Maintaining flow

Tamarancho always teaches me about flow. It teaches me how trails are built to flow and how I can teach my body to flow. It is my test flow, you might say.

I approach the switchback. Climbing from this angle, the approach is tricky. I choose to swing outside the six-inch ledge grown from a root crossing the trail. The ideal line would take me right over this obstacle. I am not confident enough in my strength to take this line, so I hope my handling skills can help me swing around the tight corner requisite for my chosen line. I turn the front wheel hard to the right. I falter. Unclip and my foot is on the ground before I know what happened.

I did not try sufficiently. My confidence is shaky after the fall ten minutes ago.

Two men emerge from the turn above me. Trailshapers.

Fifteen minutes later the logs and root are gone. I ride the turn with ease and exuberance. My flow is restored. This is one rare case where in a short period of time it is the trail that changes in order to make flow. Most often it is bodies, sometimes bicycles.

Skilled elation

I rode the same trails two days in a row. This particular trail is probably the most technical (legal) riding in Marin county with a few nice rock gardens and numerous tight switchbacks. The first day riding I cruised along in a higher gear than in the past, and made a number of problem areas that I hadn’t in the past. I swung around corners with less braking. In short, I rode more confidently. The next day, I rode the same loop. Faster and better. I found myself giggling and vaguely delirious. I thought, this feels familiar, yet slightly frightening. Then, I realized this was how I often felt running. But now I was going faster. The sensation left my lightheaded, such that periodically I had to stop and catch my breath, or my mind, or whatever part of me it was that seemed not quite in my body. I felt immensely present and yet not quite safe. Excitedly reckless, yet still cautious. This was a new sensation, and I wanted us to get a little more familiar with each other before we took things too far. My skill made this newfound emotion possible, but was my newfound emotion equal to my skill? In short, could my skill keep up with my feelings? Could my reactions match my euphoria? What if I got too excited and just careened into the ravine? Over-enthusiasm can land you in the hospital.

Tamarancho loop

Day one with father and son, Day two chasing two fast men.