This weekend I discovered the biggest issue holding my riding back: me. One of the reasons I love to ride is to clear my head, so it’s some pretty cruel irony that my overthinking tends to be my undoing.
I spent this past weekend at any enduro rider’s paradise; a private facility with endless riding. Flowing single track, steep hills, rocks, it has it all. We did two days riding, and still didn’t cover everything. The only reason you would have to re-ride any section is because they are so damn good.
Over the years I have noticed that I generally make a lot of silly mistakes at the start of a ride. Make a good start at a race, then promptly wash the front end in the first corner. That sort of thing. But this time was different; the last time out I gotten it properly wrong on a very technical climb. My bruised body had mostly recovered, but my confidence had not. I found myself cautiously approaching everything, and making mistakes on even the simplest sections.
After two failed attempts to make it up what would generously be called a ‘hill’ I found myself with my rear wheel tangled in a pile of barbed wire. This was getting ridiculous. After getting untangled and pushing the bike up, I was promptly ordered back to the bottom to ride it properly by Jaco. He was tired of my shit and so was I.
“Just send it”. This is what I tell Jaco whenever he uncovers some new section of track and is wondering if we can ride it. Time to take my own advice. Click it into 2nd and go. I am up no problem – the non-event this ‘hill’ should always have been. Luckily for me, my ego is pretty robust and that was all I needed to get my confidence back. Now I needed to rub it in Jaco’s face of course.
We get to a new rocky step up that has a possible line, but thick bushes mean almost no run up. In hindsight I’m sure Jaco was taunting me with his comment that he “just wanted to show this to me, so we can come cut it open later so we can ride it”, or something along those lines. But that was all I needed to prove him wrong.
My profound conclusion to all of this rambling? I made a conscious decision at the start of this year to be more decisive and assertive, to “just send it” in all avenues of life. What my KTM taught me that morning is there is a lot I can do to set myself up for success. You need to fully commit; you can’t ‘just send it’ half heartedly. That is a recipe for disaster.
On the bike this is easy. Just clicking into 2nd rather than 1st gear immediately means you need to commit fully. I once saw Travis Teasdale click up into 3rd at a standstill in front of a huge obstacle at one of the extreme enduros. Now that is committing to the send.