Jim made me laugh as I started to do my video outtro

Due to various reasons, this is the first time I’ve been able to participate in a group ride for a few weeks – and I haven’t been able to ride at home much over the past few months either. So… yeah, my riding is getting rusty and I’m a bit out of shape. It also didn’t help that I was sick the entire prior week with influenza A. Avoid that mess if you can – after more than two weeks, I’m still not back to 100%. Ugh!

We were fortunate to have a dry sunny day this past Thursday, since we’ve been getting some rain lately. Having dry, grippy rocks certainly beats the alternative.

Ryan had to work late, so he arrived a little late. Before he showed up, Jim, Tony and I had a bit of an extended warmup on a couple rocks in the corner of the parking lot. It was still pretty quiet then – none of the soccer crowd had arrived yet. That was a fun time. While the riding was a bit of a challenge – due to a combination of tricky lines, being a bit rusty, and not having warmed up yet – it was a fun time, with lots of humorous banter. These are some of the times I cherish the most from the group rides. And I’m glad we had the camera rolling for most of that time. Most of it didn’t fit in the group ride highlights video, but was perfect for a separate “behind the scenes” type edit.

We also spent a few minutes giving the “horseshoe of death” line a go. It seems so simple, but it can give you a pretty good challenge. In my case, it was a bit of a dumpster fire, but I kinda mangled my way through it. I think that deserves a separate short edit as well, as the full vibe doesn’t come across in the group ride highlights video.

We also spend a good deal of time trying to do a static gap from the edge of the pavement up to the top of a rock that was just close enough to rest your front wheel on while still having the rear wheel on the street. This was also a bit of a struggle for all of us, though Tony finally pulled it off. I can make the gap distance, but not going up. Maybe if I rebuild some of the lost strength in my legs. That and improve my technique. Jim was pretty close to doing it in two-wheel mode. It’s a pretty tough challenge, at least for those of us not at the expert level. I think this little challenge could end up in a separate little video edit as well. I think it’s interesting to see the struggle, and of course with our crew, there is also ribbing and goofiness in addition to the trials riding.

After the gap session, Jim’s aunt and uncle arrived to watch us and chat for a bit. It was fun to see them, and of course to get the reactions to us crazy trials riders doing “stupid stuff” on rocks. Jim’s aunt also asked the perfect question: “how did you guys get started doing this?” Unfortunately the camera was on a tripod and not much of anything interesting (visually) was happening on the video, so I couldn’t really include it in the edit. It might crop up somewhere though. Hmmmm….

Eventually Ryan was able to escape from work (damn late afternoon meetings!) and join us. This week Ryan’s brakes were working, unlike last time, but mine were slipping a bit – I definitely need a fresh rim grind. Shortly after Ryan arrived, Tony had to leave, but the rest of us rode for another hour at least.

Of course Ryan added some style to the afternoon. For example, as the video shows, there was another gap line from the pavement to (the point of) another rock that Ryan made look easy, while I managed to make it look really hard. Reminds me of an interesting point. The aforementioned gap ends on the triangular tip of a rock that faces the street. The tip of the triangle is not a true point, though it is really narrow – just a few inches wide. I referred to the move as trying to gap to a sharp point, whereas Ryan described it as gapping to a flat spot that just happened to be narrow. I was visualizing a point and focusing on what made it hard, but Ryan was visualizing the “easy” part, which was the flat edge of the tip, narrow though it was. While it only lasted a moment (and only part of it is in the video), this is a great lesson in visualization and working the mental game: focus on what you can do, not why you can’t.

We managed to session a couple areas before Ryan had to leave, and then Jim and I carried on for a little while before calling it for the evening, starting with a big rollup onto a boulder. Of course Jim nailed it, with a beautiful hop-pivot on top before side-dropping off again. Then it was my turn. Since gashing my shin open several weeks ago I’ve started wearing shin pads again. I’m glad I did too, or I’d have had another fun trip to the emergency room this week. I messed up the timing of my pedal stroke as I prepared to use my weak (left) foot to lift my wheel for a big rollup, and my right foot slipped off the pedal, which slammed into my shin (pad).

Before heading home. Jim wanted to try another line by the soccer field that I’ve watched him attempt many times while riding here. I don’t think I’ve even seen him finish it, and least not the final part . This week he crushed it, first try!

Group ride highlights


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