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EDITORIAL

Progression and the Dreaded Plateau*

Words Cam McRae
Photos Adrian Marcoux (cover)
Date Sep 22, 2021
Reading time

I know a few riders who are entirely content with their riding level and have no interest in either putting in the work or thought to improve, or to challenge themselves to ride harder trails and moves. I think that sort of contentment is noble and likely quite peaceful, but I’m not wired that way. I’m pretty sure if I was stuck there I’d buy a trials moto or something similar so I could get back on the learning curve. Most of the people I ride with have similar wiring and we take many approaches to clawing our way to the next level. There are off bike fitness regimens of various kinds, either yoga, pushups, or time at the gym, Youtube coaches, refinements of your setup and suspension settings, professional instruction, cornering and other drills, and of course the Visa plan; purchasing skills, or attempting to, by throwing money at parts and gear that we imagine will make us even more awesomer. I’ve done everything except go to the gym in the last year or so, and for the most part it was working, at least until this past spring.

*Cover photo - Adrian Marcoux

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I'm always a little shocked but also incredibly stoked when I do some small thing in the air that doesn't feel lame (regardless of whether or not it looks lame). Photo - Deniz Merdano

Until about 5 months ago I stayed on a relatively steady upward curve for my general handling skills and descending for more than two years. It used to be that I’d have a couple of good rides and then a couple of crappy outings, or worse, maybe 5 or 6 lousy ones in a row. Even more disheartening was the realization that I was getting a little worse every year. And then I stumbled onto a program where not only was I having a good ride almost every time out, I often had rides that were better than the last, and even some of my best rides ever.

For someone who dislikes Strava, progression can be tricky to measure but I have three good yardsticks. The best one is the most subjective but also the most important; my sensory experience on the bike. I don’t think there’s a way to say this that isn’t cheesy, but I value becoming "one with the bike" more than I value speed, although they usually go hand in hand. There are times when I seem to be able to follow and interpret the contour of the terrain more intuitively, allowing me to float over rough sections and boost off little bumps on the trail to hit downsides. When this is happening I also feel more comfortable in the air and can sometimes move the bike in a way that warms the lump of coal in my chest. A bonus is that this give me more control in the air as well.

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This was another landmark moment for me. This wouldn't a very challenging move for many riders, but when I was last at Sun Peaks, more than 10 years ago I believe, I was too scared to ride it, likely because of the exposure. At 55 it was a piece cake. Photo - Luca McRae

A result of this flow state presents another metric that is entirely objective. While I'm in that zone I see moves differently and jumps, rock faces, or drops that I didn’t think I would ever do, come into focus and I start ticking them off my list. This binary sense of progression, when a move is ridden for the first time, is wickedly satisfying; there’s nothing like nailing a steep chute you spent years riding around, especially when you’re sure it’ll be in your back pocket the next day out. The ultimate expression of this is when you ride something, ideally for the first time, and everyone else in the group walks away. It may not be great for the group ride dynamic, but those rainbow unicorn-tinted days make me feel a little special, just like Mr. Rogers used to.


I’m pretty sure if I was stuck there I’d buy a trials moto or something similar so I could get back on the learning curve.

Another relatively reliable measure is keeping up with my buddies. Among my core group, there are days when any one of us can be the fastest, and this parity makes all of us charge hard when we are together. If I’m keeping up, or more rarely, leading the charge, it may be that one of them is having an off day, but I generally interpret that as me crushing them anyway. And then I rub their noses in it over beers afterwards, just as they do to me. I also regularly find myself on the trail with riders who are much better than I am but some days I can keep them in sight for longer than usual or keep pace for short sections, allowing their prowess to drag me along on a wake of superior skill. It’s remarkable how much you can learn intuitively behind first class mountain bikers.

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Not only was this move off my list indefinitely, I first rode it on a 120mm Santa Cruz Tallboy. I wouldn't have been able to dream up this scenario. Photo - Dave Smith

Until the late spring, these measures were all indicating progress, and when it began to stall, it was a bit of a knock in the gnads. I wasn’t sure what the problem was and aside from slacking a little on my yoga, I was pretty much following the same plan. I had made some suspension changes that hadn’t been well integrated yet (more on that shortly) and I had some brake pad issues that may have contributed to me sliding back to some mediocre rides. They were always fun but the joy is tempered some when you are riding past moves, struggling to keep up, and feeling dodgy on the bike. Thanks to my recent progress, I was still riding better than I had been a year earlier but I was no longer pushing the needle and having amazing new sensations on the trail.

