Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Whistler 2013

Its been a few weeks since we returned from this year's Whistler jaunt. In those weeks I've had some time to reflect on what was an extremely challenging week's riding. I've also had time to let my poor battered hands recover from a crash that was an almost exact copy of the spill I took last year. Hopefully now I'll actually learn my lesson(s) and keep my digits out of harm's way. Fortunately the Glory escaped pretty much unscathed. A little battle scarred and worn, she did me proud on the cold, wet trails of downhill mountain biking's very own mecca.

We've been lucky for the past couple of years, it would seem. Trail conditions and the weather have been balmy and beautiful. This year started out with an awesome day of sunshine, tacky dirt and grins all around as myself, Chris and Dave warmed up and settled into a week of solid shred. However mother nature had other ideas and we were soon greeted by sleeting rain and withering cold each day. The trails held up, for the most part, but after a couple of days the upper mountain soon became a sloppy mess. Still, we had lots of mid mountain trails to hit. Old favourites like A Line and Crank it Up, plus some technical blue runs and the ever challenging Dirt Merchant kept us busy and entertained. For the most part I felt good about my riding but still felt niggled somewhat by bigger jumps and finding flow on certain trails so when Dave had the idea of doing some coaching sessions I signed up too, keen to iron out my issues and make some progress - despite the less than ideal trail conditions.

We ended up doing three half day sessions with resident coach, Oscar. An amazing and calmly confident dude who has coached most of the top riders in the sport. Clearly at ease on two wheels, we were in good hands and by the end of the first session my head was spinning with new info. I couldn't wait to put his advice and tips into practice. By the end of the third session I felt convinced I had been taught some solid riding fundamentals that would help me to achieve my goals. But I was also painfully aware that I needed to change some core aspects of my riding to get there.

I've always enjoyed and responded well to being coached. However I have a tendency to try and implement everything all at once. So for the rest of the trip, every corner, every jump and every tech section.... even just riding fireroad, everything was being analyzed and processed as I mentally ran through a laundry list of things to do, positions to fall into, things to avoid. It felt like I did more things wrong than correct. My body position has been slightly, but significantly wrong, the way I weight into corners - also wrong. Wrong because I've hindered speed and flow by not moving correctly. But now I had the theory rattling around my head and could, at least, work on fixing it.

Over the course of the week I made decent progress. Oscar taught me some great tips for jumping and hitting drops, in addition to foundation skills like body position and weighting the bike and trail. But doing the clinic did change the tone of the trip for me. It felt more like doing homework than shredding with my mates and having fun. But that pressure was put on me by me.... I can't relax and go with it if I feel like I'm missing something. Not quite getting it.  So I came away feeling like I hadn't had as much fun or rode as hard as I'd hoped. But on reflection, it was a good process to go through. Better to know my weaknesses and continue the hard slog of progress than be ignorant and ride slower than I could be. I have some new goals and lots to work on between now and next season. But for now its back to our usual XC haunts and the Glory gets mothballed for the winter. In the meantime I'll write up Oscar's pearls of wisdom and post them on here. A reminder to myself of what I learned and what I need to keep working at.

No comments:

Post a Comment