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Dec 17

Amping it up…

Amping it up…


Ahhh, the broom is blooming, summer days are long and hot and the cobwebs of the off season have been well and truly dusted from the corners of our collective riding cabinets…
As we move ahead through the silly season it is time to stop resting on our laurels and start pushing the envelope of our skill set, challenging our demons and injecting style as opposed to survival into our riding.
This means of course vastly different things to different people, for some amping it up will mean taking to the air for the first time or challenging their first root or rock strewn path, while for others amping it up can reach some very lofty heights… imagine what it takes for Cam Mcaul or Kelly McGhery to amp it up to the next level!
The cool thing about mountain biking, however, is that the feeling in the pit of our stomachs, weather newbie or pro, when it comes to pushing our boundaries, is the same, and indeed the mental attitude needed to transcend to the next level is very much the same as well!  (well, kind of, same ball park anyway!)
So in honor of the mid season push to amp it up, let’s take a look at what it takes to  climb the ladder of progression and break out of our shells.
1. Imagination
This is perhaps the most important quality one can posses when it comes to achieving one’s goals and dreams, no matter what part of life we are talking about, and it is especially true with mountain biking.  How can one even dream to challenge that intimidating new off camber track, or big step down, without first possessing a vision of success?  We must be able to imagine ourselves doing something we have never done before in order to take the first step to achieving our goal.
2. Motivation
There must be an internal drive to progress, some people find it very easy to rest on their laurels  once they reach a certain level of competence with a sport.  They seem to hit a virtual plateau and never move beyond this point.  Maybe this is lack of imagination, but more likely a lack of motivation, these are Sunday drivers, not Mario Andrettis… So we must be motivated to get better.  For some of us this is easy, the better you ride the more fun you have!  But there is another factor also at play here and much intertwined with motivation…
3. Willingness to accept risk
Yep, the old downside to any sort of human progression… from potty training to walking to school sports, uni exams and starting your own business… if you want to progress you have to accept some risk.  In mountain biking these risks are quite in your face, anyone who has ever ridden a bike off road can attest to this.  Progress often comes at the cost of missing skin and any number of other unpleasant injuries.  But, the pay off is wickedly sweet… (and I hear chicks dig scars right??? Biker girls do anyway…)
4. Mental & Physical Preparation
We must use our mind first to imagine our own success, then invent a plan as to how to achieve this success.  Our brains must be functioning at a high level to keep our raging chemically imbalanced bodies calm, holding jitters and adrenaline at bay, or at least using it in the right way… Physical preparation, through riding and cross training will help the mind massively in attaining these goals.  When the breath comes easy and the legs, hands and feet aren’t cramping from lactic overload, taking your riding to the next level becomes a lot easier…
5. Last on my short list, but certainly not least, the crew…
The crew you ride with makes a massive difference when it comes to amping it up.  Are they motivated individuals with passion and imagination?  Or a bunch of cruisers chilling on the plateau of mediocrity?  Riding with people that are better than you, and inspired by their sport, is one of the quickest ways to progress, cause lets face it… you will either keep up or be left behind!  If you want to charge and push your riding to the next level, look for other like-minded individuals seeking to do the same.  If the mind and body are willing and the crew is pushing you will ride the lines of your dreams…