Luckily I had another measure of progress that I hadn’t considered; the time capsule. You may have heard me mention that every summer I ride what has become my private trail in the B.C. interior. The Spanish Underpants is now behind fences, and while I don’t own the land, but nobody seems to mind me riding it any more than I mind climbing over barbed wire. There was a time when trials moto riders kept it in good shape simply by riding but their access has been curtailed so I’ve become trail crew chief. And the intern. This year I put in a little more effort to cut back overgrown bush and grass and clear deadfall (and drag my rear tire on the way down to bed in the trail) and it paid off in spades.

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This photo is deceptive. My front wheel was hardly off the ground and was only caught on camera because of Deniz' superior skill. Back in the days of 26" wheels I could occasionally get the wheel up for a short down ramp but I'm baffled by manualling long 29ers. Photo - Deniz Merdano

Once things were cleared and I could ride it almost continuously, I discovered something about my progression. The trail is very steep and often loose and there are multiple places where you can lose control and go hurtling toward something hard and unforgiving, usually a tree. There was even a line I hadn’t ridden yet. It was built by the trials riders who rode it uphill. They used to emerge from a long and treacherous shaley section and then climb the even steeper bony outcropping at the very top of the final section of trail. My normal route, and the main route in either direction, comes in below the rocky outcrop and makes a sharp left and it was still tough to control my speed through the shale. In 2020 I rode it from slightly higher than usual but was still too intimidated by the upper line but this year I made a point of checking out the top entrance and it didn’t look too bad. I passed on it that first time since I was alone in the middle of nowhere but the next time I was there I rolled right up and dropped it. I hit the shale about twice as fast as I had before, but I managed to surf my back wheel in reasonable control and make the next corner about 50 feet down and the experience lit me up for the rest of the day.

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My favourite days on the bike are when I am relaxed and confident enough to get a little loose and rowdy - based on my personal context that is. Photo - Adrian Marcoux

It turned out that I was able to rein in the rest of the trail, including the longest steepest bits, with similar confidence. Even last year I had started to release the brakes a little more but in 2021, I felt able to charge into the maddest bits. This made me realize that even though I’d gone through a slump, the progress I’d made from the fall to the early spring had still left me ahead of 2020. I wasn't able to get a reference point riding my usual trails, but because I only rode the Spanish in the summer, the contrast was easily marked.

That’s the thing about progression; once you get used to moving forward, standing still feels like being left behind. Another revelation about progression as it relates to mountain biking on aggressive terrain, is that anyone can improve at any time. With all the technical subtleties to pursue and improve, broadly relating to body position and weighting and unweighting tires together or individually, there is always something to learn. You don’t need to be young and remarkably fit to get better atdropping your heels in the corners or weighting the front end when things get steep.

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This move on Fifth Horseman, which I've heard called "The Coffin" involves jumping up onto an angled platform that is less than two bike lengths long and then jumping off the other side. I've looked at it for years but only rode it for the first time this year. Rider - Mike Wallace. Photo - Deniz Merdano

Progression also comes in several forms. Riding well more consistently is progress, and focussing on technique makes this almost inevitable. It’s also possible to focus on one area at a time, like cornering or jumping, and you’ll often find other areas improve simultaneously. A nice collateral benefit of riding better is that even though I’m riding harder trails and features at more speed, I feel safer than I did before because I’m more in control. Usually.

Thankfully it feels like my slump is over, and the solution was one you may be familiar with; lots of laps. I did a couple of bike park days this summer with my son, and more recently I did a bunch of shuttle laps on the Sunshine Coast in West Sechelt and Roberts Creek. That kind of repetition is magic for your skills and I found myself hitting some gaps that are among the largest I’ve ever done. In fact I left wanting some even bigger moves. I’m not talking about Crabapple hits or Fest Series, but that’s how cool they felt to me.

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae

Age - 55

Height - 6'/183cm (mostly legs)

Weight - 165lbs/74.5kg

Ape Index - 0.986

Inseam - 34"/86cm

Trail I've been stoked on lately - Fifth Horseman

Bar Width - 760mm

Preferred Reach - 485-500mm (longer with 27.5 wheels than 29)

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Comments

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Sept. 22, 2021, 4:11 a.m.

Cam - do you tend to ride the same bike or mix it up?  I find switching between my relatively short / steepish HT and long / slackish FS keeps things interesting. 

