So I’m flying down my favorite section of singletrack in the whole Santa Monica mountains on my mountain bike, I’m flowing, feeling good. I zip thru the bushes and trees, following the dark narrow path.
And here I approach a deep elbow turn, sort of a dip but with a twist, deep breath and then, oh-shit!, quick! Eject! unclip! unclip! here I go rolling down the cliff.
Damn! I did it again. This is not even close to the most technical section of the trail and yet a good fifthy percent of the times I fall right there, sometimes the only crash in the whole ride: seems like my body is getting ready to fall down when I get there, or is it? It is actually my mind.
This is the most important realization of the beginner mountain biker: your mind is as important as your body. An empty mind will get you thru the gnarliest stuff. But if it gets entangled… well, it’ going to hurt.
I think the most useful suggestion I ever got was: “Don’t focus on the things you want to avoid, focus on where you want to go” – that helped me a lot.
There are exposed singletrack sections that I can’t ride if I start thinking to how will it hurt to go down there. So the key is how do I free my mind?
“Nothing is impossible to a willing mind.” –Books of Han Dynasty