|Oldest in the middle|
This was a special weekend because it marked the first mountain bike ride of the year, as well as the first race. I don't recommend that, mind you! But you have to start somewhere. And now that I've started, I'm where I'm at...so Zen, it must be the Yoga.
After squeezing into my NoTubes jersey and Zoic baggies, The first race on the agenda was the Super D on Keane Trail. Last year, it had snow on a most of the trail and was really tough. This year had less snow on all of the trail, but all corny, slippery snow was just on the toughest, steepest section. My first run, I actually walked most of it and contemplated skipping the race entirely. I had no courage.
But, being an experienced rider and being a mountain bike instructor, I decided that I needed to really use my knowledge of technique to conquer the fear voices in my head. I mean we all have fear, but we need to manage it or it will run wild and have us in a gripped flight or fight mode unable to relax and perform.
I was thinking about the huge lump that I still have on my hip from crashing hard in the snow and landing on a rock on the Keane Trail last year. I was thinking that I hadn't actually rode this particular Jekyll in exactly one year. I was thinking that I hadn't ridden a mountain bike since December 20. All these things that our brain does to keep us safe and alive and comfortable.
I tried some different lines. I talked to some of the other riders. I watched the men's first and second place riders in practice and saw them playing on their bikes and having a hoot. I tried some different techniques like more weight on the front wheel and less front brake. I kept a lot of weight on my feet and stayed low. I tried to set up for things and be proactive. I tried , then I did. My friend and mentor Gene Hamilton always uses that phrasing when he teaches ( and he borrowed it from Yoda) "don't try, do". And of course my winning run wasn't perfect, but it felt good and fun and fairly smooth.
Smooth is fast. I want to be smooth. And I keep finding an outlet for those ambitions in racing. I really don't have to win to feel satisfied, of course it feels so frickin good to win, but priority is smoothness. I want to be , skillful, fast, fit and have a bunch of fun doing it. And since I don't have to win to feel good about myself, it frees up a lot of good energy. I really enjoy being out there.
But, I did win the super D, by a good margin, too! I beat a really phenomenal downhill rider, Anne Galyean. She is an amazing woman on and off the bike and a rider who I probably won't beat much in the future, if at all . But it wouldn't of mattered where I placed, because I figured some things out technique wise and I overcame debilitating fear.
Super D shouldn't die because of Enduro. Its still a really cool format and a great opener for a cross country race or great practice for both XC and Enduro. Thanks to Zach and his sponsors for the cool prizes, too!
Sorry, no pics of me yet from the Super D! Next blog about the next day's race