You touched on Strava.  I record most ride I do - mainly as a log for myself and the ability to compare over time.  It also feeds into the Pro Bike Garage app so I can track time / distance on components.  I find it does help me push hard on some rides when i'm feeling it.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Sept. 22, 2021, 9:37 a.m.

I mix it up because of my job, but also because I like to. Most of my time is on a longish travel enduro type bike but I spend time on short travel bikes, my hardtail and even *gasp* ebikes. 

I think if I rode alone more I'd use Strava some, or just record my ride with my watch app, but generally, I try to avoid things that alter or take me out of the experience in the woods.

Reply

fartymarty
+1 Cam McRae
fartymarty  - Sept. 23, 2021, 12:37 a.m.

Could it be that by riding lots of different bikes you don't get to gel with one bike?  Or is it just a headspace thing? 

I use my Garmin watch which syncs to Strava once the ride is done.  It just sits on my wrist and records the ride - it doesn't have live segments.  The live segment function is interesting but probably not something I would want to use - as you note above it takes you out of the experience.

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Sept. 23, 2021, 8:33 a.m.

I haven’t noticed switching bikes as a problem. In fact I see it as a positive because it forces me to think about technique instead of slipping into familiar patterns that aren’t always productive. 

I think Strava can be useful, particularly for A/B testing and I’m sure there are situations when I’ll use it in the future.

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heckler
0
Sven Luebke  - Sept. 28, 2021, 5:54 p.m.

- Sept. 28, 2021, 4:20 a.m.

Irrelevant, but kind of funny - I'm pretty sure Dave called it called the Coughin'.

(what time is it again?)  ;)

Reply

DogVet
+5 Muesliman Pete Roggeman Cam McRae Dogl0rd Andy Eunson
Hugo Williamson  - Sept. 22, 2021, 5:13 a.m.

Just wait til you are 66, and still trying to push hard. Some days the steep and loose than really play head games!! I find I ride better and feel braver riding solo than in a group, I guess there is no peer group pressure ( given that most of my riding mates are up to 34 years younger!!)  and allows one to just take an assessment of the risks in a non pressurised fashion. I think trying to ride as fast or catch people up, leads to poor line choice, poor braking choice and old habits creeping in, riding solo going just as fast or even faster ( in my case) it seems always to come together better, less forced errors creep in, and easier to get into that “zen “ zone.

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ackshunW
+2 Pete Roggeman Dogl0rd
ackshunW  - Sept. 22, 2021, 6:52 a.m.

Interesting comment Hugo! In terms of pushing myself I really see both sides. With others I’m surely able to try features that spook me, probably moreso than riding alone —- but sometimes it’s a frenetic experience, almost surprised afterwords, “wait did I actually just ride that?” 

In contrast to solo rides where that zen feeling is much easier to reach, and I can visualize myself doing the tough moves, then hitting them (haha or just as often not hitting them if Zen is in short supply that day)

Reply

Vikb
+5 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman Mammal Dogl0rd jaydubmah
Vik Banerjee  - Sept. 22, 2021, 6:26 a.m.

Life isn't a straight line. So when I am just killing it on the bike I try and remember that it won't last forever so if there is a project I want to tackle I get on it. When I am getting killed by the bike I remember that it won't last forever and if I keep turning the pedals I'll get back to peak form again sooner or later. With a bit of a philosophical mindset I can enjoy myself most of the time as my bikey performance waxes and wanes.

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denomerdano
+8 Allen Lloyd Vik Banerjee Pete Roggeman Metacomet Tim Coleman Sean Chang Butch White meloroast
Deniz Merdano  - Sept. 22, 2021, 7:24 a.m.

Progression of Fitness, Speed and Style go through my mind on most of the rides.

I have this conversation with my partner sometimes, who doesn't agree that every ride needs to be a progression session. Sometimes, just being in the forest on bikes is the ultimate goal.

But I always want to ride to the top faster than the ride before, or clear a line I may not have previously. Most importantly however, for me , is that I ride more beautifully and in style than I felt previously.

Like reading sheet music for a symphony, I yearn to read the trail and ride it in the most beautiful and interpretive way possible. 

And that beauty comes only when I am fit enough and have practiced my craft a million times.

After all, who cares how gnarly a line is if the rider looks like a potato riding it...

Reply

rigidjunkie
+2 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman
Allen Lloyd  - Sept. 22, 2021, 7:29 a.m.

