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  1. #1
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    What do you want to get better at this spring?

    I have a few trail skeletons in the closet and better ride-ups are key. So, I spent some time the other day working on my ledge-up technique. I was reminded of how much a little skills practice every week helps.

    What skill do you want to improve this spring? Do you have something in particular you want to conquer? Post it up! Would be fun to see if we can get some successes in the WL this season!


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    I only attempt to change the world in the appropriate World-Changing venues and forums.

  2. #2
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    I want mountain biking to be fun again. I experienced extreme burn out from working on advocacy issues and only rode my bike once last year. I'm reluctant to go ride some trail systems that I was working on, as I'm afraid I won't be able to disassociate from the issues that I was working on that still no doubt exist. I need trail blinders that filter in fun!

  3. #3
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    Switchbacks.... Yes, I can do them if they are easy. But I'm not comfortable on them and as soon as they get chunky and ledgey in the middle, I'm off.

  4. #4
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    I had a confidence-busting end-o in a rock garden last summer. Nothing was injured except my confidence. I'd like to get it back.

  5. #5
    I just wanna ride my bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by screampint View Post
    Switchbacks.... Yes, I can do them if they are easy. But I'm not comfortable on them and as soon as they get chunky and ledgey in the middle, I'm off.
    Me too.

  6. #6
    I just wanna ride my bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica View Post
    I want mountain biking to be fun again.
    Well, you'd better come hang out with us Canadians at KettleFest then

  7. #7
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheotherH View Post
    Well, you'd better come hang out with us Canadians at KettleFest then
    bwahhahah... fun stuff.

  8. #8
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    Lots of good things to work on, so how are you all going to go about conquering them?
    I only attempt to change the world in the appropriate World-Changing venues and forums.

  9. #9
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    I have some of the usual things I'm continuing to work on - getting better at going up bigger ledges, practicing longer trackstands and wheelies and whatnot....

    But I think the biggest thing is that I'm working on breathing more fully when I'm riding, and really paying attention to my body and instincts. Not doing things because my ego wants me to, and not backing off of things that I know I can push harder at, but finding balance.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica View Post
    I need trail blinders that filter in fun!
    We'll go riding when you come visit. Assuming it's not all rainy &c like last year.

    I want to get better at eating. I'm going to practice a lot.

    gabrielle
    Quote Originally Posted by Impy
    just plain unfriendly and maladjusted.
    "Yes, honey: I do love this bike more than I love you."

  11. #11
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    Well, I just built a couple trails that include some switchbacks. I really like the trails, so I will get plenty of practice.

  12. #12
    Serenity now!
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    1. I am going to join a local group ride and not worry about being too slow or not good enough. I am telling myself it's a group ride because they want newer riders to come along!

    2. More confidence and speed on rocky downhill sections. This is coming along as I get experience, but some of it is a pure mind game.

    3. More power and stamina (which would definitely benefit from dropping some unwanted poundage). I'm going to work on this by riding longer and more often, and adding some intervals (group rides will help with this as well).

    Great question!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    - Dismounting on my right side. Never been comfortable doing this (not sure why), so it's something I need to practice so trails that fall to the left aren't so scary (big hangup for me)
    This is a big one for me also. Hadn't thought about it until I did a quick /unthinking dismount that almost sent me down a ravine. I'm trying to be more conscious of which foot I put down (based on ledge or fall away), but also getting equally comfortable mounting and dismounting from both sides. Until that incident I really hadn't noticed how I move around the bike to always mount from the left too! I'd like either side to be mindless.
    My blog - this, that, travel, garden, bikes, fitness, family, whatever

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by miatagal96 View Post
    I had a confidence-busting end-o in a rock garden last summer. Nothing was injured except my confidence. I'd like to get it back.
    I hear ya! My last ride pre-winter had a rock induced endo. Been wondering if I'll get freaked in rock gardens this spring. I've played a bit at Rays MKE on the rocks over the winter but still feel a hesitancy.
    My blog - this, that, travel, garden, bikes, fitness, family, whatever

