For the month of April, I focused my training on improving my MTB riding skills. It started with me having a shocking race at the iAdventure Sprint in late March, resulting in me buying a new bike the next day. I even bought a magazine called 128 Mountain Biking Tips.
My riding has improved out of sight over the past month. To the extent that I’ve reached a new plateau where I’m finding myself stressing while out riding, trying to force new breakthroughs.
This morning I started out riding a moderately challenging single trail at dawn. I struggled the whole way with my body feeling rigid and my movements jerky. I almost took myself out on a tree and had to walk a few sections due to self-imposed anxiety giving me the shakes.
It’s normal for this to happen when training and working on skills. I’m not the most patient person in the world (actually, that’s an understatement). I want to be good at mountain biking now; not in a year or two after I’ve had some practice.
The trick is to work out the best way forward. For me, thinking of mountain biking as training is a mistake that will stop me progressing. See, I rebel against formal training. I just want to go out an play; give me a routine or set me tasks and I’ll rebel. Even when I am my own taskmaster.
So, at the end of the frustrating single trail, I decided to relax by riding some fire trail. As I rode, I recognised that one of my biggest mountain biking mistakes is that I tend to look just in front of my wheel. This means I am constantly reacting, rather than establishing plans that can be more easily executed.
As I cruised the fire trails and a lovely easy flowing single track, I simply worked on keeping my head up to look at the trail ahead. It will take me some time to perfect this seemingly easy skill. I keep worrying about what’s under my wheels, fearful that I will get tangled up in something like loose sand or obstacles.
But, this month, rather than focus on my technical performance on the bike, I want to just enjoy some easy trails to build confidence and practice this whole looking ahead up the trail thing. Besides, now that I’ve signed up for the Brisbane Marathon, my focus discipline for May will be running; the rest of my outdoor activities can just be done for fun.
- 15.7km MTB
- 12.9km cycle commute (this morning)
- 15km cycle commute(tonight)