Pro Diary Joe Barnes Part 1

Mountain Biking Magazine




Racer, rider, creator… Joe Barnes rocks. Here he kicks off with his first ever Pro Diary for Dirt… whoop, whoop. Tackling such life changing topics as goolie bashing, turning left and spuds. There will be more to come in the following months.




It’s Megavalanche time (6–12 July) with over 1000 Brits (approx.!) heading out to Alpe d’Huez for some seat–of–the–pants riding and scary mass start action. I have been there four times now and loved every one. Unfortunately this year it clashes with other plans so I wont be able to skid some snow. So now would be a good time to share some advice and tips I have learnt over the years:

Ride hard everyday. Don’t worry about the race legs, it’s the one race a year where getting laps with the boys is the priority.

Don’t forget your complimentary pass for the swimming pool, then bust in anyway. They’ll call security and deny you your wash.

Install a dropper post to your steed. I got the holeshot the first year racing and was in second after the big traverse. Then stopped to put my seat up and everyone went past.

I wasn’t there last year but if it rains install smaller wheels to your bike to stop the mud clogging your bike to a stop. Try to just go down one size, but if you must fit 24inchers in you 29er so be it!

Beware of the gondola ball slap! Dropper post to the goolies is not fun*

Enjoy and get wild.

*If you’re unfortunate enough not to run a dropper post with damping you are in danger of the mega ball slap. On the gondolas in Alp D’ues you stand up with your bike vertically, to squeeze more people into each lift. You find out who your mates are when a sly hand creeps over nudging your dropper post lever and whabam. You’ll be harmonising with Mick Jackson.

I have been working on a couple of theories recently to get things peaking, so here is some chat explaining…

Why do the large majority of riders prefer to hoof a left turn? There are very few genuine ambiturners out there. It doesn’t matter what foot you have forward, goofy or regular, there is always something about the left turn. You’re coming in hot, the back wheel swings round and your wild steed rears up galloping out the left. Then you drop into the right, the knee comes out, the rear brake comes on and shit falls apart. Or at least a little bit anyway.

First we need to draw the correlation between pushing your bike up a hill and hoofing turns. Whatever your reason, people have always pushed up on the left side of their bike. There is no need to get your trackies oily on your lubed–up chain, you don’t want to bend your mech laying the bike down. I got told by P.C. Boaby at primary 5 cycling proficiency that it was the way and it has stuck. Being on the left makes turning left a very natural feeling when pushing, as you can lean the steed into your body. Its also nice to lean on your bike for a mid push rest.

This is the moment things get real. Think of it as cross training. Training your brain. Becoming at one with the moment of unbalance just before hoofing it into a turn. 95% of people turn left better. 95% of people push up on the left. It’s time to start pushing up on the right.

It’ll feel weird at first pushing up on the right, slight disorientation, but don’t worry, you’ll start to feel nice and the turns will start to flow like liquid gold. There will be no more imbalance in your riding and you’ll be slapping it left and right like the flipping baey! Vary the push side depending on your corner weakness and good times will happen.

For my second theory I will delve into a bit of nutrition.

I, like many cyclists, have always had issues with permanent hunger and feelings of non optimum calorie intake. I’m definitely not malnourished, just a bit hungry all the time. Fuelling the engine is very important after a good ride and rest days even more so. Never eat pasta, rice is acceptable and potatoes are always the business. Big old tats delivering a less speedy sugar absorption and lots of them. Sweet tatties are good but taste funny, so a 1-to-3 mix works well.

When streamlining your potato consumption the basic theory that is key is that your brain counts the chews subconsciously and pre decides when you are full. It can put a stop to your valuable daily potato load with a false feeling of fullness. This is unless you commit to the potato masher. Baked potatoes and young boiled potatoes just don’t work. Its mash that does. Less chewing required and more tatties in the belly. You’ll be peaking the next day. Essential for race weekends, and if you fully commit to the program like me, it can be perfect for year round gains.

That’s just a couple of theories that may or may not be true, but that can definitely help with your riding and training. People are discovering new planets all the time but hold on though, lets start getting the essentials sorted first. Vary the push and eat mashed potatoes.

Cheerio for now.


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