The long way up....
Bearing in mind I'm nearly 50 years old, I still want to progress, learn and feel like I'm doing something right. As a surfer you never stop learning so why should riding bikes downhill be any different and that progression will help me stay safer. The more we learn the better we get.
This past week, I've ridden most days in Steyning, West Sussex, but depending on where I'm riding, if I'm home in Cornwall, and especially if riding alone, if its steep or loose, technical or not, and there is no choice but to push up, along the side of the trail then I find it always the perfect time to reflect on the last run. Checking lines, moving fallen rocks or obstacles, looking for faster lines, did my run flow, what went well, or not, asking where and how can I improve? But also its my time to mentally build some confidence and a little self belief into my downhill riding. By looking for smoother lines on the way back up, will personally outweigh the more aggressive ones and in many ways, help me stretch my abilities as I endeavour to increase my speed but remain in control, and my word, I need to remain in control.
Personally, the push back up is where I spend a fair bit of time stopping, resting, breathing, and being mindful of my surroundings too. I do love to just stop and take it all in, we're so lucky to get to ride in the great outdoors, but maybe thats my age, maybe it's this process that clears my head when its full of everyday confusion.
I suppose that the journey to the top for another fun filled run, can be as painful or pleasant experience as we make it. But guaranteed, taking it all in on the ascent, will ensure that coming back down, with a new mindset, is so much more enjoyable, and besides, that little root, rock or off camber section you failed to miss going back up is the one that will probably get you going down, and no one wants that