An interesting irony of off-road riding is that you often have more control and a better chance to avoid obstacles if you bring a little extra speed into a tricky section of trail. The tendency is to slam on the brakes when the trail looks scary. But, if you slow too much, you lose momentum, making it harder to balance and more difficult to negotiate trail hazards.
Practice Makes Perfect
It takes a little confidence to bring more speed into these sections, though. A great way to develop it is to practice riding tricky stretches until you can get through smoothly. It's best to do this while riding with friends. They can spot for you as you make your attempts. And, if they're skilled off-roaders, they can point out things you may be doing wrong and demonstrate the correct riding technique. Don't be shy about asking for help, either. Most better riders enjoy helping friends improve because it means safer rides and more fun for everyone as you're able to ride more challenging loops.
Dial-In Your Ride
Proper equipment set-up helps, too. For example, if you're riding suspension, it should be adjusted for your weight and the trails you're covering. Seat and handlebar adjustments should position your body in a comfortable, efficient and safe position. And, the bike's gearing should be suited to your strength and fitness level. We can take a look and offer suggestions if you're not sure about these details.
Most important is knowing your limitations. If you're not sure about an obstacle or trail hazard and you're riding alone, don't attempt to ride it. Instead, walk the section content in the knowledge that you'll try riding it someday when friends are there to spot and help. That's a wiser course of action than risking injury.