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kimikaw View Post
    This is a big one for me also. Hadn't thought about it until I did a quick /unthinking dismount that almost sent me down a ravine. I'm trying to be more conscious of which foot I put down (based on ledge or fall away), but also getting equally comfortable mounting and dismounting from both sides. Until that incident I really hadn't noticed how I move around the bike to always mount from the left too! I'd like either side to be mindless.
    I always prefer to mount/dismount from the left, too. But I know it is because I spent my adolescence riding horses.
    I drank the 29er koolaid- turns out it was POWERade

  16. #16
    I just wanna ride my bike
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    Other than the chunky, ledgy and steep switchbacks I need to work on (not that easy to find these in my immediate area), my main focus right now is improving fitness (cardio) and strength. Going to the gym 4 x/week, doing 45 mins cardio (minimum) and weights. Now with daylight savings time, I'll start commuting by bike from work at least 2 times per week (~20 miles).

  17. #17
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    Stripes - I totally identify with what you are saying! I am right-handed but mount on my left, dismount on my left, and clip in my left foot first. My left foot also always leads, especially on the downhills. I've tried leading with my right foot and it just feels very awkward and uncomfortable.

    My list would be much shorter if the question were to ask "what don't you need to work on this spring?"

    1) Obstacles - especially bridges (my nemesis) and log piles, specifically taller logpiles. I do better if the bridges are short and made of lumber vs. natural/logs. Finally conquered a ramped log over last year but again, it was made out of 2x4's and pretty smooth, even though it was steep. So frustrating to have to dismount and walk over/around something, especially when you've had your flow going up to that point.

    2) Berms and switchbacks to the right. I have a very hard time turning to the right and leaning my bike into corners.

    3) Steep technical climbs and descents.

    I try not to get discouraged because where I am currently at is no where near where I would like to be. So I make a pact with myself to try at least one new thing on each ride, even if small. I guess that's one of the biggest reasons I enjoy mountain biking so much - there is always room for improvement and the ride is never boring.

  18. #18
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    Endurance and nutrition!
    I signed up for ORAMM, which is a 65mile (11,000ft of climbing) mtb race in late July. This will be the toughest adventure I will have ever done to date.
    From now until race time....I need to improve my endurance immensely! My longest ride on a mtb is 33miles. I plan to do at least 3 centuries (road) between April - June. And lots and lots of miles on the mtb. My challenge is that I only get to ride on weekends and once during the week if I am lucky.
    Nutrition is the next thing I need to improve on. I'm not sure what I will need to consume and how many calories to intake on race day. So I have lots to learn (and improve on) between now and July 22nd.
    Suggestions are always welcome...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by deirae88 View Post
    Endurance and nutrition!

    Nutrition is the next thing I need to improve on. I'm not sure what I will need to consume and how many calories to intake on race day. So I have lots to learn (and improve on) between now and July 22nd.
    Suggestions are always welcome...
    If you like to cook, I just got this cookbook http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...769&x=57142403 and highly recommend it! Great recipes and good info for endurance athletes. If you can't follow the link ; Google " The feed zone ".

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  20. #20
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    Thanks "hike-run-bike"!!! I just scrolled through a few pages and it peeked my interest. Just ordered the book online.

  21. #21
    new but eager :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by deirae88 View Post
    Thanks "hike-run-bike"!!! I just scrolled through a few pages and it peeked my interest. Just ordered the book online.

    :thumbup: hope you enjoy it as much as I do :-D


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  22. #22
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    I want to gain confidence and endurance. And I want to be able to go ride off road at least once per week, so maybe find some other people that I can do group rides with.
    Nah, not really.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by deirae88 View Post
    Endurance and nutrition!
    I signed up for ORAMM, which is a 65mile (11,000ft of climbing) mtb race in late July. This will be the toughest adventure I will have ever done to date.
    From now until race time....I need to improve my endurance immensely! My longest ride on a mtb is 33miles. I plan to do at least 3 centuries (road) between April - June. And lots and lots of miles on the mtb. My challenge is that I only get to ride on weekends and once during the week if I am lucky.
    Nutrition is the next thing I need to improve on. I'm not sure what I will need to consume and how many calories to intake on race day. So I have lots to learn (and improve on) between now and July 22nd.
    Suggestions are always welcome...
    Wow, I checked the website and that looks super challenging but well designed course! Preparing for and completing the centuries should help immensely, especially if they include plenty of climbing. Good luck with your awesome adventure!

