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Took yesterday off; Heat and insects; Mountain bike cornering.

Monday, July 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


I felt like a day off from exercise was in order yesterday, and so I decided to relax and not do a darn thing. There was a brief moment during which I considered going mountain biking, but when I walked out back and felt the hot sun and humid air I realized I just wasn’t in the mood to be out in that.

Nothing wrong with a day off every once in awhile. In fact, yesterday was the first day I’ve taken off from all physical activity since my vacation ended two weeks ago.

The heat and humidity already has me pining for the cooler fall months, and we’re not even halfway through July yet. It’s not just the heat, it’s the insects. All that rain we had around here a couple of weeks ago has helped produce what is probably largest population of mosquitoes I’ve ever seen. And horseflies. And ticks. As long as I don’t stop moving it’s not so bad, but I’m swarmed almost instantly if I stop my bike–and I wear plenty of repellant. They’re like super-mosquitoes.

It’s usually October before we get any really nice cold snaps around here, so I guess I’d better prepare for at least another 10 weeks of the heat and bugs. I’m definitely going to try and plan my next vacation to coincide with one of those beautiful October cold fronts. Fall is my favorite time of year to go mountain biking. I love the first time we get a blast of cool, crisp air after enduring the long hot summer.

Railing corners like this is a difficult, but important skill.

Railing corners like this is a difficult, but important skill.

Well, like it or not the heat isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I’m going to go get a ride in before work (taking along plenty of water and Sport Beans, of course!)

I think today I’m going to focus less on breaking speed records and more on skill building and technique. Fast corning is such tricky thing to master, and I’ve been working really hard at improving my abilities in that area. The feeling whenever I manage to fly out of a corner like my bike is on rails is indescribably cool.

I remember last year riding an intermediate trail called “Twister” at Santos (which is, IMO, possibly the most fast, flowy and fun trail at Santos), and that was the first time I ever truly railed a bermed corner. At the time I’d read a lot about proper cornering technique, and had seen plenty of videos, but I’d never really had much of a chance to practice. On Twister there were lots of bermed corners to practice on, and the very first time I hit one of those corners properly it felt almost magical.

When you see a good mountain biker nail a corner it looks practically effortless, but that’s so deceiving. There quite a few techniques that go into cornering, and everything has to flow together with perfect timing. Of course by the time a great mountain biker gets to the point where he or she is railing corners with ease it actually is effortless for them, but it’s no easy task getting to that point!

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