Thursday, December 11, 2008
DITCHING THE MTB FOR A TRACK DAY ON BMX
THERE ARE TIMES when riding a mountain bikes become a bit of a chore. It's hard to believe I know, but it happens to the best of us and I'm sure we have all been there before, when you just can't be bothered with it all. Paul's been there recently, nearly selling his beloved Epic & turn to the dark side to get Tarmac road bike, and more recently the evergreen Damien declaring also that he's lost his passion for mountain biking as well.
IN MY CASE, after the recent Kona 24 MTB race and, I must admit I have also lost a bit of my usual enthusiasm for mountain biking. OK, admittedly my previous weekend at You Yangs with mob from Bicycle Victoria was great fun, but I vividly remembering the climbs to the summit being a real pain in the arse, with my knees playing up and the constant struggle in forcing a myself uphills when other riders easily gliding by, a clear indication of my deteriorated level of fitness. Even yesterday afternoon's quickie through Lysterfield Lakes on board my beloved Xizang didn't bring much smile to my face. I need a change of scenery and road bike just doesn't cut it for me, although I am acutely aware that putting miles into road is exactly what I need to do to rebuild myself to be in any shape to tackle Otway Odyssey next year.
LUCKILY FOR ME, within my stupid little collection of GT bikes I have a BMX bike in the fleet, and as a bonus there are 4 BMX tracks all within 30min of driving from home, so this morning, instead of doing the usual one hour MTB ride, I decided to do something different and pay my local BMX track a visit. It was a novelty to be the only person at the track, but I guess being fairly early in the morning most kids are enjoying the chance to sleep in during the school holiday. This worked to my advantage as I didn't need to be self-conscious about my lack of ability on board a BMX bike compared to the much more youthful track companions, whom can take to air at will. The lack of other riders allowed me to quietly put in laps of practice around the track without being interrupted.
SO FOR OVER AN HOUR THIS MORNING, I was able to be totally absorbed in learning how to ride a BMX bike again under a clear blue sky. My only audience were a couple of magpies and they were content to watch me putting in fast sprint intervals, followed by laps of moderate track works to strengthen my knee and improve my breathing. Riding a small 20" wheeler also turned out to be a great way of refining my riding skills in general, be it clearing double jumps, pump rhythm sections, rail berms, and generally fine tuning my spatial awareness for things happen so much faster on a small bike, that unless I stay focused I tend to end up crashing. Granted I don't know if I really have progressed much from today's track work, but suffice to say I freak out a lot less now as I roll towards a table top jump at 40km/h.
Not to mention having the entire BMX track to yourself was an odd but refreshing experience.