May the Forces be with you

I was riding my pump track the other day — deep into a 10-minute non-stop set, and this occurred to me:

When I pump perfectly, the forces are internal (generated within my body and bike). When I make a mistake, the forces are external (coming from the trail). This got the wheels turning, so to speak.

I suppose great riders experience a greater percentage of internal forces than they do external forces: most of their work is coming from pumping and engaging with the terrain.

Less great riders experience more external forces: their work is coming from fighting their bodies and smashing into obstacles.

That makes sense to be, but there’s another aspect to this:

Are the forces purposeful or accidental?

For example, are you using your muscles to row through the takeoff of a jump, or are you using your muscles to resist the jump? One is purposeful. One is accidental. One is awesome. One is awful.

So OK, you have internal and external forces, and you have purposeful and accidental forces. Here’s the quickest infographic ever:

It seems like purposeful external forces are driven by purposeful internal forces. Example: Generating a powerful hop over the front of a rock, thereby not smashing the rock, then pumping the back of the rock.

As I think this through, it seems we should:

1. Learn to ride in balance to minimize accidental internal forces, aka tension. Dial in our internal skills and learn to generate purposeful internal forces, aka pump. May I suggest the RipRow off-bike training tool?

2. Bring our internal skills to trails so we can minimize accidental external forces, aka getting beaten up by the trail. While maximizing purposeful external forces … AKA SHREDDING!

This idea is not fully baked. What do you think?


Know more. Have more fun!

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