We have arrived at that glorious time of year when daylight begins to stretch well into the evening hours! More daylight is always something I really appreciate after dragging through the cold dark evenings of winter. Motivation can be really dang hard to come by when it’s cold and damp outside! But when the sun stays up past 8 PM and the temperatures are just right, we begin to run out of excuses for sitting on the couch all evening. So how do you use the extra daylight to become a better mountain biker???
RIDE YOUR BIKE MORE.
It really is that simple. The number one thing people can do to get better at mountain biking is to simply spend more time on your bike. It seems so simple, but in a society built around instant gratification, this truth is sometimes harder to grasp. One of the most difficult aspects about mountain biking is the fitness that it requires. And it can be amazingly frustrating to get on the trail and see people cruising along happily having a conversation while you are just simply trying to survive the climb without barfing up a lung!
Conquering those frustrations is not an easy thing and it can often require a bit of humility. I like to use moments like those as fuel to motivate me to ride more! When I see someone make a climb that I haven’t been able to clear, I try to use that as motivation to get a little further next time. Frustration is part of mountain biking for most everyone. Frustrated about fitness, frustration about mechanical issues, frustration about weather, etc… That’s part of what makes it such a special sport, you have to push through the frustrations, and when you do you realize it was totally worth it.
If you have ever played golf then you know how frustrating of a sport it can be, even for professionals. Yet the people who do well are the ones who can push through the frustrations, keep playing the game, and finish with a good score despite a bad hole or two. Mountain biking is thankfully nowhere nearly as frustrating as golf! However, there is something to be learned from golfers, you always have to move on and keep going to the next hole. Just because you have a bad ride, have to walk up a hill, crash your bike, or just don’t have much fun one day. Don’t let those very frustrating things keep you from getting out and riding the next day (unless you are actually injured, then take some time off). The more you ride the easier it is to simply enjoy the ride.
I do understand that many people are limited in the time they get to spend on the bike. That’s a part of life. So how do you spend more time on the bike while still fulfilling your obligations and being a productive member of society (I’m still working on the productive member of society thing personally…)??
Everything takes time, so how can we maximize our ride time without sacrificing work, family, friends, etc?
- Ride your bike to work. I know this has been preached all over the internet. But see if you can make it interesting by incorporating some dirt into your commute. You’d be surprised at the urban singletrack in some places!
- For those of you with children. Buy a kid trailer and ride more places! (dinner, grocery store, the park, anywhere!) And when they are old enough take them to the trails on their own mountain bike! I’ve been amazed at what some of the young rippers (boys & girls) can do on the trail!
- Do your friends ride? Would they want to ride if you finished off your ride at a brewery? Be creative and get your friends out riding with you!
- Ride before work. I hate getting up early, but if it’s the only way to make a ride happen then do it! Hold yourself accountable by promising to meet someone at the trailhead.
- Take advantage of the short ride. If you only have an hour to get a ride into your schedule one day, then take it! There’s no rule that says mountain biking has to take three hours. Even if it’s a quick rip around town hopping curbs, it counts.
- Reward yourself for doing house and yard work with a ride. How much time do you spend procrastinating on doing the dishes? Don’t sit on the couch staring at the pile of dirty laundry with disgust. Use riding as motivation to knock out your chores quickly so you can manage to get in a ride!
Long days means more daylight and better riding weather. So get out there and take advantage of it! Whether you can ride once a day, once a week, or once a month, get out there and ride! You will be a better mountain biker because of it!
One place that maximizing time really matters most is when you are on vacation! Wasting time is not an option when your time away from work is limited. One of the best way to maximize your mountain bike vacation is by partnering with a local guide to help show you the best trails in the area! I am a guide for Red Wolf Mountain Bike Tours in beautiful Brevard, NC just outside of Asheville. We can help you make the most of your mountain bike vacation. Feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email anytime! Visit www.redwolftours.com for more information!