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Look Ahead

Look ahead.

Sounds simple, but is probably the most common error made by motorcycle riders, in particular off-road riders. When things get technical and tricky, take note where your eyes are focused. The most common thing is to look at, or just beyond the front fender. As pretty as your new front fender or decal may be, this is NOT the place to be looking.

Always try to focus your attention a few seconds up the trail. The Human brain is a pretty fast computer, but not fast enough to register and respond in time to things already at your front wheel. Remember, I said a few seconds, not feet or meters. The reason is as speed increases, you need to look farther and farther ahead. This looking ahead technique also has the effect of making it seem like your going slower than you actually are.

Want proof? While driving down the highway in the car (with someone else driving), have a look way down the road, maybe 300m or so. Take note or how things look and the perceived speed. Now, stick your head out the window and look straight down. Seems scary fast don't it?

Looking ahead does not mean a static focus at a preset distance. It means a constant scanning of the trail ahead, close and far, as well as side to side. Your brain is constantly plotting your course long before you actually get there. This is what gives you that sought after "flow" sensation".

While on the topic of vision lets also talk about "Target Fixation". Basically this principal comes down the simple fact that you WILL go where you LOOK. You see it in races of all sorts…a crash occurs then others seem to get sucked in and are now part of the wreck. On the trail, this translates into looking at that rut that you really don't want to fall into, or that rock you really don't want to hit. Guess what? Look where you want to go, not where you don't. It's that simple.

Remember we're looking ahead while going down the trail, in your constant scanning state. Take mental note of those obstacles that you want to avoid and mentally plan a route around them. As you get closer, focus your attention, not on the obstacle, but on the route around it. Try to keep the obstacle clear from your mind and before you know it, you're past it.

Heads up!

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