Hold please, read on…
I love the bike. Always have, always will. I have been racing bikes on the road, mountain and in triathlons since 1989. I have spent my share of time in the saddle. I would like to think I know how to handle a bike at a decent level. Not much beats going fast on a bike. Throw in dirt, trees, slickrock, a tight, steep technical descent and I’m a happy little man. I love to push the bike and my skills right to the edge of control then unleash the bike and let her sing! To do that I need to have a solid foundation of skills and habits, They better be sharp, or I will go down in an epic yard-sale.
A few weeks ago got the itch so I pulled out the mountain bike and got her set up for a ride. I greased the chain, dialed in the air pressure in the shocks, made sure the gears shifted to my tight specifications and went in the house to gear up. As I was pulling on my shoes I thought to myself, ‘self, don’t be stupid today. leave the helmet and jack the air pressure’.
I hear the rumblings…
What a clown!
You’re an IDIOT!
How does anyone trust their bodies to this fool?!?
Only a few of you will get the “stupidity” of higher tire pressure on a mountain bike.
I’m a professional…
Let me help you understand my brilliance.
If I slap on a helmet, pressure up the shocks and tires, tighten the gears and grease the chain you better believe I will put the hammer down and let her sing.
That’s great until you stop and take a look at my current mountain bike skills.
The last time I was on my bike was July of last year. That’s over 8 months ago. After 8 months my mountain bike skills are less than ideal. I know the skills to handle the bike are there but they are definitely not sharp enough to point her down hill and hammer.
I need to be patient and re-sharpen the skills that I need to really let the bike scream. If I don’t, I will push beyond my current skill set and more than likely end in a busted up bloody mess.
I cranked my shoes down, grabbed my gloves, waddled past my helmet and headed out to the garage. I pulled the tire pump off the shelf, pumped my tires up to 65 psi (WHAT!?!), clipped in, hit my GPS and headed for the mountains.
I dialed in a good cadence on the pavement and after a good 3 mile spin warm up I hit the single track. I spun another 4 miles up the trail to a place I like to turnaround and head home. It’s a semi-steep trail and the climb was awesome. Conditioning was there but the bike legs weren’t.
The high tire pressure gave me grief on some section because they were too hard and I lost traction. Rather than being annoyed I chanted the mantra, no helmet rolling rocks, control it little man and dialed back the speed.
I hit the turnaround, flipped the shocks from climb to descend and told myself, ‘nice and easy little man’!
As I made my way down the trail there were many times I wanted to open it up and let the bike roll. I chanted my mantra and kept the tires on the ground and fingers on the brakes.
It took me over 30 minutes longer than last year to complete the ride.
The point of my ride was to go out have a great ride, sharpen my skills and live to tell about it.
I could have put the helmet on, kept the tires at the pressure I like and put the hammer down but, at what cost?
Would it be worth the risk to end up a bloody heap in the middle of the mountains and on the injured list for a few months?
When your wife runs marathons and you’re the pack mule you MUST stay healthy.
I did two more rides that week with no helmet and my tires as hard as rocks.
I was constantly reminded, by my bare skull and limited ground contact to keep it under control and ride within my current skills not the skills I had last Julys.
The next week I put the brain bucket (helemt) on and increased my speed but, the solid tires kept me in check. I had three great rides and improved my ride time by only 5 minutes. That’s right I kept it under control.
Last week I decreased the air pressure to 50 psi. Still too hard but, perfect for my current skills. My times improved a little and I was able to unleash the bike a little more. I had two great rides and was feeling more confident with my skills.
One of the rides I blasted 9 miles up and took a wicked rocky trail that some won’t hike. I was tempted to drop the air pressure at the turnaround but, stayed true to my commitment and mantra.
There were parts that I could have stayed on the bike, and have in the past but, because of my developing skills and hard tires I jumped off and walked those section.
It was an awesome ride.
This week I will drop the tire pressure down to 40 psi. That’s still a little harder than I like but perfect for my current skills, right?
Next week, if I progress correctly, I will drop the air pressure and push the pace. Within two weeks I will be close to last years conditioning and will be set to advance my skills.
All in all, it will take six to seven weeks to get my skills up to speed to where I can push myself and the bike.
Can’t wait to PUT THE HAMMER DOWN!
What does this silly story have to do with anything?
A LOT but, look at it this way…
How often do you see people jump into a workout program and or a diet and meal plan that is far beyond their current skill set?
I, unfortunately, see it all too often.
Just like me thundering down a mountain with rusty skills, jumping into an advanced nutrition and or workout regimen with less than ideal skills and fundamentals is reckless.
“Trying” a strict routine that’s more advanced than your skills, habits and fundamentals wont last long and usually ends is an epic fail, AKA relapse.
Just like my mountain biking skills, our nutrition and training skills take time to develop. We all need to refresh and build our skills when we start a new goal.
I don’t hit the mountain today, like I did last July.
It takes time to build back to that level of riding.
When I feel my fat jiggle and want to lean down I don’t pull carbs, gluten and everything delicious. I have the skills, fundamentals and knowledge to put the hammer down in the kitchen as well as the gym but, I don’t. That will end just like reckless ride in the mountains.
I take stock of my current nutrition, exercise condition and skills then build upon them.
Proper progression into the advanced strategies takes patience, habits and a sound skill set. 99% of the time I never utilize the “hard core” science, it’s just not needed.
When exercising and eating we need to be smart and strategic about the strategies we employ.
Falling prey to the next dieting dogma and following the “hip” crowd and sexy approach will yield nothing more than blown metabolisms, fat mass gains and hormonal imbalance.
What’s sad is that I consistently see coaches, trainers and even doctors preaching the latest dieting fads and strategies. DON’T get me started! Don’t fall victim to the fads.
When you want to lean out, build muscle mass or train for an event.
Take a sharp objective look at your current habits, strategies and skills. If you need help contact us, we do this all day.
Build upon your skills one step at a time.
Progress your approach based off your results and goals.
As you do you will put the helmet on, dial in your tire pressure and put the hammer down.
Be realistic and Discover your ELITE.