You are riding along on your favorite trail. You come past that same technical trail feature or obstacle that you pass every time with the same thought…”I’ll try that next time”. Only…next time never comes. You are always passing that same obstacle and you are always waiting for next time. It is a proven fact that stretching your comfort zone on your mountain bike improves your bike handling and riding skills, but more importantly, it improves your confidence on the bike and raises the bar of what you think is difficult to ride.
I think we can all agree that we want to become better mountain bikers over time. Each of our goals and riding styles can be completely different, but to get better you have to stretch your limits of what you consider comfortable riding. So…when you come across that technical trail feature, how can you overcome your mind and conquer the beast within? Check out these tips that will help you get over the hump…
198’s Tips to Conquer that Trail Obstacle or Feature
- Just do it – The old Nike cliche really does work. The fact is that our brains are 99% of the problem. Our bike has far more capabilities than we do and we have more ability that we care to admit. The #1 thing that gets in the way is ourselves. The easiest way to get over the constant beating of your mind keeping you from mountain biking super stardom is to visualize the entire sequence. Stare at the obstacle or trail section and literally visualize a perfect run. Once you have this image cemented into your head…hit it! You will be pleasantly surprised with the results.
- Follow a fellow mountain biker – Have a friend with riding abilities close to yours that seems to have zero issue with this fantastic section of mountain biking trail bliss? Next time you guys are riding together, follow his rear tire through the section. This will show you first hand the exact speed and line you need to take to make it through safely. Sometimes the easiest way is to follow the leader.
- Do not stare at it! – This goes hand in hand with #1. The more you stare at something, the more you give your mind a chance to talk you out of it. If you need to take a quick look to find the line or see what you are dropping into…that is fine. If you sit there and stare at it for 10 minutes, you might as well just ride on because you are just finding a way to talk yourself out of it.
- Pad up! – There are companies like 661 that make comfortable padding or armor that you can wear on lighter bikes without it hindering your day. They can be easily packed up in you favorite hydration pack or worn all day. Wearing some sort of padding may give your the comfort level necessary to hit that technical trail feature with ease.
- Session – If at first you don’t succeed…try, try again. The art of sessioning will make you a considerably better rider over time. Do not be happy with failure, but instead…use it as motivation to do better! Practice harder sections of trail to make them easier…then, when you come across sections of trail that are harder that the last, it won’t be as big of a deal. Sessioning is also an incredible way to enjoy mountain biking with friends as you all try to conquer that last “un-rideable” technical trail feature.
Technical trail features and obstacles can really bring your riding enjoyment and stoke to a whole new level. The feeling of accomplishment and the desire to try it again brings a happiness and satisfaction to trail riding that can only be found by pushing the limits of what we consider “normal riding” as a mountain biker. Do you have a section of trail that you consider a must-do next time and next time never really comes? It is time to give it a try…