One night after work last summer, I joined my friend Leo for a mountain bike ride up Hall Ranch. Leo is a much stronger and more experienced rider than I am, but he’s also very kind and he never seems to mind riding with me even though he has to downshift several levels for us to stay together.
Unfortunately, the trailhead for the ‘easy’ route at Hall was full. To my chagrin, Leo suggested we head around to the main trailhead, which meant riding up (and down) the infamous Rock Garden.
I found myself battling fear. To understand why, go check that link above.
We rode up this technical section (frequently hike-a-bike for me) and then spent an hour on the beautiful flowing single track trail up on the mesa. Leo’s advice during the uphill and around the mesa was, “practice different skills even when you don’t need them.” He wanted me to develop experience and some muscle memory that could help later when I needed them.
I took Leo’s advice with a surprising result – I actually rode most of the way down! (Slowly!) And I did walk a few sections. But the real consequence of Leo’s guidance was increased confidence, satisfaction, enjoyment, and sense of accomplishment. That, and heavy use of the seat drop feature on my bike.