Palmer Park at Speed
Wow. I've raced at Palmer Park before, riding through the rocks at speed. But those races have all been on easier trails - with fewer rocks and wider paths. It makes for some false confidence about how well I'm handling the technical riding. Sunday after the Ascent Cycling Cheyenne Mountain State Park race, Nick allowed me to join him, Todd, Cam's dad Doug and his uncle Chris for a tour of the non-race trails of Palmer Park. This was much different then any of races I've ever done - and much harder. And it really showed how I've progressed with my riding. And I saw allowed because he was very hesitant - telling me that it was going to be fast pace with no waiting. I needed to be able to ride my bike and try to keep up. The ride started out easy, then headed to Templeton - and not the sections of any of the races. It was all sections I'd ridden before with Nick, but never fast and never clean. I walk a lot of Templeton usually when we ride that trail. Not this time! If I had been walking, I'd have been lost. Completely lost. I needed to be game on, riding my bike and focused on the trail. And I don't know. Maybe it was performance pressure or maybe I'm actually getting better. There were sections of trail that I have never made before - have tried until frustrated, then gave up in a fit - that I managed to ride. Might not have been pretty, but I made it. Lots of grunts and self talk, but I was still on the bike making forward progress! I think it helped that I was able to follow a few different wheels through some of it, but overall, a great booster on how my technical skills have progressed. Now if only I could actually keep up... I was suffering like I was racing through the whole ride!