Being faster is something we all strive for, I'm sure. Beating a mate to the bottom puts a smile on the face of even the most humblest of riders. I'm just the same. The strive for speed is real and my intention is always to be quicker than last time.
More recently, especially on some of the more gnarly trails, I've been quietly confident with the speed I'm able to pick up. What's not so good is that my mind slows me down. Before I realise, I'm feathering the brakes and killing off all that hard earned speed. Subconsciously, I think I'm worried about crashing. More and more my mind tells me to slow down for fear of a big fall. I think it has something to do with all the crash pictures and videos I've seen recently.
This doesn't stop at speed either. Jumps is something I have a real battle with, especially when they're doubles. The gap between makes me feel uneasy, even if I've just cleared a longer table moments before. Riding for Gravity Clothing Co. puts this at the forefront of my mind. The other riders on the team are insane and seeing their pictures from across the world raise the bar. Being part of a team who push so hard makes you want to do the same.
My mind is not something I want to slow me down, though. My bike skills certainly aren't world class - I'm not claiming that I'm good enough to hop in the Enduro World Series - but I can certainly handle my bike. My issue is my head.
To counter this, I've enlisted the help of my riding mate. The bloke I normally ride with is a top friend and will be totally honest when needed. So, with faith in this, I've asked him to call me out if I'm slacking on a ride. He's seen glimpses of how quick I can ride, before I start grabbing handfuls of the levers, and so I've specifically asked him to remind me to push myself. He's going to be responsible over the next few rides to force me out of my mental block and get back into pushing my skills and speed on the bike. Luckily, he's going to have camera in hand and there'll soon be some more epic shots of me hurling off drops or ripping down trails to share with the rest of the Gravity Clothing Co. gang. And, who knows, maybe I'll inspire them to push harder.