On Monday I was doing homework on Valmont Bike Park’s dual slalom course, and I re-learned a lesson I keep forgetting.
I’ve ridden the dual slalom course a fair amount, but never at my full pace. The course feels good slow, but, as you ramp up the speed, pumping and manualing the main straight starts to feel choppy. Especially that long, low, pointy double.
Might as well jump
I lined up with the goal of jumping that infernal double. It’s not a big jump, but if I roll an obstacle too many times, it gets in my head. So I turned it up to 11.
Sprint through the downhill berm, crush the roller, pedal again and — nothing. My mind went blank, and I manualed the double. It probably looked fine, but that wasn’t the goal. I wanted to jump that double. This happened again.
As I rode back up, it struck me: If I’m focused on going as fast as possible, all gnarly style, my body is tense, and my mind isn’t focused on flow.
It reminded me of a time when pro snowboard/bike freestyler Zach Lewis and I were messing around on a bigger DJ line, and I was having trouble.
Zach: Lee buddy, do you know the key to dirt jumping?
Me: Determination? Discipline? Brute strength?
Zach: Naw man, it’s being lazy.
And then he rolled in — without a trace of tension — and easily boosted the line.
Yah. Got it. Be lazy.
How to case a jump
As I imagined cruising in and lofting the jump, I flashed on the sequence of Chris Powell casing a jump in Pro BMX Skills. If I come up short I know what do do. Nothing bad will happen — especially if I’m going slower. (Kinetic energy being a function of velocity squared and all that.)
So I lined up again and relaxed.
Coast through the downhill berm, pump the roller, load the transition into the lip and — fly easily to perfect backside.
Know more. Have more fun!
Join the leelikesbikes mailing list:
Place: Valmont Bike Park, Boulder CO