I had a similar year.  In 2019 I decided I wanted to ride a local trail in under 4 minutes, that was the line where I know every person under that time is fast and I was riding it in 4:20'ish.  I started by just pedaling harder on the flat bits and got to 4:06, then I stalled I rode it in the same time 5 times in a row.  Finally I had a breakthrough and rode a 4:01 I was so mad, there was a clear mistake in the run and I knew it lost at least a second.  Another month of 4:05-4:12 and one day I missed an early line that actually set me up for the next section, pedaled like hell and rode in at 3:59.  

During this same time frame I added half a dozen features to my done list and I was feeling really good about my riding abilities.  The issue was I wasn't having as much fun riding.  This past month I have taken things a bit easier and enjoyed riding more.  Then I threw that all away and raced my first enduro.  OMG I remembered how much I enjoy competition and how I now know I need to be careful.  The last time I got into racing it was a fun 2 years then I almost stopped riding because it became too pressure filled.  I like to think I am older and wiser now, but being 5 seconds off the podium really got my juices going.  

All of this to say, there are a million ways to have fun on a bike.  We should all be willing to find a million more.

Reply

lamar454
+9 Cam McRae Deniz Merdano JVP Kerry Williams mrbrett Velocipedestrian 4Runner1 Butch White meloroast
Peter Appleton  - Sept. 22, 2021, 9:19 a.m.

I'm right with ya Cam, exceptional article and the reason why i love this site for soooooo long ;)

I'll take internal perceived zen like flow over a Strava top 10 any day, one is ephemeral, the other is forever!

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Sept. 22, 2021, 9:39 a.m.

Thanks Peter! And well said!

Reply

4Runner1
0
4Runner1  - Sept. 22, 2021, 4:16 p.m.

Nailed it.

Reply

JVP
+3 Dogl0rd 4Runner1 Cam McRae
JVP  - Sept. 22, 2021, 9:59 a.m.

Good article that I think most of us can relate to in our own way. 

I've realized I measure my riding now in "mental state" more than skill. There's some moves I hit 10 years ago that I'll never hit again, and moves I'm hitting now that I've never hit before. I'm ok with that. 

But the thing I've found is that I need to ride "hard enough" to, as you said, be one with the bike and trail and get the mind to click off. That's what I strive for these days, it seems to require going fairly hard, I can do it most rides, and it's certainly when I ride the best. 

Interestingly for me, I can't get into this calm mind state riding alone very often, my mind spins up too much. I worry about crashing alone and life's other worries creep in. Riding with friends allows me to ignore the other crap, focus on the trails, nature, good friends and fully clicking in to the trail experience. It's a form of meditation, and it's why I love this sport.

Reply

OLDF150
+1 Cam McRae
Kerry Williams  - Sept. 22, 2021, 12:14 p.m.

This article really hit home for me as I'm transitioning from trying to improve jumps and speed to improving fitness and climbing ability.  The last few years, I haven't listened closely enough to what my body is telling me and have had injuries that'll last a lifetime.  But, I'm not ready to give up on riding, I love it too much.  So, I'm going to lean more towards climbing and tech skills and bring down the speed and for the most part, 2 wheels on the ground. But, I will always want to progress, as that is part of what I love about this sport.

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Hollytron
+2 Cam McRae Dogl0rd
Hollytron  - Sept. 22, 2021, 12:50 p.m.

I took a lack-of-bike-parts-and "too hot and dusty" mtb break this summer and really woodshedded with my guitars. I just rode yesterday for the first time in a month and it was great even though I rode like a total kook.  I have also been on a similar trajectory of doing stuff I never thought I would do on a bike over the last few years and I feel like little breaks (a month was too long) like this help me forget certain bad habits. For example I had been struggling with an almost pathological foot out on right handers but didnt do it once yesterday and didnt even think about it until the car ride home.

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Sept. 22, 2021, 1:30 p.m.

It's interesting that you find you're able to ditch bad habits by taking time off. That's somewhat counter-intuitive. Maybe it has to do with patterns losing their imprint? I'm not sure I've had this experience but I'll pay more attention if I end up taking some time off.

Reply

shenzhe
+1 Cam McRae
shenzhe  - Sept. 22, 2021, 3:14 p.m.

I know that when I was doing karate I had a similar experience to Hollytron. After about 12 years or so of consistent and slowly increasing amount of practice I was forced to take an extended break and when I came back there were a number of things that I had been doing that were no longer as automatic as before (things I previously did without thinking). In many cases that meant I had to rebuild useful skills that I had lost, but in some cases that meant that I was able to avoid rebuilding bad habits that I had also lost. There was a certain intentionality to my efforts which allowed me to not do things I had previously known not to do, but had been unable to prevent due to them being so ingrained as to be unconscious.

