One day you ride like a hero, the next you ride like a chump- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    zrm
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    One day you ride like a hero, the next you ride like a chump

    So today I had to ride in and out of Janets Cabin, so I rode the Colorado Trail between Copper and not quite to Searle Pass. Due to work I haven't been on the bike a lot in the last month, but I was riding like a hero. This section of trail is not super technical, but it has the usual assortment of rocks and roots. There are a few short sections that are challenging to clean while climbing. Not only did I feel fairly good as far as legs and lungs go, I was cleaning all (except the two that I've never been able to do) the technical sections on the climb, I was cleaning them with aplomb. On the way back I was in the Zen zone, railing turns, floating over rocks, and all that

    So the reason for the post isn't to brag (at least not that much...) but riding so well got me thinking. A couple weeks I rode the same trail and rode like a chump - total flail. I was putting a foot down on silly little mildly technical sections, feeling like a total spaz. On the way down I rode like s**t too - off balance, using the brakes poorly, over shooting corners, the whole deal. When I got down I was just happy I made it without hurting myself.

    So what's the difference? One day you're on rails, one day you're on flails. I personally don't know what switch gets turned on and off, 'cause if I did I'd bottle it so I rode great every time.

    So is anyone else inconsistent like that?

  2. #2
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    yea. not so much inconsistent......just occasionally have an off day where nothing really feels right. bike doesn't feel like a part of you, little things take more effort, can't clear stuff you should, end up hitting every awkward rock in the trail that you shouldn't and getting thrown around, no flow....then it gets it your head a bit. usually come when i'm just overall tired/over trained.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    So today I had to ride in and out of Janets Cabin, so I rode the Colorado Trail between Copper and not quite to Searle Pass. Due to work I haven't been on the bike a lot in the last month, but I was riding like a hero. This section of trail is not super technical, but it has the usual assortment of rocks and roots. There are a few short sections that are challenging to clean while climbing. Not only did I feel fairly good as far as legs and lungs go, I was cleaning all (except the two that I've never been able to do) the technical sections on the climb, I was cleaning them with aplomb. On the way back I was in the Zen zone, railing turns, floating over rocks, and all that

    So the reason for the post isn't to brag (at least not that much...) but riding so well got me thinking. A couple weeks I rode the same trail and rode like a chump - total flail. I was putting a foot down on silly little mildly technical sections, feeling like a total spaz. On the way down I rode like s**t too - off balance, using the brakes poorly, over shooting corners, the whole deal. When I got down I was just happy I made it without hurting myself.

    So what's the difference? One day you're on rails, one day you're on flails. I personally don't know what switch gets turned on and off, 'cause if I did I'd bottle it so I rode great every time.

    So is anyone else inconsistent like that?
    I'm a disaster like that. Don't know why. My power can be so way off some days too. And I try to eat for the ride in the same way.

    And yup, some days, I'm so sloppy I'm clipping trees, hitting rocks straight on, getting caught on roots and almost being taken down like a newb.

    Can't figure it out.

  4. #4
    Formerly of Kent
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    Today. Raced at Beech Mountain, NC. College Men's A field. 6th out of 13. Felt like dog shit.

    I was flying a few days ago; absolute lit it up on Tuesday. And Wednesday. Took Thursday and Friday relatively easy. A nice, moderate lap of our race course in Blacksburg, VA on Thursday, then a rolling 1hr ride to stretch out the legs on Friday.

    Of course, my wife is sick and it was 52 degrees and raining today. Between myself and the bike (bad tire choice, a million pounds of mud on me/bike, etc) I felt like I was pedaling a barge. Not the best course for me, either. 4x5mi laps, no climbs longer than 3min. Lots of rolling terrain where I couldn't get on the gas because of the conditions, my tires, and perhaps just not being used to riding in those conditions. I literally never ride in the mud, aside from the odd race. It's been years. Probably not the best recipe for success.
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  5. #5
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    Just the way it goes, happens to everyone I'd say. Just think even guys like Michael Jordan had days where he couldn't hit a jumpshot to save his life. Unfortunately for me, the good days are the rare ones


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  6. #6
    WillWorkForTrail
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    I think this is called being human. I'm pretty sure everyone has been there. Even knowing that, it sure does give you WTH moments on the days when you just can't get it.

