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Knowledge is Power

The past few weeks have been stuffed full of work, holiday prep, and parenting stuff, so I've been slowly working my way through Brian Lopes & Lee McCormack's Mastering Mountain Bike Skills, mostly as a way to relax. I haven't had time to get out for a real ride in a while, so reading about it is my little substitute. I get to spend time mentally on the trails even if I can't be there physically.

But the odds finally caught up, and I had a short window on Saturday afternoon for a ride. A real ride, on actual trails.

I picked a smallish loop that took me down Yucca Ridge. At the top, I decided to focus on technique:

  • Use the side knobs and commit more to the turns.
  • Float over the rough spots, "row" over quick rises.
  • Wait to brake in the "heavy spots", sections where I'm naturally focusing more weight downward. (More on that can be had from this video.)

I felt totally in control the whole time, riding well and having fun, but nowhere close to a PR. I wasn't even trying.

Turns out I was just 2 sconds off.

2 seconds isn't nothing, but this run didn't even feel fast. I was consciously not taking any risks in the name of speed.

That's a really similar experience with Chris Horner's Reading the Race and setting a huge new PR on the Westlake descent.

I do notice that I've been neglecting my climbing. Really need to do better about that.

Oaks, Starting at the School

Quick Update

I'm getting back into the swing of things after taking a little time off for Thanksgiving.

The self-coaching hasn't really stopped, even if I'm not posting about it here.

I'm finding that stretching and mobility work pays dividents far out of proportion to the time spent. Stretching & Jefferson curls are fantastic.

At the beginning of November I mapped out three segments of my regular lunch loop to use as intervals. My times improved a bit each ride for the first few rides, and have now reached a pretty steady equilibrium. Time to change things up.

So I mapped out a road loop with a solid climb (~7 min @ 15% grade, plus a couple 2- to 3-min rises), and started doing that this week. Climbing has to be part of my weekly training.

Climbing Loop



Work has been insane. And the California autumn air has me homesick for old favorite trails. I really need to make a little time to explore, and find some new favorite trails.

Daniel Day-Lewis at 60

Daniel Day-Lewis at 60

If I get to be 60, this is the kind of 60 I want to be.


Quick Repairs

Quick Repairs

Spotted this while I was cleaning my bike today. I honestly don't know whether to be disappointed that this chain broke, or impressed that it didn't fail completely. Either way, I'm glad it held long enough to get me back to the office.

Anyway, I decided to give my trail kit a shakeout and did the repair like I would on the trail: portable chain tool & missing link. Got it done in under 6 minutes, finished cleaning the bike, and it's ready to roll tomorrow.

older stuff