at some point just knuckle down and grind. Plow hard and push. Sweat in your eyes? Ignore. Girlfriend being a bitch lately? Ignore. Turn into a gorilla and damn the torpedos. Technical single track helps to keep you in the game. Kick that climbs ass!
Drop them down your nose a tad on climbs. Air gap avoids fogging. Keep high percentage deet bugspray away from sunglasses. I take em off on the climbs. Clean at the top before head down
- I run 2×9 on my old reliable hardtail. Took off the shifter and FD and just swap by hand between waterbottle swigs at the top. Cannot stand the racket from chain contacting FD on rough downhills. I like to hear only the sound of my tires making their way. Plenty of innertube wrap on chain and seat stays. Sad truth is without clutch big hits drop chain. Even with shortened chain and high tension spring on der. Chain drops off middle chainring everytime half way through DH but who cares? Granny is nice on climbs but the new 1x with small chainring is just as granny, quiet as can be, never have to think about it. Food for thought.