Rusty Skillset

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .
Share

Yesterday I raced a cross country MTB race in Winterpark.  Earlier this year, I had raced in Vail, at the GoPro games and also the Lutsen 99’r, but this race was a “real” MTB race.  Steep climbing, from the gun, and pretty technical descents.  Technical enough that I felt out of my element.

It is strange how you can get rusty at things that you don’t do often.  You know, in your mind, that you have the skills to do the task, but it seems so intimidating that you just can’t let go.

I realized this on Friday when Vincent, Bill and I rode over to South Table and started down a pretty steep trail.  So steep that we had to walk a short bit.  Then it got to a place that looked ridable, but the downside of not staying on your bike was pretty heavy.

I used to ride descents like this easily.  I knew it and that was the reason that I finally clipped in and just did it.  After I got moving, it was fine, but trying to overcome the first concern was difficult.

Gathering skills for the sport of cycling is one thing that has always attracted me to the sport. There is a huge skill set needed to excel at all disciplines of the sport.   No one rider has all the skills, there are to many.  But, possessing more of the skills make you more versatile and makes the sport easier.  Possessing skills sometimes makes up for lack of power or speed.  Each aspect of the sport needs its own skill set, although some overlap somewhat.  Cycling is a combination of athletic ability, skills and intellect.   That is the best thing about the sport.

Anyway, I got better as the race went on.  Well, I got better when I applied an effort.  It takes a ton of concentration to flow down a fast singletrack over loose rock.  The downside can be huge.

Anyway, I finished the race without a drop of blood on me, which is pretty unusual for me. Plus, I raised my bike handling skills a level.  Now just a couple more levels to go before I’m mildly content.

There was some stuff like this, but most of the real technical sections were chutes of loose rock with small drop offs.

There was some stuff like this, but most of the real technical sections were chutes of loose rock with small drop offs.

12 thoughts on “Rusty Skillset

  1. Bolas Azules

    Great points about different skill sets needed. If I hear Paul Sherwen mention one more time about how some ex-mountain biker is such a “great bike handler” or how mixing it up in a bunch sprint should be no problem for an ex-CX’er I will jump out my window. Nothing in mountain biking or CX get’s you ready for mixing it up in a peloton at 35mph…zero correlation; different skill set.

     
    1. Everyone

      Sorry Bolass,
      That is utter bullshit. Everyone knows that dealing with the tricky terrain and limited traction inherent in cyclocross and mountain biking absolutely helps you in road racing. Everyone knows this.

      Except you obviously.

      If you don’t believe everyone, just ask Peter Sagan. He’ll be happy to explain it you… while he’s doing a no-hands wheelie on racing bike.

       
  2. Clifford Allen

    Did a bunch of riding around Winter Park maybe 17 years ago and really loved it. Indeed there’s some real technical stuff but the trails are beautiful.

     
  3. The Cyclist

    “athletic ability, skills and intellect… ” yes, but I would also add a big portion of luck to it. Especially when pushing it a bit over the edge which you need to do to go really really fast.

     
  4. 420

    Tilford finished the race 10/30 about a minute back of his buddy Vincent….in case anyone else was wondering

     
  5. Bolas Azules

    Sorry Everyone,
    That is utter bullshit. Everyone knows that dealing with the tricky terrain and limited traction inherent in cyclocross and mountain biking absolutely has nothing to do with road racing. Everyone knows this.

    Except you obviously.

    If you don’t believe Bolas, just ask some of the greatest road racing bike handers in the last thirty years (including myself) and I’ll be happy to explain it to you… negotiating traffic, moving other riders with the crown of your helmet, winning Miss-and-Outs on the track, negotiating points sprints in Madison’s, living off of the Northern Euro crit circuit and road racing in general has absolutely nothing to do with jumping boulders, riding single track, getting muddy or carrying your bike. Now sit down and act like a gentleman.

     
  6. jeff

    You guys are trying to make quick work of an age-old argument, but here’s a great clip of Senor Freire getting it done.

     
    1. freddy

      Oscar Freire and I used to do epic mtb rides in Spain in the off season. His DS didn’t like it, but he did like the results when spring and summer came around.

       
  7. Bolas Azules

    freddy spend a lot of time in Belgium in the spring did you? I have to say in the 20 mountain bike rides I’ve been on I crashed more often than I did in 7 years as a pro. A great road/track bike handler does not make a great mountain bike/CX handler….or visa-versa.

     

Comments are closed.