  7. #7
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    That's totally normal. I have off days and sometimes it's caused by being tired, fatigued, or lack of energy. I am going to ride trail today after a 62 mile road ride yesterday so hopefully things won't be too bad. I am for sure taking the FS over the ALU HT as I'm pretty sure I WILL NOT wanna deal with bumpy on an ALU HT, tired days on that thing can be pretty miserable.

    If u r having a day of really sloppy riding and poor decision making...you probably shouldn't be out there.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephxiii View Post
    If u r having a day of really sloppy riding and poor decision making...you probably shouldn't be out there.

    Maybe true but my last 3 or 4 accidents happened when I was in the zone and felt like I was ripping it, and all of them came as a complete surprise & shock to me. I think when I'm having an off day and riding $hitty I subconsciously dial it back some.

  9. #9
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    I find that after an extended break I ride pretty strong the first ride out. Second, I kind of decline and then rebuild.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    One day you ride like a hero, the next you ride like a chump
    That would be great! :0)

  11. #11
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    Some days you're the hammer, and some days you're the nail.

  12. #12
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    Some days you're the deer and some days you're the mountain lion.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  13. #13
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    I know i'm a total victim to bike set up. A brake lever out of adjustment, wrong tire pressure, dumb tire choice, shock tune has been dorked with... something... and i can't adapt and it's a problem. Some friends seem to be impervious to it. Must be nice!

    I switch between my FS and hardtail, and the hardtail always feels 'just right,' and the bigger burlier FS bike and i don't always get along. I'm ballzier on the FS bike, but much more precise on the hardtail. As a result i'm always more scared on the supposedly easier bike.

    Sprint power and low speed tech is totally dependent on how much i've been partying and how well i sleep. A long time off the bike and i have to relearn a bit, but bicycle-droughts are rare and usually a result of injury.

    I put out pretty consistent power provided my legs aren't thrashed. I'm fairly fat for my cardiovascular fitness; most of the folk who hang with me are skinnier and seem to be much more sensitive to diet.

    Shrug.
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  14. #14
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    Certainly scratched my head over the same thing. I have had days where I've made it my entire ride without taking my feet off the pedals...feel like a hero. Then the next day I screw up 2 or 3 times on a trail I usually nail. Just today I couldn't make it up this rock climb I usually can hit - tried it twice - back tire spun out both times. Meanwhile my friend breezed right through it. Rock climbs have been giving me trouble lately, it's embarrassing and frustrating.

    I ride for a few reasons...one, exercise. It's a workout and I love it. Two, to make it through with as little mistakes as possible - it's a game to me - and when I can't do it, I lose. Three, I find it fun...I know that should be first, but it isn't, does that make me a bad person?

  15. #15
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    nothing breeds success like failure ^^

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  16. #16
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    It's all about the way I ended the last day and started the next. If I get enough sleep and not much is on my mind I do great. If I got into an stupid argument with the spouse and/or something bothers me at work that I can't seem to shake I ride like shit. Feeling weak from over or undertraining normally doesn't really have a big impact on how secure I feel unless I am really exhausted. But being heady normally kills it for me. Body and mind are not to be separated I guess.
    Being too relaxed sometimes also isn't great. I had some of my worst crashes when I felt super slinky and overshot my boundaries...

  17. #17
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    None of these matter: What you ate for breakfast, what you had for dinner. Sleep, recent sex, hassles at work, fights with significant others.

    The one thing that determines how you ride: position of the stars. It's mysterious.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  18. #18
    Raleigh
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    I find pounding a good beer before I ride gets me dialed.

    Yesterday, I chugged a Lagunitas Sucks before my gf and I rode a techy trail, I cleaned this sadistic log roll at the top of a rooty and ledgy climb, and it was all because of the Sucks!

