Sunday, September 24, 2006


Had an awesome ride today. Slightly damp, turned to rain/drizzle. The roots were wet and the rocks were slick. I'd been planning on riding regardless of the weather and was actually looking forward to the wet conditions. Lately, I've lost the fluid nimble feeling when riding and there's nothing like slick conditions to make you relax, flow and bring out your body english. It was nice to reconnect with that essence of mountain biking.

I also got a chance to ride with Brian and Bob. I haven't ridden with Bob in several years. He was one of my early mountian biking mentors. I've learned a ton from him over the years. It was so much fun to be the rabbit or the fox chasing or being chased up and down in the slickish conditions.

First I lost a water bottle on the first downhill. There went half my energy intake so a bonk was coming. Then I crashed on this one rooty switchback that gives me troubles. Then later we were coming down the S turns of Poverty creek and on this wide loose sweeper I was leaned way over and both tires washed out from underneath me and I slide on my shin across the wide trail. I got up with this HUGE smile on my face and jumped back on and continued on almost laughing outloud.

Typically when I crash it's more of a negative experience. But I think I was so happy because I was pushing my personal envelope today and it felt good. When you don't exceed your limitations then you can't improve. This was probably one of the more excessive washouts I've had, but it was wicked. Whooshhh. sliiiddde... It was onto my left shin which I seem to crash on 8 out of 10 times. I think the feeling is gone on that knee so it isn't feeling too bad right now.

These kinds of crahes really aren't too bad. The bad ones are when you're nervous and tight and going too slow. Then you end up crashing big.

I'm wondering if some lightweight shin guards might be in order and would help me ride better?

Brian was riding so strong. All on one-two days a week. Here I am training all year. Since November with the weights. With the training program, all mapped out, the skills course, etc.. And he's right there in the rearview mirror all day. But for many many years I was always doing the chasing and now I can be the rabbit. It's just an example of the sliding scale that applies in mountain biking. It's so easy to compare yourself to other people in terms of skills/fitness. But what really matters is how you are improving relative to yourself.

Coming down Old Farm was incredible. There is this one log staircase towards the top. When it's there I can launch off it when it's not its a roll down. Today it was a full on launch and smooth landing.

The keys for my handling right now are vision and braking. Plain and simple. Need to get my head up and get off the brakes so much. Though I'm thinking lately that a fatty 2.3 tire might be worth the tradeoff in weight for some cornering and downhilling capability.


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