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Showing posts from March, 2016

Learning My Lines

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Back in high school, that phrase meant something completely different. Learning my lines, the emotion behind them and the marks on stage where I needed to be to deliver them. Now, when asked about learning my lines, I think about the smoothest and fastest way through a rock garden or down a trick descent. There is an art to reading the rocks and seeing the best path from Point A to Point B. The best technical mountain bikers don't even thing about it, they just see the line, painting it in their minds as they ride. As the slower rider, I'm rarely in the front of the pack. I don't usually get the chance to pick my own lines and find my own way down. I'm following Nick, trusting that the line he selected is the best for me as well. And while that has definitely improved my technical riding, its not the same as learning my lines. Every time I ride without him, I'm reminded of how important it is to be able to make those split second choices - left or right, over or ar…

Gritty

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Sometimes, the race isn't just about time and competition - but the mental struggle to push through the bad patches. True Grit Epic was one of those races for me. After finishing 5th and just off the podium last year, I'd set my goal for top five again, but cutting 10 minutes off my finish time from last year. It was doable - at least the time goal - but as I saw the list of women signing up, the place goal was getting further and further out of reach. I might be racing endurance for years, but I still see certain riders as "big dogs" of the mountain bike world. And I am just a puppy, cutting my teeth on the rocks and singletrack. It would take a perfect race for me to be keeping pace with some of those ladies. I know going into a race already resigned like that mentally isn't good, but that's the place I was in. I hadn't gotten the confidence boost from the fat bike races like last year. This time I'd watched to winner easily climb away from me, feel…

Learning to Walk

Something that's been on my mind since I started training for Sheep Mountain - learning to walk. When I was a "runner" and speed was my goal, I didn't walk. I ran. I never subscribed to the Galloway "gallowalking" method of racing and training - preferring to moderate my running effort so that I could run the entire event. As a mountain biker, there is a sense of pride that come with riding everything. No walking on the rocks - ease off and ride it all. Eventually, I'll be able to ride everything at full speed and smoothly. Off the bike for hike-a-bike was fine, but otherwise, I'd better be giving it a full hearted effort to ride! So walking wasn't something I've ever planned for or trained for. 
And now - as I start looking at increasing long runs and need for elevation gain, I realize I have to learn to walk. Long "run" may be the term I'm using, but it is really just tIme on the feet, making forward progress towards the end g…