  24. #24
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    I have a lot of trouble dismounting to the right as well.

    Saturday was my first time on the trail where I had my scary end-o last summer. I was surprised at how much it affected me, especially since my injuries weren't bad enough to keep me from riding. I wasn't even thinking about the end-o but when I came to the dreaded section, I started shaking and totally lost my confidence for the rest of the ride. So I now have to work on is being able to walk that section of trail without having this crazy PTSD reaction.

  25. #25
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    Loving this thread. I have never even though about dismounting on the right.

    I'm looking to lose some weight and increase my speed overall on our local trail. My weaknesses on the trail are braking too much on downhills, slow climb time, and increasing endurance.

    I also need to improve climbing over logs and such and switchbacks, but I hope that comes with improving my climbing skill. There is a downhill switch back that I absolutely hate. I've only tried it once and I fell over. It goes down and to the left and turning left seems a bit harder than turning right. There's also a killer root that you have to make sure your back wheel clears.

  26. #26
    see me rollin, they hatin
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    i WANT to get better at confidence, but sometimes i dont know how possible that is. I love mountain biking, but i also suffer with anxiety. Lets just say, i'm prone to PTSD....for instance, i was in a car accident many years ago and it still affects my driving to this day. It sneaks its way into biking when i crash or nearly crash in a certain spot, then i want to avoid that spot forever. It really sours a ride when you start to feel panicky and dread trail sections. Again, its an issue of mine, more than the average person. i dont know if i can "cure it" but i wish i could trick my brain to enjoy myself even in the scary areas. Sometimes i get really confident....then i go backwards. its so frusterating!

  27. #27
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    I really hear everyone on the rebuilding confidence. Quite awhile back I tore my ACL coming off the back of the bike (practicing manuals at a camp and I lifted too high and did not hit the breaks) so I've been more hesitant on the bike. It was my right leg and is another reason I prefer dismounting on the left like most of you.

    This year I don't have as many specific goals as just riding more! I believe that a lot of my areas needing improvement will follow.

    Wishing everyone a good season and success in their goals, I'm patiently (okay not so patiently) awaiting the season here as I have a new bike to ride and learn.

  28. #28
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    Improving my turning skills. I am not comfortable turning and I always over-brake. I need to work on my lean and maintaining more speed in and through turns.

  29. #29
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    My main goal is improving my speed. I've been working on technical skills for several years and feel like I'm in a fairly good place with those. I rarely have to get off my bike and walk around/over anything anymore. One technical area that needs improvement: getting over a large root/rock ledge/other obstacle in the trail on a climb.

    I've got a group of people I ride with on Thursday nights now who move along at a really good clip and don't stop much or for long when they do stop. That is helping me in the speed and endurance area quite a lot.

  30. #30
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    As a beginner to mountain biking last July, and coming back from 6 months off the mountain bike due to trail injury in October - I've a few goals

    1. Get better at shifting on the trail and trust my body - don't over-think
    2. At this point I can ONLY mount from the left side - start with my right foot and stop with my right foot - (road as well) I really need to make some kind of progress at being more versatile. .
    3. When falling on the trails - fall AWAY from the edge
    4. Improve on switchbacks and berms - I think much of this is confidence.

    Oh yes, and have fun

    BTW, I just learned how to ride a bike, period, 2 years ago, so regardless of my skill level I am having a lot of fun on the bike - especially the mountain bike

    It would be nice to find someone as slow as I am that I could ride with. I've a lot of friends who mountain bike but they are so much more advanced than I am that I am not about to ask anyone to ride with me. I've no problem riding solo, where I ride as there are a lot of people if something should happen to me... There are a few who have ridden with me occasionally on the trails, but I KNOW how far back they must dial it to stay with me and that makes me feel guilty.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catrin View Post
    It would be nice to find someone as slow as I am that I could ride with.
    I don't suppose you live in the Denver/Boulder area, do you? I ride alone and I think I would get better faster with company, but I am very slow and it's hard in uber-Boulder to find anyone at my level.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astra2 View Post
    I don't suppose you live in the Denver/Boulder area, do you? I ride alone and I think I would get better faster with company, but I am very slow and it's hard in uber-Boulder to find anyone at my level.
    Sadly, no. I live in Indiana and ride at Brown County State Park if we have any slower members out there. I hope you are able to find someone to ride with! I do have a friend I ride with occasionally when she brings her 5-year old. (well, he is 6 now). Last year he could drop me pretty well...but he has been mountain biking longer than I Of course we have little fear at that age!

