Cornering is an acquired skill for sure. As a bike racer and cycling coach it often occurs to me that if more of my bike racing brothers and sisters could corner faster life would be more difficult!
The goal is to maintain the maximum amount of speed and momentum all the way through. The best way to do that is to straighten out the turn. Start by scrubbing speed before you start turning. Braking in the middle of a turn will slow the whole experience and can be dangerous. Start the turn on the far outside line of the road. Make a small turn and aim for the far inside, or apex, of the turn. Go straight through and then exit on the far outside again where you’ll make your 2nd small turn. Then you’re out with a healthy helping of the speed that you began with. So instead of looping around with the groove of the turn you should make two mini turns with a small straight in the middle of them. If the turn is sharp then also point your inside knee at the apex of the turn for added stability.
Your upper body should be relaxed. Don’t hold the bars so loosely that a bump will send you to you flying but don’t grip them for dear life either. Maintain control with a comfortable grip on the bars. Keep your upper body low and toward the back of your saddle. The lower you can set your center of gravity the faster you can go.
Practice this by starting slowly and increase your speed as you get comfortable.
There is a video assignment with this article as well: Watch F1 motorcycle racers. Check Utube for footage of this and other high speed endeavors (downhill skiing, cycling down mountain passes, etc.) and mimic them. The speed is so high that if they do not use said gospel rule they will not maintain contact with their rivals. Race over. When calculated, the amount of seconds and watts per turn add up very quickly and especially during a criterium. Relax, be smooth and you’ll be the benefactor of that reality.
Enjoy it, like skiing or bungee jumping. Which brings us to another important aspect….. you must trust your equipment! Get your hands on some nice, expensive and proven tires. Ask people that go really fast through corners what they are using. Maintain proper pressure at all times. If it says 120 psi then put 120 psi in them. Read about your tire on the manufacturer’s web sight so that you feel even better about them. Know what they are capable of and let them go.
Good luck and go fast!
Training Bible Cycling Coach