I have had coaches throughout my life. Lacrosse coaches, moto-x coaches, and a downhill race coach for a stint.
It was always a structured set up with scheduled practice and detailed work outs. It was never about pure fitness, but targeted at skill developement.
Competition drove me to want improvement, and coaching helped me find it.
Fitness was a biproduct, but better skills are what made the difference. A better shot made for more goals, better jumping improved my flow on a motorcycle, and better cornering got me down a hill faster on my mountain bike.
It’s been many years since I have chased results in sport, and I find the longer I go without competition, the more my skills diminish.
These days when I ride, it’s about having fun, keeping my body loose, and staying fit. I still like to go fast and I love technical trails that test my skill, but without the competition, and no coach to point out how slow I’ve become, it’s hard to maintain.
Recently I started riding with a guy who just likes to ride hard. He focusses on the down hills and clearly loves to go as fast as possible. When I’m chasing him and trying to keep him in view up ahead, it makes me feel like I’m racing, and losing, because his skills are better than mine. Before I know it I’m concentrating on the small details and trying find skills from my past.
Now on every ride, I am concentrating on the small details, forcing myself into higher speeds, later braking, and harder line choices. With more focus, I am slowly gaining some skill back. The result? More speed, more flow, a tiny bit of fear, and way more fun.
I guess chasing fast guys creates competition, and in a pinch, self coaching will have to do.
I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’…