17 Comments
Nov 14, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

i tend to ride the same trails near my house often so my sessioning covers multiple days versus redoing a section multiple times on a ride which i do occasionally especially if it’s a section i feel i should have made 🤙🏼

Expand full comment
author

glemak, what's an example of a section that challenges you the most?

Expand full comment
Nov 15, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

it’s usually a momentum tech feature such a rocky rooty uphill section where speed and traction are required

Expand full comment
author

Funny you should mention that type of feature. There's one of those on a trail near me. I've only cleaned it twice in 3 years of trying.

I attempted it 5 times over the weekend. Frozen dirt with loose gravel on top. I got close but never cleaned it. It's now snow-covered so I'll have to wait till next year!

Expand full comment
Nov 14, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

Obstacles I want to get better at or that frustrate me because I stall out or don't do them properly, becon me to try again and I almost always do. I usually do them several times, or until I feel like I have had an improved effort.

Expand full comment
author

John, on a day when you feel your attempts improved on an obstacle, does that improvement carry over to the next time you ride it - days later or longer?

Expand full comment
Nov 14, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

Most of my practice sessions take place at my house or in a nearby bike park and I generally don't session too much in these settings; rather, I work on specific skills like track stands, jumping, basic stance, cornering, wheel lifts, etc. I never used to session too often while riding on trails -- I always just wanted to ride. I'd get a little frustrated at not being able to clear something, but I'd just move on. Now, especially the past year or so, I'll always session something that I can't/won't do initially, but that I'm pretty sure I actually have the skill to do. I keep doing it until I clear it (usually 2-5 times) or realize that maybe I don't actually have the skill/experience to do it safely. Practicing in a controlled setting is so different than what you often encounter on a trail. My confidence increases incredibly when I clear something that is irregular, inconsistent, unusual, etc. And the best part is that after I've cleared it, later in the trail when I encounter something of similar difficulty, I just go right over it without having to session. In other words, I just ride, but without the frustration! