Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pump Track- Why Didn't I Do This Sooner?!

Living in SoCal freakin' rocks. Seriously. It rocks. I think by far the greatest benefit of living here is the rad cycling community which ranges from super cool old dudes who ride up and down HWY 1 every Saturday (You know I'm talking about you Lightening Velo!) to the Laguna Riders mountain bike team of middle school shredders. Plus you have too many women's mtb rides every weekend to do them all, fun/fast road group rides, shuttlers hitting San Juan trail and Laguna... we have everything. 

Somehow I am fortunate enough to have been introduced to an especially rad group of dudes who slay mountain bike trails, and who have both introduced me to some of my heros in the sport, as well as supported my ambitions to race in the Euro World Cups this year to chase Olympic qualification. 

In this group there are a few dudes who have been incredible mentors to me in my progression from a squaky shit show on a bike, to a reasonably fast mountain bike racer, and right now I'm especially grateful for Mike Lee. This guy is rad. He rides with the middle school kids every Saturday, he is always excited and encouraging, and last week he spent a ton of time working with me at the local pump track to start honing some skills to help me shred. 
Mike Lee has been telling me for a while that I need to get serious about hitting the pump track. So I mess around on the track in our neighborhood, it's fun, I wear myself out, go home. But Mike means really work on it, like learn how to get really fast. We hit the track behind Oakley (after signing waivers of course), and he gives me all these things to focus on, one at a time. The first 15 minutes I can ride the track without pedaling, but the more I concentrate on pumping the back side of the bumps, and lifting my front wheel over each one, the more I push into the turns and drive with my feet the faster and faster I get. I also got SO SO sweaty, and my arms and quads hurt A LOT after an hour of riding, but there was a gigantic noticeable difference by the time we left. 
In the beginning of the day, still a little cautious of picking up too much speed.
Great practice for keeping my body low and elbows out.
And then, the best part of this experience for me, on Friday when we did our little team camp shred sesh in Santiago Oaks, I was naturally doing those same things we worked on at the pump track, and I felt SO much faster descending. Like HUGE noticeable difference faster!

So now I'm hooked on skills building through the pump track, and I CANNOT WAIT to go again. And that's my story about the SoCal cycling community, and having rad friends who want to see you succeed, and care enough to spend a 90 degree day helping you improve your skills. I'm so grateful to live here, to be part of this community and to know Mike Lee :)
Thanks Mike also for getting some rad pictures on the day!

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