Pushing the limits of athletic performance

Sunday, July 16, 2017 - 23:32 in Biology & Nature

The panic in the pit of your stomach as you fly over your handle bars is all too familiar to any mountain biker. Most cyclists dust themselves off and carry on riding, perhaps with more caution. But Anette (Peko) Hosoi, professor and associate department head for operations in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, is not like most bikers. She straightens her helmet, stands her bike up, and immediately begins examining its mechanics. Hosoi is at New Hampshire’s Highland Mountain Bike Park. Accessible only by ski lift, the park presents bikers with white-knuckle turns and stomach-curling bumps. “I kept thinking ‘this would be the most fun thing ever — if I could just stop flying off my bike,’” she later recalls. After assessing her cross-country bike, she determines the geometry is all wrong. If she is going to return to Highland Mountain, she will need a proper mountain bike. As instructor of 2.001...

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