With mountain biking, life happened and i didn't ride for 10 years or so. I can confidently say that was too long for any benefit, it was pretty much just a bunch of lost skills, lost fitness, and getting older. So I'm sure there's a reasonable amount of time where a break is useful, and more is too much. 10 years is definitely too much.

Reply

Hollytron
0
Hollytron  - Sept. 22, 2021, 5:16 p.m.

Funny stuff huh? I took 15 years away from snowboarding and then started again in 2018 after learning to ride mtb. Riding bikes changed how I saw the mountain for sure and I could carry speed better and had more fun just making turns. No more big hucks though.

Reply

sanesh-iyer
+2 Cam McRae Andrew Major
Sanesh Iyer  - Sept. 22, 2021, 7:41 p.m.

I was very concerned that living in Montreal for two years would hurt my riding. I was in the gym 4 days a week, picked up XC skiing, running, climbing, inner tube water polo, and rode very little... Well 2018 I rode 10 times. Some epics (triple crown) and some gnar (Wink) and some adventure (Zermatt). But just 10.  2019 was a similar number. And it did hurt my riding for a little. It took me a few rides to get back the line selecting skills and thinking at speed. But I was able to break so many bad habits that I had. Changed how I view lines. Riding stronger than ever after that break.

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just6979
0
Justin White  - Sept. 23, 2021, 10:20 a.m.

I think a bit of it has to do with forgetting (subconscious) fears. Many bad habits come from a fear* of causing certain crashes or falls at all costs. After a break, your body/brain might not have those knee-jerk, almost involuntary, reactions that put you in a bad position or what-not. You'll be able to take advantage of the good movements without your subconscious jerking your body around unbidden.

(I taught snowboarding for a while, and could often see this happen with learners who had big gaps in between lessons. They'd kinda forget how scary a heel-edge catch could be, and that allowed them to really lean into those first couple toe-side turns and feel how powerful it could be, blasting right through the transition between edges without getting scared stiff and biffing or just giving up and sitting down)

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Andeh
0
Andeh  - Sept. 24, 2021, 2:38 p.m.

I've noticed the same thing about taking a short break helping to forget bad habits.  This August I traveled to my in-laws for a week, and my first ride back I was able to clear a couple sets of rollers that I'd never gotten before.  I think I forgot my bad timing, and actually got the right timing on the pump.

In terms of general progression, I often find that I progress suddenly when I stop trying to work directly on something, and instead work on some peripheral fundamental component.  Like, working on flat corners actually improves riding bermed corners.  Braking improves cornering of all sorts.  Riding loose and moving body improves cornering and jumping.

Reply

andy-eunson
+3 4Runner1 Vik Banerjee Pete Roggeman
Andy Eunson  - Sept. 22, 2021, 2:15 p.m.

At 63 I’m not about going bigger or faster. I’m about going better. Injuries when you get older are easier to get, are worse for a given incident and take longer to recover from. Case in point, I got a little squirrelly on a trail a few weeks back and hauled the bike back in line. Then my neck was stiff for a week or so even after physio. My foot has been off and on painful from getting stuck like a leg hold trap in a frozen stiff ski boot last season. So my riding and skiing goals are more refinement rather than bigger jumps steeper stuff etc.  Now I want to clean things and ride smoothly. Plus I ride alone most of the time so there is no one to impress or pressure me into doing something I shouldn’t.

Reply

DogVet
+2 Pete Roggeman Andy Eunson
Hugo Williamson  - Sept. 23, 2021, 4:15 a.m.

What we tend to forget as well getting older, is the visual processing capability. There are a few exceptions eg Federer, Minaaar, that get to their 40s and can still mix it, but for most in fast dynamic sports eg DH skiing, motoracing, football,  the optimum seems to tail off around 30 years ish. 

The few microsecond adjustments at speed are what creates the requisite pace to win. No doubt in some sports, the experience and being able to pace oneself assists in a longer career, but in those acute speed, spatial awareness sports, youth is usually king!

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Sept. 23, 2021, 8:36 a.m.

David Coulthard was speaking about that in the Michael Schumacher doc that was just released on Netflix.

Reply

just6979
+1 Cam McRae
Justin White  - Sept. 23, 2021, 10:08 a.m.

