For those of us who actually have all four seasons, Spring is upon us and it's time to ride. I don’t know about you but the first few rides on dirt, after being away for a while, can be shaky. I find myself looking down at the rock or root instead of far ahead. I sit more than I should, my foot position is wonky and my timing is off.
As a good friend and skiing instructor said, “No hurries, no worries.” So, be easy on yourselves as you head into the forest for the first time. Take this opportunity to get your mojo back and relish in the moment of rediscovery and retraining that mind/body connection.
Some suggestions to get you prepared:
Check over your bike! Here are the ABC’s of bike readiness:
(A)ir - Check that your tires have the proper air pressure. How about your suspension?
(B)reaks & Bolts - Look at your brake pads and brake levers. Do a quick once over of the main pivot bolts, saddle bolts and headset (the thing that attaches the fork & handlebar to the bike).
(C)hain & Cables - Do you need to lube or maybe even replace your chain? If you don’t have a chain checker tool, ask your LBS to look at it. A worn chain wears out the chainrings much faster than a newer chain. How does your shifting feel? Warn or stretched cables can affect shifting and cause dropped chains.
Once at the trailhead:
Spin around the parking lot. Shift in and out of all of the gears.
Practice breaking hard to test that your equipment will do what it’s told.
Bounce up and down on your suspension and adjust as needed.
Clip in and out of pedals to make sure our cleats are tight and working properly.
Now that your equipment is ready, are you? Maybe pop over a few curbs, practice leaning the bike side to side and for/aft. Practice level pedals, being relaxed and looking far ahead. And lastly, take a long, deep breath. Smell the dirt. Hear the wind and get back in touch with your mojo!