Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Old Dogs, Old Tricks part II

Last night I flowed.  I was moving down the trail like water spilling around the rocks in a streambed...not resisting, not rushing, not stumbling.  Only a smooth and peaceful motion over the path of least resistance.

Then I woke up in bed.  Drat!

However, I did put part two of my 're-edu-ma-catin' of singletrack technique into play - Turn before you see the turn.  Yeah, I know, kinda Zen and I have no real fascination with Buddhism outside of the lines in subtitled Chinese movies or Po's dilemma in Kung Fu Panda.

The idea is this...once you see the demands that the next turn/corner in the trail requires of you, it may be too late to get smoothly onto the line you need.  So you usually use too much brakes and lose speed as you overcorrect your way through the turn.  Preventing this requires that you initiate the turn-in before you can clearly see where you are going.  Hard to do.

And, 29ers are a bit slower steering so they require even more initial turn-in then a typical 26er.  They reward with increased traction and better cornering grip, but you need to adjust a bit.  Miss this part of a 29er's personality and you end up going slower, not faster.

Now this is not hard to do if the course of the trail is open and visible.  You still need to 'pre-turn' depending on speed, etc, but at least you can see what you are committing to.  It gets hinky when you need to do it in tall spring grass on a tight trail or around an increasing radius, off camber trail that falls away to the downhill side with a cliff to the inside shoulder.  Man, that is an act of faith worthy of Joan of Arc.

But, I was getting it done and the result was a smoother, faster, easier ride down the trail.  Flow.  Flow is the holy grail of singletrack.

And I was better at that on last night's ride then the night before and that is a good thing, even if it was only truly beautiful in my dreams.

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