How to nail new trail features on a mountain bike

Names: Dr Kath Bicknell | Photo: Jack Fletcher

Are you struggling with some obstacle? Pushing yourself to 'just do it' but something doesn't feel right? Try this checklist of mental signs and see if they help you feel more confident in a challenging environment.

1. Accept the risk

Before trying anything on the trail, instead of trying to ignore the risks so you don't feel anxious, acknowledge that riding has its own risk factor but there are steps you can take to reduce those risks. Sure it's fun to hit that tricky line or that big jump, but remember that it's up to you to decide when you feel ready to take that risk and do something, and that you can always try something else in the meantime.

This is partly a word of caution from my side but also a reminder to anyone who needs it that saying no can be just as empowering as saying yes. Especially if saying no now means you're continuing to build your skills or have fun, leading to more great experiences in the future.

2. Assess the consequences of things not going as planned

If an obstacle risk assessment raises some red flags, take a moment to think about the possible consequences of those things actually happening. If you can't stay in the line you were hoping for, is there a line in the middle of the lane that you can widen, narrow, slow down or stop? If a crash seems likely, what are you likely to live in?

3. Solve those results

If you feel uncomfortable with those risks, think about how you can build additional defenses or control in early barrier efforts. This could be asking someone to spot you in a place where you can slow down too much, get out of line or fall, or even talk to someone else about choosing a line to get other options.

Other techniques are related to equipment—knee pads, a full-face helmet, a bike with more travel and wider tires. Or nature-related – to restore where the area is less muddy, or less summer dust, or to practice the same obstacle but less extreme to improve your confidence, control and body sense of movement. Or they're solved socially—you can follow another rider into an obstacle and use them as a real-time guide for body position and speed.

It can be helpful to think of these problem-solving methods as scaffolding—as the foundations that enable the construction of a house that you don't see when you look at the finished product but which is important early on.

Take the time you need to practice the skill using scaffolds in the area and remember that even if you see other riders make that skill look easy without any scaffolds, they have certainly used them in other situations, they are not visible today.

4. Focus on the process and not just the result

When riding something difficult instead of overthinking or trying not to think, choose to focus on a few specific technique points that help align your body and the bike in a simple but effective way. This can be part of the way you want to hit it in setting up the next part of the obstacle and some part of the action that encourages your whole body to follow. For a steep rocky descent, for example, you can aim for a marker on the ground so you know you have the right entry point and think 'look forward' or 'weight back' to encourage good posture on the bike.

One of the best things about mountain biking is that every new skill you learn opens the door to learning and experiencing more. Remember that skill development takes time. Focusing and enjoying the process is just as important as the result or outcome, no matter what level you are in the sport.

Plus, if you enjoy the process, then whether you hit that one obstacle now or over the course of a few rides, by turning stress into joy you're still guaranteed a great day of cycling.

Learn more about using your mind to get more out of your time on the bike from Kath Bicknell at:


Insta: @Intelligent_Action

Facebook: Smart Action

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button