As those who follow me on Instagram or Facebook may know, this year I spent a lot more time in the woods riding my new Scott mountain bike (thanks, Steve). Beyond following my dog around local trails, I spent a lot of time learning to, as my friend recommended, “let the bike do what it wants to do.”
In the process, I crashed a lot – including that one time I fell on my face as I dropped off a ledge and didn’t get back enough on my bike – but I also felt like I was improving. Learning to trust the bike (and I) will get over the log, will jump on the bridge, will get through the rock garden.
During Secret Squirrel, I realized how far I had come. During pre-ride, I discovered a root that dropped off similarly to the obstacle that left me with road rash on my face. Instead of giving it a try, I gave in to my fear and ran down. But when race time came, I remembered to trust the bike, and the skills I had been developing, sat back. . . and rode down. Each and every time.
When working on my mountain bike skills, I admit I didn’t think about how my cyclocross racing may be impacted. In addition to being able to ride through, and over, more obstacles, my fitness, and my climbing skills have also improved.
After the race, a friend said, “now we need to get you riding over those logs.”
I’m confident with another year of mountain biking, this will be something I will be able to do.