I recent trip to Arizona pointed out a few things to me. I need to take my tech skills up a notch. I need to relax and trust my abilities. I need to get out more.
I cannot remember ever being that intimidated by the trails I was riding and frankly, they were not all THAT much to deal with. There were sure more rocks and ledgy stuff to deal with but I have done that before so it was not unknown territory to me. Typically the first day riding in a new place is the hardest, especially if it is someplace like Moab. It typically takes me a good long ride to just relax and trust the bike and myself to where I am just riding things without a death grip on the bars and fear in my heart. Usually, by the end of a couple days it is just the same old same old and I am dropping off stuff like I have been doing it forever.
But that did not happen on this trip. I really never relaxed and just rode without fear. And it affected my abilities on the bike as well as bothering the heck out of me. Intimidated. Tense. Breathless. It sucked. Fred on trail, that was me...or at least it felt that way.
Actually I was riding OK, but I never FELT ok about it. My years of riding experience took care of me and I am no slouch on trail but it was the battle of the mind I never won? And now, many weeks later, it still bugs me. Was it peer pressure? Is it age creeping in on me and letting me know I need to begin shopping for that recumbent?
No doubt I have slowed down with age. I seldom run down trails at the speeds I used to. Maturity brings common sense. It has been a long time since I raced the Mammoth Kamikaze DH with no suspension and not one pad on the body. 44.5 mph on that dirt drop out of the heavens, circa 1989/90. No more of that nonsense for me. But this was just riding in Arizona, not death defying foolishness.
And I like to think I can still do it well, or at least as well as I used to within reason but maybe that is a false hope. I can still remember my feelings each time I pedaled out on that trip and it bugs me to this day.