Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thank you Hannah Clarke

Friday, July 19, 2013

Building up to Nationals

This year, the nationals course is actually quite close to home - at Hardwood Ski and Bike which is just north of Barrie, Ontario! This is a top-notch facility that is home to a great development program, and as the name suggests, it is a year round facility with skiing in the winter. The trails here are taken care of and built by the Glenn (who doesn't need an introduction on the cycling scene), and are ridden and raced every week by a plethora of riders and range of age/skill levels. Glenn put lots of thought and effort into building the perfect nationals course, and the Elite (which at this level is almost synonymous with pro) course is full of action. The course is a 6km loop that doubles back on itself a lot, with tons of challenging obstacles, making this an incredibly spectator friendly and action-packed course; either the riders are climbing a hill or riding a technical section. The size of obstacles and technical toughness of these features however is leaving a lot of riders with mental blocks.
Personally, I was having some serious problems with these obstacles, and it affected me more than one would think. The features in question are two rocks that are big kickers that are about 2.5 feet tall. When I say kicker, I mean basically wedges that ramp you up that you have no choice but to jump off of. These are big features, but I knew that I had the skills to ride them. So why not? Why couldn't I just take the leap? The first one is the scariest, a really steep rock that pitches you right into the trees, but I should be able to get it. The fact that I wouldn't even try was bothering me and my affected my confidence deeply. I was simply disappointed with myself, which is a way I can't be before a race. Between these rocks and my burnt out state of fitness I was in a serious slump. In order to overcome these obstacles (which I knew were only in my mind) I just rode my bike through some of the faster and more technical sections, slowly boosting my confidence and handling skills back up.

We also set up a driveway ramp to all work together on these skills

But finally I got it

Getting over these obstacles was all that I needed to get me into shape mentally for the biggest race of my year, tomorrow!

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