  33. #33
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    my basic technical skills are going to improve this spring cuz I am doing a 2 day clinic ! yay ! what I really want to gain is better body smarts /or muscle memory for the basic tech moves.

  34. #34
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    I'd like to get my skills back to where they were a few years ago. Due to many boring reasons, I've lost a bunch of skills and need to re-work on them. Ideally I need to session stuff with a girlfriend or 2.
    Love, Impy

  35. #35
    Serenity now!
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    Woohoo~! Two small victories:

    1. I tackled a couple of skinnies and dominated them! (I have skinny-anxiety). I just decided that dammit if the two guys ahead of me could do it, I could do it.

    2. I went on my first group ride. Yep, I was the slowest and most out of shape person, but I didn't humiliate myself. I'm going out alone today for some sprints/conditioning to help get better for the next one.

  36. #36
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    yeah ! way to conquer !

  37. #37
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    Woo Hoo PixieChik!

    Keep it up.

  38. #38
    see me rollin, they hatin
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    wish some of you slower riders lived in MA / NH, i'm always the caboose on my guy rides (or as my friend would say, the "late train"). i'm not a bad rider, just not nearly as fast as the crazy animals i ride with! so i know what its like.....

  39. #39
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    Last year I went down to west Texas and rode with a friend there in Lajitas. I did not really have my chops up and hadnít really ridden trails for a while so I got my butt seriously handed to me. Didnít eat lunch, bonked, even fell into a prickly pear cactus! More than a little humiliating.

    So, I am waiting to see if they will be coming to visit us this summer so I can redeem myself. Rode all through the winter as it was a mild one here, so Iím ready. I just need to find more hillsÖ

    My other goal (which is less about skill development) is to chart out at least two loops from the land we bought a year ago in the Zuni mountains of western NM. I did a bunch of research to identify what are old logging roads and two loops (one short, the other longer and up along a section of the Continental Divide) from our place and extending up into the Cibola National Forest. Very excited. One loop takes you past two spring fed meadows ringed by ponderosa forests. The meadows are the result of volcanic cones that were subsumed by the Zuni uplift (or the other way around, I canít remember the timing of the geology). On the aerials they appear as emerald jewels within endless stretches of dense mixed conifer forests.

    Snow has melted, so Iím about ready to rock and roll!

  40. #40
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    Spring? Can I have all season to work on it?

    I want/need to learn to bunny hop, but first I want to learn to lift the front wheel.

    I feel like missing this skill is a big hole in my bag of tricks. As it is, my riding is best suited to tight, technical trails. I'll always* get beat on open, flat courses because everyone* has more fitness than I do. But I notice that a lot of those same riders go more slowly than I do over bridges, on narrow ledges, over rocky terrain, and through tight trees. If I'm going to be a technical rider, I feel I ought to have what appears to be the most quintessential of mountain biking technical skills.

    I've been working on timing my weight shift whenever I come across logs on the trail, but I also plan to throw a couple logs out on the yard and just ride in circles until I get it.

    * No I don't really mean always or everyone, it just feels that way. And I am working on improving my fitness, slowly and steadily, over the years...

  41. #41
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    everything!

    I just started riding last year and usually go on harder-than-appropriate trails with my husband, an expert, and end up walking a lot, often feeling disgruntled... so I want to (a) maintain a positive attitude (I'm still learning! go easy on myself!) and (b) keep pedaling, dammit! Lots to learn.

