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Resolve to Be a Better Mountain Biker

Set realistic mountain biking goals for the year

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Resolve to Be a Better Mountain Biker

Be a better mountain biker!

philxthomas via Flickr
I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions. I’ve tried in the past and have sufficiently failed in my attempts. (Like when I resolved to never eat fried food again.) Perhaps if I set more realistic goals, I’d be able to succeed.

This year, I did just that. I set mountain bike-specific resolutions that I feel certain I can attain throughout the year—with the objective to become stronger and more confident on my bike. If you haven’t set any mountain biking goals for yourself this year, take a look at this list and work towards becoming a better mountain biker yourself.

Keep strong in the off-season. It’s a cold, snowy winter wonderland outside my house during the shortest, darkest days of the year. While these conditions make for epic fat-tire rides, once I light the woodstove, it makes it awfully hard to leave the house. Sometimes I’ll abandon my cozy, warm quarters for an exhilarating, moonlit mountain bike ride. Most times, though, I don’t. My new plan of attack is to work out inside. I’ve never been one to “exercise” in the normal sense of the word—my idea of exercise is riding my bike. I realize now that I need to change my way of thinking if I want to feel strong on my steed come spring. I’ve started an early-morning fitness routine that I hope to continue until the snow melts.

Master a challenging section of trail. One of my weaknesses on the trail is riding over larger than average blow downs. I’ve talked about becoming proficient in this area for years. This is the year I’m going to follow through with it. Sure, practicing on actual logs on my local trails is ideal, but it’s not always practical. The abundance of trails and group rides in my town means that I can go a few weeks without riding the trail with obstacles I find challenging. I’m going to practice instead with the multitude of cut trees in our yard and massive logs in our woodshed. I’ll also request the help of someone who excels in this area. Mastering this skill will help me feel more confident on my bike.

Take part in a race or event. I used to race quite a bit. And then life took over. In the span of about two years, I quit my full time job, built a house, moved far from my hometown and got married. Racing took a back seat. Forget the back seat. It was hidden in the trunk. This year, I’ve set my sights on three local events and penciled them in on the calendar already. Having something to work towards later in the year keeps me motivated to stay in shape all winter long. I also enjoyed meeting new people at the various events and races I attended, and look forward to making new mountain biking friends this coming year.

Be more confident on my bike. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I want to exude confidence on my bike this year. Too often, I find myself taking the rerouted trail around an intimidating obstacle when I know I can ride over it. Or resuming my position in the back of the pack, when I know I ride stronger than half of the group. The thought has even crossed my mind to join the faster weekly group ride. What’s the worst that can happen?

Show my local trails some love. I ride my local trails a lot, and far too infrequently I take part in trail work to maintain their glory. There’s no excuse why I shouldn’t do my part. This last resolution is straightforward. I must get out on the trails more often with proper tools in hand to preserve their magnificence.

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