Monday, September 12, 2011

Same old ,same old

One thing you can always count on in cross is feeling like you left a lot on the table at the end of every race. Unless your one of the top 5 and even they feel like they could have done something better.  I always make promises that I will ride a lot of singletrack all summer and oh yeah, do a few mountain bike races too. Then there are the training requirements for cross. The explosive first few minutes unlike anything in bike racing except maybe a short prologue, only you have to keep riding for another 50 minutes. The muscular endurance to pedal fast lap after lap in mud and grass and both again combined with hills. And then there is the running and crashing.

And then on top of it all there is the mental aspect. Lets face it, cross is hard and it hurts in unique ways. Your lungs sear, your legs cramp and slow and your arms and lower back starts to get weak. Then on top of that you have to ignore all of that and keep pushing as hard as you can. And often your scared of crashing so you have to stay mentally focused to not only not make mistakes, but also to DO what your brain does NOT want you to do. Like not brake for the barriers or keeping speed over rocks and the muddy pit lined by concrete and wood poles or a scary off camber turn on a descent.

Luckily in cross as long as you don't crash your brains out on lap one or in warm up, you get a boost of adrenaline on the first lap and obstacles or sections you could barely ride in that warm-up become death defying acts of bravery. Not always mind you, some things are just too damn technical for me. Actually most of cross is too technical for me. Some examples of when it works was at Cascade Park last weekend. In warm up after the road section there were some jagged painted rocks that I kept gingerly trying to weave through because one wrong move and you bent a rim and most likely would flat. I kept wondering, how can I go between these at race pace? Also after the mud pit and 180's was the steep muddy hill that lead up to the long straightaway by the river. I was so slow and scared of the approach to it I couldnt go quick enough to ride up it.

Come race time both took care of themselves. Flying up to the rocks I just stayed left by the trees and let the bike fly over the edge, a path I never considered. And on the steep muddy hill? Race pace and wheels to follow allowed me to clear it riding more often than not. But still, in cross for me year in and year out it is always the same. A few spots lost by a bad start, a few more to major bobbles during the race and a few more to crap technical skills and a few more to lack of fitness. Heck, the way I see it if I fixed all of them Id be winning by a lap. Yeah right! Same Old, same old though and I'll keep chipping away at it.

1 comment:

Blue Turtle said...

It's a tough ride. But it only makes you tougher. All kinds of weather and terrain only adds up the challenge and the excitement.

writer @ diamondback bike reviews