Some thoughts on cornering

How many ways are there to go round a corner on a mountainboard? The answer is lots

But to start with let’s think of a corner as having nine points on it. Three of them are on the outside edge, one at start of the corner, one at the apex, and one at the end. Let’s call them A, B and C. And then we have the same along the inside edge of the corner. Let’s call them D, E, and F. Now, let’s add another three points that follow the middle of the corner and call them G, H and I, and draw all the connecting lines.

Those nine points can be joined up like this:

cornering1

Which gives us:

  • A, B, C
  • A, B, I
  • A, B, F
  • A, H, C
  • A, H, I
  • A, H, F
  • A, E, F
  • A, E, I
  • A, E, C
  • D, B, C
  • D, B, F
  • D, B, I
  • D, H, C
  • D, H, I
  • D, H, F
  • D, E, F
  • D, E, I
  • D, E, C
  • G, B, F
  • G, B, I
  • G, B, C
  • G, H, F
  • G, H, I
  • G, H, C
  • G, E, F
  • G, E, I
  • G, E, C

Those nine points give us 27 different ways to go round a corner.

So, what the point of all this? Surely we just ride into a corner, go round it, come out of it and carrying on riding, right? Is it really worth thinking about your line? What are the benefits?

There are two benefits to choosing your line round a corner; speed and control.

Taking a corner at the maximum speed is all about getting it as smooth as possible. In motor sports, the ‘racing line’ would be A, E, C as it’s the shortest line though the corner (rather than going round it), and on some corners that would work just fine. But on a boarderX track this might not be the case. As berms are built to hold the rider on the track following the central line of G, H, I might be the faster line. But, out freeriding on a loose surface might mean that taking the widest line of A, B, C might be fastest as we don’t slide.

Control is all about being able to put your board exactly where you want it, to be able to come out of a corner on the best line for the next feature or obstacle. Remember, line out is more important than line in, so if we want to exit the corner at point I we have nine lines to follow. If we knew we were going too fast to get round the corner we might go D, B, I and lose some speed by going out wide. Or maybe we came into the corner on the G, H, I line but a rider had fallen in front of us so we had to go G, B, I. And, of course, this is all based on the perfect corner, but in the real world the track might narrow at the exit of the corner so that F, I, and C are all in the same place. Then we really need to consider our line in to make the exit clean.

So, regardless of whether we have a berm to help us get round the corner or not, choosing the right line can be really useful for maintaining speed, loosing speed, avoiding obstacles (and other riders), or even just making it round the corner. As every corner is different, it’s up to you to decide what you think is the best line to take (and if you’re a boarderX racer, practice every line).

It’s lucky there are so many corners in the world.