Saturday, August 20, 2016

Don't Rush This


How about some trail 1A on a hot Saturday morning? Yes, more please.

Let's face it: mountain biking is inevitably going to involve some mountains. About half of those would require pedaling up the mountain, I would estimate, with rest of the time being spent going down them, or on the flats between. There are some lame ways to avoid the worst of the ups, sometimes, like shuttling or chair lifts, but sometimes I just have a literal mind, and feel that if I am mountain biking, I should ride up the mountain. Similar to my "ride to the ride" preference: if it's about biking, then bike there if feasible. Actually, bike there even if it's not about biking.

While my riding engine has positively adapted to riding the flatlands for some distance on a bicycle, it still gases out rather quickly when called to power a ride uphill. This is a combination of factors, which I'm working on, but improvements in this area are a slow (but steady) process. Carry speed on the downhill parts into the uphill sections. When there's a curve at the bottom, take the high side and slingshot and/or pump around it into the uphill. Pace. Relaxation. Breathing. Let the bike do as much of the work as it can, getting over and around stuff. Lock out the bouncy parts. I turned both the front fork and the rear shock to their firmest setting this morning to ascend, and it did make a positive difference. Don't stress about going uphill, this is fun. Don't rush it. Watch a lot of GMBN videos on how to do better.

Part of it is the heat, though. I'm still not really adjusted to mountain biking in it. I'm draining my hydration bladder on these 15 mile morning rides. Speaking of the hydration pack, I noticed that some of the newer packs have spine protection built in. This seems like a decent idea to me, so I bought a spine pad for a motorcycle jacket, cut it a little bit to fit, and stuffed it into the hydration pocket of my pack. It's tight in there with the nearly full bladder, but it works. I hope I never need it, but it adds a bit of support to the pack, and a bit of peace of mind. Every little bit helps.

When I paused to take the photo above, I also reminded myself not to rush it. To ride it, but in my own time, while enjoying this time and place. It went well. I walked a little. The trails go up the mountain, and so do I.
 

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