As for flowing on every trail this subject, last time we have already talked about learning how to see, learning how to choose the great lines and mastering the art of pumping. These are just a part of the subject and today, we are going to go through the second part. We are going to talk about speed, reserve and commitment.
When you are cycling, different speeds will give you a different experience. If you ride at a low speed, you can enjoy the beautiful sightseeing along the road, the feeling when the wind softly touching your face and the warmly tender sunshine shadowing on your face. What a pleasant and nice cycling trip. If you ride at a really high speed when all you care is fast speed or your destination, leaving everything behind you, enjoying the howling wind, crunching gravel and whooshing trees far behind you. How exciting it is!
There is no doubt that the experience a faster speed gives you is definitely more fun than a low speed. That’s why so many cyclists always pursue a fast speed. The fast speed and the experience it brings are the first things they want. The feeling of acceleration and deceleration are what they after, pumping over obstacles and swooping in and out of the turnings. How thrilling!
Speed is one of the most important parts of a great cycling experience, therefore we need to control our speed. If you want to go over some rough things, a too low speed will stop you there while a too fast speed will make you lose control and fall off the bike. That’s the last thing we want. So, to have an optimal cycling experience, we need to learn how to control our speed, when and where to use that speed as a little wind, a rough road or an obstacle would affect the speed and cycling experience easily.
In different cases, we need different speeds. For example, in a cycling race, we need a really fast speed to win the game. That is another case. Because only at the fastest speed can we win and also the cycling skills are very important.
As a matter of fact, cycling is an activity of endurance and strength. Strength will help you accelerate and climb hills while endurance keeps you running away. We have to work hard on both sides to give us a better experience. Work out your body and practice the skills of controlling speed.
2.Don’t ride so hard, but ride with a reserve.
When you are cycling, you are cycling. There are people and some other obstacles on the road. Remember, you are not attending an F1 formula racing on the professional track. Some people pursue the so-called “extreme speed” and they ride without a reserve. They are not riding with life but riding against life.
Think about it, when you are riding outside with 100 percent of your effort and you step and step, you feel very awesome and you are having fun because the fast speed gives you an ultimate enjoyment. And then suddenly, a little cat comes out unexpectedly, and you are scared by the situation and you freeze and don’t know what to do because there is no enough time for you to react properly. The result can only be a lose-lose one.
But, if you ride outside with 70 percent of all your effort, there still are 30 percent of reserve left for you to react and deal with the unexpected situation. When there is something bad happens, like a flat tyre or a hard turning, you will think “Oh, I need to stop” and you have enough time to grab the brake and stop in time. You stop a bad thing from happening, isn’t that nice?
How much effort should I use? That depends on the case. When you are racing and you want to bee the winner, a 10 percent reserve is enough. But if bad things happen, think about it, if a broken body is worth a plastic medal? When you are riding in a park and there are many people around, maybe a 30-40 percent reserve is good. In that way, you can enjoy yourself and you still have enough time to react.
Confidence is one of the keys to do whatever things well. When we are doing easy things, like riding on a flat road that we can ride along it however we like, we can easily do it successfully, with confidence. We don’t need to worry too much when doing easy things while doing difficult things we have to rack our brains to find a way to solve it. The same thing goes to cycling. However, when we are riding over a rough situation, we need to commit. The hard the situation, the more confidence and skills you need, the more commit you need to.
There are two committed level: low-commitment and high-commitment. The smoother the route is, the lower commitment you need. To lessen the risk, we need to choose the easiest and smoothest way, slow down, step on the pedals softly with high efficiency, brake lightly to stop slowly, steer softly and let our bike go over rough road slowly.
A high-commitment riding is very fast with aggression, high risk and of course, with high payback. Some cyclist would risk everything to get the high prize. To keep our safety and get there as fast as possible, we need to choose the straight way even it means going over some obstacles, speed up, step on the pedal with all your effort, grab the brake firmly to stop quickly (I recommend the front brake), lean and press hard when we are turning and pump over everything in the way.
We need to try very hard to flow on every trail ideally. Except for speed, reserve and commitment, we still need to pay attention to a lot of things. However, there is nothing impossible for a willing heart. I believe through learning and practice, we will master these skills eventually.