But raw speed isn't everyone's main goal. Like Cam said in the article, a huge part of busting the plateau is finding ways into the flow state where you start to see or feel how the trail and bike and rider can work together. You can get more out of a given ride without going faster than your eyes as you learn to see the way everything combines.

Yeah, as your body changes as you age, including eye-sight, you may have to change your riding, but that's par for the course, same thing happens when you're young and still growing.

Reply

dorkweed
+2 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
dorkweed  - Sept. 23, 2021, 7:17 a.m.

I have two kids under 5 (under 3 when Covid kicked off) and work a superstressful job from home.  Last year was the year my riding plateaued and this year it has fallen off a cliff - I NEVER ride anymore and feel like age is really catching up rapidly (late 40s). I'm worried by the time I ever get any time back (if!), my age/skills/health won't allow me to really ride again.  It really sucks.  Moral of the story - if you love this life (skiing, riding, being physically active) do NOT have two kids.  That, or quit your crappy job and take one with more time off - if possible.

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Sept. 23, 2021, 8:39 a.m.

You’ll get back there DW. You are in the trenches now but things open up fast. I felt like I’d win the lottery when both of my kids could strap themselves in the car. After that things snowball and your life gradually starts to come back. My daughter just went away to University and those days of strapping them in feel like a short time ago. Hang in there!

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dorkweed
+1 Cam McRae
dorkweed  - Sept. 23, 2021, 9:54 a.m.

Thanks dude - it's hard to see the future from here.  To date, each year seems harder and riding more distant, but I guess that may turn fairly quickly.

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Gunnar-man
+1 Butch White
Gunnar-man  - Sept. 23, 2021, 12:44 p.m.

Been there and done that as well, dorkweed.  It will come and soon enough, they will blow past you on skill level.

My riding stagnated for the first few years after my boys were born and funny enough, my boys and I were just talking about this last week.  They are 15 and 13 now and the talk was how they used to ride green to blue to now double blacks and pro lines at Whistler.

Thanks to trying to keep up with them, I am now hitting things like Dirt Merchant and Title Line at 53 that I wouldn't have hit before in my 30's and 40's.

It is very much about becoming comfortable with the bike and scaring yourself, just a little bit to get off that plateau.

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velocipedestrian
0
Velocipedestrian  - Sept. 23, 2021, 2:45 p.m.

I feel you, Dorkweed. One 4 and one 6 in this house. The first three years riding was almost entirely solo at night, but it's already starting to increase, and now they can both pedal themselves the future looks promising.

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morgan-heater
+1 Butch White
Morgan Heater  - Sept. 23, 2021, 9:24 a.m.

I find that doing simple drills at home or taking my bmx bike to the skate park a time or two a week actually does more for my progression on the trails than the rare times that I get to ride in the woods multiple times a week. I've been rock climbing pretty seriously for decades, and my practice/training time vs performance time ratio is probably nearly 10/1, which is way different than biking. I imagine if I approached biking the way I approach climbing and mostly focused on skills, I would see huge progression. I bike mostly for fun and exercise though, it's a bit harder for me to buckle down and practice for some reason.

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velocipedestrian
0
Velocipedestrian  - Sept. 23, 2021, 2:48 p.m.

The up:down ratio might be a factor. How many minutes of descending do you get in a two hour ride?

Assuming one is trying to improve the downhill skills on the bike...

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morgan-heater
0
Morgan Heater  - Sept. 23, 2021, 2:58 p.m.

That's definitely true.

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just6979
+2 Butch White Velocipedestrian
Justin White  - Sept. 23, 2021, 9:59 a.m.

"The ultimate expression of this is when you ride something, ideally for the first time, and everyone else in the group walks away. It may not be great for the group ride dynamic, but those rainbow unicorn-tinted days make me feel a little special, just like Mr. Rogers used to."

Maybe I'm misterpreting "rest of the group walks away", but...

IOf you're hitting something for the first time that no one else with you will even try, then that shouldn't be hurting the group dynamic. It should stoke everyone else on getting it done next time, or sometime in the future, as well. If the group can't deal with you sending something that they skip, that's a crappy group.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 Justin White
Cam McRae  - Sept. 23, 2021, 12:15 p.m.

You're right and that was mostly facetious. My crew is very supportive and lots of fun to ride with. But we're all also somewhat ego-driven and competitive - although those elements fade with each passing year. They are an excellent group of dudes who never bring enough beer

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syncro
0
Mark  - Sept. 24, 2021, 10:43 a.m.

lol - that almost sounds like an invite as long as people bring lots of beer

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