What I'm terrible at... some things that are in my control and some that are not. I'm not very powerful. Take my strength (moderate) to weight (sorta minimal) ratio into consideration, and I can go up longer climbs with less effort than a lot of riders. Even better if I can put down the cookies and beer for a couple months. Punchy climbs that require power? I'm dead. Sure, I could hit the weight room or something, but I don't want to be good at exercise.
One thing I could get better at... much better actually. Cornering. I'm terrible. It's a lack of trust that the bike will do what I want, 20+ years of just doing it wrong, and the knowledge that it would take a lot of practice to unlearn these terrible habits.
I don't like "practice." I like to ride my bike and not think about what I'm doing. This is not conducive to improvement. I could take a skills clinic with a reputable bike coach like Harlan with Take Aim Cycling, but I know there would be some expectation to "follow up" and do "homework" if I want to take what I learn and benefit from it.
But I know the next weekend after a clinic, I would just go out and ride and forget most if not everything I learned. Meh. In all honesty, I would need a week long (or more) camp to break these habits, at the very minimum. Basically, a mountain bike brain washing.
It was insanely dry this past weekend. Tons of loose over hard conditions. That scares me more than mud and wet roots and rocks. I can't entirely explain it, but I'm unnerved when I feel like if I lose it, I'm going to slide across sandpaper covered in windshield glass. No matter how much I'm telling myself to brake before the turn, lean the bike over between my legs, outside/inside/outside... I panic and pretty much fuck it all up.
I still have fun riding it, despite the fact that I'm watching people pull away from me, because brakes and the lack of using them so much.
This photo is evidence of the one thing I mentioned above (cookies and beer):
photo cred: Melissa HartI've let myself go, at least just a little bit. What "definition" I had maybe even just a month ago is already showing a little rounding off on the edges. Fewer miles, more beers and unjustified sport-eating, less "exercise." I mighta lived in some denial these past few weeks as I extended my "season" a bit, but there's no looking away from this. Meh. I guess knowing that I can always ride my way out of a dry paper bag (doesn't have to be wet) allows me have just that small amount of contempt for the task at hand. I know I can ride 40-50 at a fast'ish pace and still survive, so I just do that and suffer the consequences.
Also, that rigid crabon frok thing after not riding one for two and a half months? Ouch. Not only did I have to get accustomed to it pretty quickly, the parts of my body that were used to doing this were no longer available. Those knots in my shoulders were intense enough that all I could think about doing after finishing was lying down on an ice pack for awhile. Something I didn't do because people and beer and food and fun.
And off "season."
Time to just let it all go and not even think about next year and go on slow rides with friends in the woods until April.