Why do we always try (or, at least, talk about trying) to push ourselves, every single ride? Now, I know that with the New Year having just passed, many of you will have all sorts of resolutions like “I’ll hit that rock garden at least 50% faster than I did last time!” Maybe you’ll tell yourself that you’re not going to give up and walk up the hill that you always have trouble with. Shoot, you might even resolve to drink less beer so you don’t have to justify riding up all those hills! Just keep in mind, all of you, that if you’re turning your rides into work, they won’t be nearly as fulfilling as they once were.
|It’s like the mountain bike version of stopping to smell the roses!|
So here’s what you guys should try to remember, this year: every once in a while, it’s important to have an easy, relaxing, don’t-do-anything-dumb-but-also-don’t-try-to-push-your-limits kind of ride. Think of it as a way to recharge your proverbial batteries. You know that old saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? It’s definitely true, in this instance.
Probably the only time I have actually not been excited to go for a ride was about day four of my two weeks of pre-race training. Every day I went out, I was pushing myself to the edge of my abilities and athleticism and, though I did wind up feeling like I had had fairly productive rides while driving home, they really didn’t have the same allure as my normal, “for fun” rides did. Now, granted, I definitely did get better because of those two weeks, but I don’t think I could think of a ride I enjoyed more than the one I went on immediately after the race – even though it was about three miles of nothing but double-track, it was relaxing and it was easy and it was entirely without a goal. It was fantastic.
Think about it, though – sure, one of the best parts of mountain biking is the excitement that comes from trying new trails, new lines on old trails, and new techniques. But how much fun can you *really* have, if you never take a day off to ride the easy trails, and remember what used to be difficult? I’m spending my Christmas time at my parents’ house on the beach and, as it turns out, flat sand is actually pretty nice after three years of riding in B.C. forests!
Admittedly it’s a bit late to be making any sort of resolutions, but you all should keep it in mind nonetheless. Sometimes, it’s a great idea to just take an easy day and relax. Don’t worry about nailing the rock garden you get stuck in, or climbing all 400 feet of that brutal hill, or getting every last iota of speed out of your downhill run. Take a break, take it easy, and remember why you started riding in the first place.