Working on instinct

For years I have known deep down that working strictly on instinct when riding, is a way better bet than over thinking things.

Every time I get in trouble on my bike it’s because I went against my instinct and let my thoughts intervene.

Throughout my years of instruction and coaching, I have spent countless hours explaining each skill, prompting riders to become more focussed, and breaking down every pedal stroke. Then I tell riders to just let it happen, once you know how to ride it will just happen instinctually. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get to that point for a long time.

It seems as though, as adults, we think we are too smart to listen to instinct. We know better right?

Last night as we were taking a family dinner break from our long drive to California, Rhyley wandered off into the restaurant and found one of those vending machines with a mini crane. You’ve all seen these I am sure. It’s a big glass box jammed full of stuffed animals. There is a chrome claw in the corner. If you can manoeuvre it into the right spot, when you hit the little red button, it drops, grabs a stuffed animal, and promptly drops into the hole for the winner. A big, fluffy stuffed animal for only a dollar.

If you’ve ever tried this you know it’s a no-win situation. The prizes are jammed so tight you can never get a grip with the claw, plus they’re all round and slippery, so if you do line it up correctly, there is still no chance. It’s really like buying disappointment, but it’s only a dollar.

Rhyley being a seven year old kid, and being on vacation, came straight to Dad for a dollar.

Being a Dad, I explained that there is no way to win and warned her not to get her hopes up.

Being a coach, I walked her through the best approach. Have patience, line it up perfectly, and don’t hit the red button until you’re absolutely sure its ready. Don’t hit the button, don’t hit the button, don’t hit the button … are you ready?

I inserted the four quarters and Rhyley smashed the red button. The crane hadn’t even moved and I saw it dropping right in to the prize slot. Disappointment.

Somehow one of the claws got stuck on the side panel and dug itself into the tag on a prize. Dad, I won, I won! Apparently, I was overthinking it and Ryley’s seven-year-old instinct was bang on. She won a half unicorn/half dog stuffy. We named it corndog.

I think on my next ride, I’ll try to think less, let my instinct run the show, and just enjoy the flow … who knows, maybe I’ll come home with a prize.

I’m James Durand and I’m Going’ Ridin’…

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