Lessons in Mountain Biking- Recognizing Progress

I’ve been feeling the fatigue. Yes…the fatigue. The tiredness that affects me for awhile each month to prepare my body for the onslaught of “womanhood” that will come about a week or so later.

I had been wondering why I was feeling tired the past few days. My legs didn’t want to cooperate as much as I hoped they would. I became torn on whether I should ride or take a rest day.

My bullheaded self said “Ride damnit!”
I chose a route that would take me on a shorter excursion and explore a couple trails I’ve neglected.

I pedaled off to the usual IPT starting point with the uncertainty of wanting to ride up North 40 or North 40 has a challenge at the very beginning (two turns, one of which I make almost every other time.) I made it up most of the way with the turn one but I ended up putting a food town as I had aimed my bike up too high and lost my balance. I accepted my semi-success and continued on.

The next climb is one where I’ve gained inches on almost every time. Lately I’ve made it to the big root; each time I've gained knowledge of what I need to do a little more or little less of in order to succeed. I finally got myself far enough to aim closer to the right, going around the fattest part of the root. YES! I made it past the first tree on the left and up to the second tree. Then I spun out. Dang…..

I was brimming with excitement and was certain that one day I will ride that climb without clips. My goal now is to accomplish that climb at least one time before winter hits.

I decided that I would ride Little Big Horn in the opposite direction of how I normally ride as I wanted to try going down the switchbacks. I dislike trying to weave around tight turns, which is something I felt the need to improve upon. The first switchback has roots I have managed to ride up and over, so riding down them should be cake.

The second switchback is the hardest, with as much trouble as I have riding up it, how would I manage riding down?

The last switchback wasn’t a big deal as I just get over the log without getting off the bike.

When I pulled up to the roots, I felt that downhill almost looks like you’re going to drop off the earth. I started rolling, trying to keep a pretty good line and I was past them before I knew it!

I sat back, aiming high, and rounded my first corner. I got a little too close to the side and had to put a foot down. I re-situated myself and started to the second switchback; I paused for a moment. I had to psych myself to try it because of how steep it was.
You can do this. You don’t have to do it perfectly, you can put a foot down…but you are not walking down the corner.

I made it! I could feel my back tire somewhat sliding downhill, but I made it around the corner and onto the trail without falling over or having some other calamity. Yeah!
The last turn was simple and I realized that I had successfully rode down the switchbacks without the extreme anxiety or nervousness I had in the past. I’m becoming more confident and sure of myself.

I went onto Dust Bowl, a trail that I hadn’t been on for about a month and remembered how fun it was. What I forgot about was a spot called called "Dirty Harry" which boasts a short/steep uphill that has a patch of roots to ride over. Even without the success of making that climb, I know there is always next time!