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Existentialism-- Just a bloody good excuse to go riding...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Solo ride and Relearning how to ride.

If there is one thing to get at being better, its practice, practice and more practice and loads of reflection. Biking included. However of late I realize those two alone are not quite enough. The biggest problem I find is getting into a routine with things that places constraint while you are at it that impedes improvement.

I probably spend too much time thinking about bikes and riding... day dreaming these days seems to involve bikes or rather how I rode and how I should have rode it. Replaying scenarios and visualizing even down to the angle and hardness of a lip on a popoff, or the condition of a particular berm in the last ride session. Many a time things seems to clear up and I think I know the next time when the section is approached, what should be done to execute a fluid move.

Yet when the section/obstacle looms into sight the next time, the same mistakes are made! The problem? Routine! Routine from something that start off as simple as messaging the group for the usual Sun ride. Then once at the trail, its all about finishing it and chasing each other till the end. Oblivious to everything in between. In a state of hurriedness, often "thinking on the feet" is lost as everything becomes a blur with the spinning on the pedal gaining momentum or diving down on a descent.

No one wants to be too far behind even if you arent the first to reach the end of the trail. Its ego at work here all over again... Then of course with today's bike and technology with tons of travel to soak up most thing on a trail and trails that you have ridden a thousand times, a lot of things become conditioned. So much so to the point that includes bad riding habit or wrong riding style relative to the kind of bike used. Just because one is able to finish up without a scratch does not mean it was a good ride.

The whole idea is of course to have as little start stop on a ride. But to get there would require for most of us to actually go back again and again to try and clear something a little better each time. That is the practice part and sessioning.

To really make a change or get better I need to get away and ride solo. Just before every ride, to remind myself that there is no rush to finish. Going through mentally all the mistakes made the last time on the same trail about to be ridden again.

Currently the biggest challenge I'm facing is to switch from the rigid xc habit of riding to a more fluid weight forward bias riding style on AM and bigger bikes. Something I have been trying to change for the last 2-3 years. Its not about getting on  saddle, balance and pedal off and loft over a six inch log anymore. But sometimes I think if I hadn't been saddled down with all these years of conditioning about riding and started afresh, it might have been easier to absorb as a newbie and improve faster.

On and off there are brief periods where things got better and was consistent but after brief breaks or days where its another group ride, things just relapse and without realizing, it inevitably ends up as fighting the bike... Doesnt matter if I was the first one at the end of the trail that day, somehow rides like this always end up putting a less than satisfied feeling once its over.

This isn't some kind of a tutorial write-up or even a technical how-to article. Rather its just another reminder to myself not to fall into a predictable pattern and forget the purpose on the next ride; breaking the conditioned habits from years and conform to a riding style that is more appropriate and functional with my current setup. Damn, I just spent 5 days day dreaming how to clean some sections after last Sun ride... let's hope I can still remember after putting the helmet on...........tomorrow.

The bar junkie in me says... "Time for a red hot bitchy rod to spice up the Handsome One

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