    \m/
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  19. #19
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    Some days you have the mojo, some days you don't. I definitely have days where everything seems easy and effortless. Then there are those days when everything feels sketchy and the pucker factor is high. Fatigue is often a factor, but there's more to it than that. When I'm not feeling it I always reign it in a bit and take it easy. Riding stiff and tense greatly increases the chance of a crash.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gasp4Air View Post
    None of these matter: What you ate for breakfast, what you had for dinner. Sleep, recent sex, hassles at work, fights with significant others.

    The one thing that determines how you ride: position of the stars. It's mysterious.
    Additional info: the ever changing positions of the planets affect gravitational forces in unpredictable ways. Remember, every movement we make on earth is pitted against the gravitational fields that surround us. Some days the gravitational forces align predictably, some some days they are chaotic and pull you every which way. This is why some days I have lousy timing and coordination and fall a lot.

    Also, the sun's energy output varies considerably from day to day due to sunspots and other solar disturbances. The sun is a very dynamic beast, spouting all kinds of energy at the earth besides visible light. One type of energy the sun emits is streams of magmon particles, so named because they have the unusual property of softening rocks. This is why some days the trail seems smooth and forgiving and on other days every bump is nasty jolt to the bones.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  21. #21
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    One day you ride like a hero, the next you ride like a chump

    Yes. Yes, I do.

    It may be a variety of things. There are def. just some "off" days.

    If I'm with a group that is at "the wrong speed", I have to leave a huge buffer zone between me and the guy in front.

    If I'm forcing trying to go fast, I am usually going slower (and wasting energy, which makes me even worse later).

    If I come through a bunch of buffed out, high speed stuff into some low speed tech, I have to talk myself down and convince myself that simply riding, even quite slowly, is faster than a lot of people would do it. Going "fast" in the tech will lead to bad timing, dabs, and falls.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  22. #22
    I Tried Them ALL... SuperModerator
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    That's the allure what we all love to do. Knowing when to dab or dismount doesn't make you a lesser rider than anybody else.....just well enough to ride another day. Many passion-ending injuries were caused by avoidable, slow-speed, bad judgements.

    We continue to ride, simply because we all know there are those "perfect ride" days where we are fast, fresh and nearly invincible.
    "This is a male-dominated forum... there will be lots of Testosterone sword-shaming here" ~ Kenfucius

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Maybe true but my last 3 or 4 accidents happened when I was in the zone and felt like I was ripping it, and all of them came as a complete surprise & shock to me. I think when I'm having an off day and riding $hitty I subconsciously dial it back some.
    My one example of this, I went over the bars and planted my chin. I suffered from neck pain weeks after and later on that year. I was suffering from lack of energy which resulted in sloppy handling, lack of focus, and poor decision making. I forced myself through anyways and ended up hurt in a technical spot.
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  24. #24
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    Just had this happen in road riding for me.

    Last week did a 20 mile hilly course and ripped it up. I mean, 23mph average in the hills. (Hey, for me thats good.) Yesterday? First 2 miles my quads were burning, and I knew it was going to be rough. Forgot my waterbottle on the back of my car, it was colder, got dark, just sucked. Ended up averaging like 17mph. Wasn't windy or anything, just suckin wind like a vacuum.

    It happens.

    Maybe your mind isn't right from a bad day at work. Maybe your energy/nutrition isn't right as you had a meeting over lunch. Maybe your muscles are sore because you hit it hard yesterday for leg day and didn't get much sleep.

    Maybe there is just no justifiable cause beyond chalking it up as fail.

  25. #25
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    I tell my wife all the time "if you are feeling gassed...especially in the upper body...just take a break or call it a day." Having an off day in the legs can make for a sucky ride but feeling spent in the arms, shoulders, etc. can end your ride for you in a really bad way.

  26. #26
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    Mind over matter.
    A number of times I have come across lost souls on the trails -- people who have come to the area to factory demo a Santa Cruz or Ibis bike -- who are unfamiliar with the best local riding. When I show them around (after warning them that it will be slow) I usually pick up my pace by 2-4 mph even if I don't really try.

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