Monday greens (because I don’t do Monday blues)

Beautiful Bayview Conservation Park

It’s Monday morning. To some people, this signals little more than the end of their short-lived two days of freedom and the start of five long days at work. That’s how I used to live too. But not anymore. Now, every day is a good day to be outdoors. Sure, I have a day job that requires me to spend long hours at an office desk from Monday to Friday. But that’s only one part of my life; the hours between 4:30am and 7:30am are mine to use for my own pleasure.

This morning I have to drop Mum’s ute back at her place. It’s also near Bayview Conservation Park so I take my mountain bike so that I can ride it home. I am starting to feel a cold coming on so I decide to take it easy. If I hadn’t needed to drop the ute off I might have taken a rest day but the morning is so beautiful that I’m glad I went out riding.

I ride steadily today, focusing on technique not speed. I keep my average heart rate in the aerobic zone and cruise along the fire trails until I reach ‘You’re Kidding’. The trail is as delightful on my second pass as it was the first time I rode it. Only this time I manage to hop my bike over many of the fallen logs. I only ride with flat beds so can’t lift the whole bike using my legs but I can use my arms to pop the front wheel over the logs and then have the back wheel follow. These small wins on the skills front feel like mammoth leaps forward.

After You’re Kidding I follow the fire trails back towards my home. But before I can exit the bush I have to climb the ‘Grass Trees’ trail. It’s a steep, narrow switch-back climb that runs between grass trees. Some of the grass trees are so close to the track that it takes precision not to get my pedals caught on them but I make it up in one piece. I have to walk some of the switch backs because I can’t get the momentum to pull through but every time I climb I am walking less.

After the climb I hoot down the fire trail to the exit gate. The first few times I rode down here I sat on the brakes the whole way down. Today I was able to use them a little less. I’ll probably never fly downhill without using the brakes because it’s not in my nature; but as I gain confidence I am finding that my speed is increasing considerably. I even got some air this morning over some of the jumps.

Total: 12.14km @ 11.3kh with average 72% maximum heart rate. Average temperature 6.5’C.

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5 responses to “Monday greens (because I don’t do Monday blues)

  1. I am not the world’s best technical MTB rider … but I have been on enough good courses to know that doing skills is not about being clipped in and pulling with your legs. One course I did they even insisted we use flat pedals – so you’re doing it right! It’s all about the weight shift of your body. But from the sounds of it (log-hopping?!) I think you must instinctively be doing it right πŸ™‚

    A video with some core skills (though it’s better when you’re there with them getting instruction at the same time!):
    http://cyclewise.co.uk/index.php/core-skills-video

    • Oh, I know it’s not as simple as being clipped in. But having cycled all my life both with and without clip-ins (on the road), I know there are some things that are just a lot easier and smoother if you have your legs available to pull the back of the bike up with. I usually can’t bunny hop a bike but when my feet are clipped into my road bike I can pull the whole bike off the ground.

      I work with a serious MTB rider (he is a professional MTB and motocross photographer so he rides a lot with the professionals) and he agreed that having clip-ins makes it easier. Sure, you need momentum and balance, but with your feet clipped into the pedals you can fluke a lot more than you can with flatbeds.

      So I guess the clip ins for me would help me cheat at techniques I’ve never been able to perform that I’ve been trying since childhood (I can’t even pop a wheelie – tricks don’t come natural to me)

  2. Aye, you can fluke a lot more clipped in … but if you can learn it on flats you won’t have to cheat! Likewise riding a rigid and then switching to suspension. tbh I struggle to even get up hills without my clips – a born cross-country rider. I never could do even a little wheelie until I got proper step-by-step tuition on it 2 years ago – and then I could – with a great degree of concentration – so it is possible to learn! πŸ™‚

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