Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Final

In just a few days I'll be racing my final race for the season, the Landmine Classic.  I've been looking forward to this race since last year - when I thought about racing for the first time.  If I had a home court, Wompatuck would be it.  It's my go to place... it's where I started on the old roads and paved paths (and where Annie in turn started out as well)... eventually venturing onto the plethora of singletrack.  It's my winter ride zone as the paved paths get nice and crusted with foot traffic and snowmobiles - you can usually ride without studded tires.  

I pre rode the course yesterday and it's looking great.  The promoters really deserve a high five for the work they put in cleaning up after Irene.. and at least a skeletal signage up to allow for pre riding this past weekend.  (Most arrows were perfect... only one arrow misaligned and one missing).  Closer to the race, tape will be up and "confidence arrows" as well.  To be honest, I haven't been riding nearly enough lately... I think it's the back to work blues (today is our first day back), but I really turned into a bum the last couple weeks.  It's too bad.  But it is what it is at this point.  So although my endurance is going to be a bitch in this race, I did feel super great on the bike handling side of things during my pre ride.  I cleared everything (except two wall crossings) but rocky/rooty climbs, stone walls, muddy rock gardens... things were looking good!!!  

The other day while I was on the Cutler part of my Cutler Commute something randomly hit me.  No, it wasn't a downed tree from big bad Irene... although there was a fair share of that out there....  I call these guys the triple threat.

Ok, to be fair Cutler is anything but technical... BUT it was while I was out tearing it up on the trail that a random thought flooded my brain and things just made sense (that's one of the things that I love about mountain biking... sometimes out of nowhere things just click and everything makes sense).  

My whole outlook on technical riding got a kick in the groin.  I guess I was stuck in some sort of simplified outlook on clearing technical terrain where it was all about steering and pedaling (momentum).  So yeah, that is involved, but the missing link for me was a new focus on body position!!  Working with your body position - getting out of the saddle, leaning right/left, etc. - equals balance!!  Get your balance right, keep your momentum up, and you are in a position to give that extra kick you need to get over that obstacle...

Simple stuff I know.  But until it clicks in your head it doesn't translate on the trail.  Mountain biking is a bit of a mental game - more often than not the biggest obstacle on the trail is your own head getting stuck because of fear.  

So, all that being said, I felt technically strong on my ride yesterday at Wompatuck.  And really, that's what it's all about.  Seeing the improvements.  I've got a ways to go in racing... but first comes strength and confidence in one's own abilities.  And I am very happy to say that as this season (my first race season) comes to an end I feel that I have continued making strides to becoming a stronger, more competent rider. 


  1. You should do the Cat2 race so you can do the whole course; it's really fun!