It’s All in Your Head

There are those certain special sections on your local ride. You know them well. They’re sorta scary, but not really dangerous. But the line is difficult to find. Often you pedal up to the first part of a series of obstacles–waterbars, rocks, roots, drop-offs, etc.–and you hit it, determined to fly over the damn thing.

But it never happens. You stall and clip out, or just fall over, or pitch backward onto your keester.

Probably your best chance of clearing this section of trail was the first time you rode it, because you weren’t thinking too much. About how difficult the section is. How you’ve never cleared it. How your buddy clears it all the time–taking different lines each time! (The bastard.)

It’s in your head. Failure. Deep in there somewhere, the idea rests: I will never clear this section.

This idea informs your body, which informs your bike, which makes you get right up to the spot and you spin out, fall over, clip out, smash into something, and so on.

There are some sections of trail that used to be challenging and seemingly impossible, but gradually you figured out a way to get through them. Because always in your head you knew you could clear it. Failure was not ingrained. But these other sections are different. They own you.

There are many places on the local trails around Denver that are in my head. And I wonder if they will always be that way. Someday I’m going to reach my pinnacle of physical power and balance, meaning if I don’t clear them soon–like before I turn 50 or something–then I’ll never clear them.

First, I have to get the idea of failure out of my superior thinking machine. I must refuse to be owned by these meddlesome sections.

Here are two pics of such sections. They’re both at White Ranch, in Golden Colorado.

This one is right in the beginning of the route from the lower lot (going down is easy; going up sucks, as you have to balance and ride up the narrow ramp).

And here’s another. It looks simple enough, but the entrance–where that little waterbar crosses over–has always stumped me. And after that, I haven’t even thought about a possible line.

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