Sand Whoops

Sand whoops will get chewed up.  Remember the basics and you can get through them.Sand is a crazy thing; it can make you or break you.  I know I did a piece on riding through sand turns earlier, but it is vital to be a solid sand rider.  If you can ride well in soft stuff, you can ride anything.  This brings me to the next point, whoops.  They are tough, no matter how you look at them.  Add some sand to the mix and you have a section that can put you on the ground, quick.  You almost have to look at them like dancing; you have to have rhythm!

The first thing to remember is to look ahead and get your line.  You need to commit to this line before you are even in the whoops.  Another obvious point is to make sure your straight.  For example, the local track I ride at has a sand whoop section right out of a corner.  This makes things a little more complicated because I have to stay smooth on the throttle out of the turn, resulting in a straight exit.

Okay, so you are straight and committed to a line.  Even if the sand is deep, you still have to shift up; maybe even twice to you carry your momentum through the next section.  The higher the gear, the better your suspension is going to work and you’re less likely to swap out.  You almost want to chug through the section.  You want to be centered over the bike in attack position.  Although the bike works better in a higher gear, you still have to remember that you need to grip the bike with your knees. 

Something to keep in mind is to put the balls of your feet on the foot pegs and in a pigeon toe position.  This allows your whole lower body to compress inward and press the bike harder when you hit a whoop or bump.  If the whoops are peaked, you really should try to skim across the tops, like in supercross.  However, if they are spaced out and not as peaked, you can try to shift your weight back and wheelie through.  I’m not telling you to have the bike vertical, but the front wheel should be slightly off the ground.  You want the rear wheel on the ground consistently through the section.     

Once you hit the first whoop, you will immediately figure out how to hit them.  Once you get it down, just keep a consistent rhythm throughout the set.  Just like I said before, it’s just like dancing!  Even if you have no rhythm, like me, you have to remember to be committed, straight and grip the bike with your lower body.  Just keep a steady throttle and look ahead, not right in front of your fender and you’ll be through them before you know it!

Posted on Aug 08 2009, under Riding Techniques | No Comments »

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