Just stop trying… When you believe you are fast, you are not, and when you feel slow and you are not trying, that is when you go fast. As racers all of us have this weird feeling that, for a while, we cannot understand. The response to this is called ‘flow.’
We are living a world surrounded by nature, as is our sport. Every detail of it has got the right moment and a defined place, the right distance, and so does our riding. Believe it or not, this momentum, this “perfect rhythm” is what defines the maximum for anyone. You will tell me that every year, riders are going faster and faster. Yes, but this maximum speed, this perfect flow is defined by the rider’s capacities (technical skills / physical aptitude) but also by his bike set up (geometry / suspension setting)… And last but not least, your mental condition, how free your mind is and how relaxed you are on the bike. When you go past this “maximum speed” you will start feeling super fast as your body will require all of your energy and strength to control the bike; your braking will become later on the track, your wheels are drifting, your head gets on fire as the adrenaline comes up your brain but…. You are slow.
Imagine a river bed and visualize water going down to it. Water accelerates at the right time and slows down at the right time to make it flow. Water does not go against the terrain but plays with it. As riders, we have to stay on the same note. We all know that the tree, roots, rocks, dirt are stronger than we are. let’s not go against it but play with it.
So, my piece of advice is to find your maximum speed to pick up the right flow. Having this sensation allows you to be one with the ground and your bike, and every corner, jump, and move feel like a roller coaster where the momentum is just right, where the flow is simply getting you up to speed. There will be less energy to use, less stress on your bike and you will have more fun on it… Do not forget to look at the clock, as surprisingly, your time will be going down. If you do not believe so, ask Neko Mullaly or Arron Gwin how they managed to have great times in DH runs without a chain.
Fabien Barel – Enduro Racer, Canyon Bikes