Dirty Deeds: How to Master the Snot Rocket

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From the moment the fine silt of fresh singletrack penetrates the nostrils, cilia cells activate mucus membranes in an orchestrated effort to prevent dusty debris from choking the lungs. And while the human body is a remarkably complex and efficient motor, as with any oxygen-hungry combustion engine, a little fine-tuning of the intake manifold goes a long way toward achieving peak performance. This handy guide to mucous maintenance will help you master the technique of the one-handed one-two punch.

READY: In the first few minutes of a ride, as the body warms up, one's sinuses begin to liquefy. This phenomenon is particularly noticeable in the winter, but whatever the season, the key here is to wait for critical mass. A quality, substantial snot-shot early in the ride is far more expedient than several small ones. Once the pump is primed, look for a tame stretch of trail.

AIM: Keeping your left hand on the handlebar, use the first knuckle on your right hand to block off your right nostril. (This is where strategically placed patches of terry cloth separate good gloves from great ones). Getting an airtight seal is critical as it will concentrate the force of a normal exhalation into a single (hopefully), well-aimed nostril. Tilt your head far enough to the left to clear your shoulder while still keeping the trail ahead in your peripheral vision.

FIRE: With as explosive a blast as you can muster, let it fly. Done correctly, the missile should sail cleanly off the trail. In the next breath, swing your head from left to right while pivoting your right hand to the left side of your face on the fulcrum of that same knuckle. Create a seal on your left nostril and fire round two. This entire process should take no more than two seconds. Resume two-handed control of your bike with a clear airway and a well-earned sense of accomplishment.

OUTRO: The first rule of knife fighting, as anyone with advanced tactical combat training knows, is that you're going to get cut. And the truth is that even the sharpest snot shooter will at some point fall victim to friendly fire. Get cocky and go for glory with risky techniques like the Double-Barrel Blast, and things can get ugly. Still, short of stopping for a Kleenex, this technique is the fastest way to take care of business and get on down the trail.