  42. #42
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    Wink maurak - have fun being out there

    Quote Originally Posted by maurakconcord;9224
    384
    I just started riding last year and usually go on harder-than-appropriate trails with my husband, an expert, and end up walking a lot, often feeling disgruntled... so I want to (a) maintain a positive attitude (I'm still learning! go easy on myself!) and (b) keep pedaling, dammit! Lots to learn.
    ... great that you are out there on the trail ! keep moving forward and don't worry about having to hike some sections. if we don't have to hike once in awhile then we are probably just staying in our comfort zone. have fun enjoy every minute and don't let your pride ruin
    . :nono your ride.

  43. #43
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    It would be nice to get faster so I don't always have to mountain bike by myself...but that will come with time. I am not on the trail to win races, by no means, and returning to the trails I want to focus on my basic skills. I do so enjoy being in the woods though, so I don't really mind being by myself.

  44. #44
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    I think I'm going to be another one in the "everything" camp. I broke my collarbone (riding down a perfectly straight bit of firetrail!) in February and while the bone has probably healed enough for me to try riding on the road again, I think it's going to be a while before I'm back on my mtb. Hopefully my confidence won't be too shot when I get back to it...

  45. #45
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    I know I havent been riding very long, but I can tell my confidence has increased a great deal. I find myself going over areas I used to freeze up on, which kinda makes me laugh. But sometimes I feel I take a step backwards, and mentally break myself down before I even try something. I like riding in big group rides because it reminds me that i'm a better/stronger rider than I think, but sometimes when everyone stops and tries a stunt and kinda routes everyone on as we all watch, I FREEZE. I personally don't like that much attention and usually bag on it before I try. I feel like it makes me overthink the obstacle and therefore automatically fail. I get so disappointed in myself because I know I can do it all.
    Soooo, what do i want to improve on, you ask?
    -sabotaging myself mentally/stage fright, haha
    -pedalling too much over an obstical - i've already improved a great deal. but I'm still Queen shart of bashing my crank/big ring (which will soon be off) about 40% of the time. I have 5.5 inches of travel for christs sake! wtf?
    -downhill switchbacks and getting far enough back on the saddle, which should improve with my new 120mm for over my old 80mm race fork. I hope.

  46. #46
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    Improve on my fitness. I just want to feel stronger when I ride. Been going to gym, so that should help. Post baby, my body went through some weird changes (dang hormones!). It took 1 1/2 years until my new body pains went away and I lost my weight (plus some!) So overall just having fun again and challenging myself a bit with endurance and fitness.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by PixieChik View Post
    Woohoo~! Two small victories:

    1. I tackled a couple of skinnies and dominated them! (I have skinny-anxiety). I just decided that dammit if the two guys ahead of me could do it, I could do it.

    2. I went on my first group ride. Yep, I was the slowest and most out of shape person, but I didn't humiliate myself. I'm going out alone today for some sprints/conditioning to help get better for the next one.
    Way to go PixieChik!! Thats a similar attitude that i'm trying to adopt....I'm so used to biking alone because I didn't want to slow anyone down and only seemed to meet friendly, but fast and intimidating riders. I also didn't want to get injured riding by myself trying a jump or a rockgarden at a decent speed. I always opted out of the harder descents or burned the brakes downhill. Until I moved and started biking with some other people, I didn't know how to handle the technical aspects until I saw people in front of me do it and then I was faced with the same challenge. Youtube videos can only teach you so much : )

    I also always choose to dismount left. New goal: ride a log and dismount right
    If its not a bumpy ride, I'm not interested.

  48. #48
    9 lives
    Reputation: cyclelicious's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    10,313
    I am working at speed and cornering, as well as control when landing bigger jumps and drops. Getting better at dh technical has made me a stronger xc rider. Hill climbing is geting easier in platforms.

    The local dh parks are opening soon so I am excited to test my skills again.
    F*ck Cancer

    Eat your veggies

  49. #49
    Serenity now!
    Reputation: PixieChik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    239
    I've gone on several group rides now, and I get a little faster and better with each ride. Even when I'm alone I'm more likely to tackle challenges, such as hills I had previously assumed I couldn't ride up.

    I am going to make a trip to the nearest downhill park and hire a coach for the day to work on the DH technical. Can't wait!

  50. #50
    Serenity now!
    Reputation: PixieChik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    239
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