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Old 10-22-02, 10:20 PM   #1
Spectra
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I suck

I dont really really suck, but right now Im not so hot. Now first off, I never figured Id be superman right out the gates, but I got a few questions. Oh, first off, so any replys can be based on soemthing; I am a good athlete, not great, but I do well in things I try and do. I have quit growing height wise, but I have some weight to be put on and I ride frequently. Oh yeah, Im into XC, singletrack stuff.

So: A: How long did it take for you all to develop as riders? I want to learn, I want to put in the time. I dont want to wake up tomorow and be great, I love learning.. Im just curious how long before I start figuring stuff out. Right now I might as well leave the bike at home and just go jump into rocks and trees

B: Any solid tips on what to be doing. Begginer trails are way too easy, but man I can ride 50% of the intermediate and the rest is wondering how the heck you all scale the rocks etc...

Thanks, I think thats it right now.. Im loving the bruises etc.. I am in shape but find myself getting tired on the hills after about 2 hours and then I do stupid things. This is with water and food.. So any replies would be great.. I guess what I really really want to know is if Im gonna be a chump out there for long or will that learning curve rise faster.

Cheers

-S-
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Old 10-22-02, 10:34 PM   #2
Dirtgrinder
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Just keep riding. I've thought at times I was about as good as I could get, but then several months later I look back at that time and think, "man, I sucked". So I know the feeling. You're quite a bit younger than I am so you'll improve much faster I'm sure. There's just no way to tell you how fast you'll improve.
Train hard this winter and you'll be amazed how much better you'll be next summer.
Good Luck and keep riding.
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Old 10-22-02, 10:36 PM   #3
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Just keep on riding... the rest falls into place. There is no magic recipe! Sounds like you already have the bug, and that's half the battle. Sometimes its just motivating yourself to get out on the trail that's most difficult. Don't push too hard either, stay within your "comfort" zone in regards to exposure and risk. As you progress as a rider, and cyclist, what you percieve as "comfortable" will reflect your skillset, and your skillset will reflect your time on the bike...SPEND TIME ON THE BIKE!

Keep us posted, and good luck!

Mike
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Old 10-22-02, 10:40 PM   #4
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Well this is a loaded question. Every area has different level of measuring. I went back to Ontario and rode a 5 star trail expecting some difficulty. It wouldn't pass as a blue trail here (intermediate is blue). But here is my take.

I have only been riding for around 6 months (mayish). I found out quickly that speed comes later. Technique is something to be practiced and practiced. When my technique and trials skills picked up my speed doubled. That is definately key especially when talking about technical sections.

As for rating trails. I am almost a pure technique rider so I really can't help with distances and stuff. But for me single tracks are broken down like this


1a - tourist - wide fairly flat double track. Easy on the knees and boring to ride.

1b - beginner - fairly narrow with some roots and rocks thrown askew for some trouble. The odd 12' bridge can sometimes be found on these trails just to further develop technique. Usually 20k - 30k. The climbs aren't too long or steep. Sometimes this can be fairly easy fire roads.

2 - intermediate - More obstacles. Sometimes log rides (many logs piled up to make a bigger obstacle. Longer and narrower skinny rides. Narrower trail (running into tree happens). Small drops (can usually just be ridden and not actually dropped). Some wide switch backs. Still around the same distance but with steeper longer climbs. More complicated fire roads (esentially really long rock gardens) fall into this category.

3 - Advanced - More cascading obstacles. (obstacle flows into another obstacle) Sometimes very narrow with bigger drops (you either walk, fall or drop it). Teeter totters and other fun obstacles. Very rooty and rock gardens belong here. Distance can varry but if it is long it is technically tough, if it is short it is technically tougher and rougher. Swtichbacks are tight with berms.

4 - Damn that hurt - Everything possible. Uphill, downhill, technical switch backs. If it is a short trail (say 10k) it has a VERY steep incline (2200ft in 6k) and is very technical. Anything and everything falls in here and everyone falls and gets hurt at some point.

As you can see I am not a pure xc guy. I like it technical and tough sometimes bordering on extreme. Remove the obstacles and you end up having to go further and put in more cycling time. Definately not my thing. In either situation technical skill are always fun to learn

Needless to say it has taken me 4 months of solid riding to get to a comfortable level doing intermediate to advanced. This is riding 2 hours daily and practicing trials. Oh and I still think I suck. Just my competitive spirit. The minute I think I am good I stop pushing. There is always improvement.
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Old 10-22-02, 10:45 PM   #5
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Oh and scaling rocks (I assume you mean boulders) takes good tires and is one of my banes. Lean far forward eat the handlebar and jam those pedals down.

Oh and if you are doing 2 hours of technical riding you probably will be exhausted. Depending on the trail I am on I can only sometimes last 1 hour or so. It is all a matter of how tough the trail is.
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Old 10-23-02, 12:00 AM   #6
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Everyone sucks! It's just the level of "sucky-ness"!
Ride with someone better than you. You will learn everything from watching and doing. Describing things on the internet is like describing sex. It's the same but TOTALLY different in real life!
You gotta walk the walk so find someone that walks better than you and stick to them like glue.
Like everyone says, you just get better automatically. A pro XC rider isn't 100x's faster than you. He is about 1/2 a sec. faster around that switchback, 1 sec. faster up that steep hill, 2 sec. faster down that singletrack, etc,etc.

Pretty soon, he's long gone. The question is, do you think you have that second here, 1/2 a sec. there? Go for it and have a blast.
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Old 10-23-02, 09:47 AM   #7
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Something I always told my friends to do to become better bike handlers, think like a child on his/hers first bike. Go out riding some times and just play around, not worrying about milage or time. Try lifting the front tire and see how long you can keep it up. Jump every little obstical even small twigs. Ride no handed, ride no footed. Do track stands (when you stay stationary and just ballance). Go down every curb then try and go up. Try to lift your rear tire with out lifting the front.
Just play around on the bike and let your imagination go. Practice on grass to cushon your falls.
What I am saying is go out and just PLAY, PLAY, PLAY and have fun.
Also, as RacerX said, ride with people better then you.

Slainte
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