Pump: It’s OK to pedal (sometimes)

This evening I stopped by The Fix for 100 Laps of Pump Track Love. The wind was crazy! I usually follow a Don’t Ask, Don’t Pedal policy, but there was no way to ride the uphill into the bluster.

With the spritely little P.3 at home, I was rocking the big, plush Enduro. 10 laps this way, stop for about 30 seconds, do 10 more laps the other way with the opposite lead foot, repeat. That gives you time to think:

What great practice: It’s hard to maintain a smooth stroke over big rollers. Try to stay balanced over the pedals and let the bike follow the contour. Better: Turn the pedals and pump at the same time. Now that’s a complex movement. Can you imagine how useful that could be in racing?

Very nice, very nice: At first I worried about striking a pedal, but it never happened. Well-built pump tracks have plenty of clearance, plus the Enduro is pretty tall. I let the six-inch suspension do its thing, and I got into a nice rhythm. As the various body parts fell into sync, I found myself sneaking in pedals all over the place.

Try this: Pick a pretty tall gear. Enter a berm with your outside foot at the top of the stroke. As you lay into the turn, crank down. The downforce gives you nice traction, and the propulsion drives you right through. Aussie racer guy Luke Strom encouraged me to do this a few years ago, but I guess I wasn’t ready yet.

You already know this: On like my 80th lap, I rounded the bottom turn, started pedaling up the rollers and looked all the way into the next turn. Wow! It sure is easier to ride over something if you’re not looking right at it. I never stop learning this lesson.

OK, now try this: Pedal up the straight and all the way through the berm. Cool. Now try it fast. Nice. Now get a half crank as you pump the exit roller. Whoa — that feels fast!

Speaking of fast: You know I like to time my training sessions. It improves focus in the moment and analysis down the road. Check this out …

100 laps on the P.3, July 24:

– Total time 41 minutes

– Riding time 35 minutes

Today, on the Enduro:

– Total time 36 minutes

– Riding time 31 minutes

Wow. The Enduro was more than 10 percent faster than the P.3, with a lower perceived effort. There are plenty of variables — cooler weather, better dirt, greater overall strength, stickier tires, lots of suspension, PEDALING — but this still tickles my brain.

Next test: Pedal the uphill section on the P.3 and the SX (if there’s enough pedal clearance). And start sneaking in pedals on all my favorite downhills.

Just when you think you know …

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