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.