Friday I’m heading down to participate in one of Highland Mountain Bike Park’s Find Your Ride sessions- and I’m completely stoked about it.
This session is part of an ongoing series I’ve dubbed my “gnarification” with the goal being increased trail skill and confidence. Endurance races aren’t usually super technical, but parts of them can be and being able to ride those sections quickly, safely and with little effort is what pays dividends over a 6+ hour event.
But beyond the simple arithmetic of nanoseconds per mile is the fact that riding fast and aggressively is fun. While I’ve made some improvements in my skills over the last couple seasons I still have plenty of room to grow and getting some good instruction is the key to that. I’ve even toyed with the idea of getting a full-on DH bike even though the baggy shorts I bought last season have been worn out on the trail about 4 times total.
I’ve never been to Highland, but I’ve heard great things. In the 17 years I’ve been around bikes I’ve done exactly one downhill run- I was in college riding a friend’s 14″ steel Specialized Stumpjumper hardtail setup “dual slalom style”. And I think I rode it to the top of the run before throwing the chain halfway down and running across the line.
I’m expecting to feel a little humiliated by punk ass kids half my age, kids who have no idea who John Tomac is and have probably never seen a GTI with less than 200 horsepower. But more than that I’m looking forward to pushing my boundaries and going into a segment of the sport where I’ve never truly been comfortable.
I’ll let you know how it goes.