Having plunged the bike into the dirt a third time, something makes a snapping sound. Feeling dejected, I decide this is probably a good point to dust down and walk away. I don’t like being defeated by an obstacle within my capabilities, but the same error third time in a row suggests it isn’t happening today.
Looking back at it, I was running in to the jump with doubts and on edge. I didn’t want to own it. And that’s where the problem lay. I can be a hard task master and keep forcing myself, but the fine line in attitude is what decides whether you are going to achieve or fail.
Fighting demons is nothing uncommon, some of us have greater battles with them others, it depends on how we have been wired.
I remember many years ago reading an interview from Martin Hayes (Martyn Ashton’s riding buddy and pro trials rider) openly talking about suffering in his mind and how it affected his riding. This was when mental illness was rarely mentioned and was a real eye-opener. He mentioned how trails was 50% mental, 50% physical and how the mental side was letting him down. I could really relate to this.
I’m not sure how the equation stands in other forms of riding, but our thinking does play a huge part in whether we succeed or fail. When we had our bike place (the base), the window cleaner came over once on his rigid bike and nailed a lot of the low skinnies straight-off. The difference was his attitude - he wanted it.
I certainly have learned from it. Maybe we need to be easier on ourselves - monopolise on the good days and take it easy on the bad ones. Confidence is an odd thing, and can be quickly knocked if we continue to push ourselves too hard at the wrong times. Hopefully, that will keep progression fun, as it should be, for the majority of us who ride for the fun of it anyway...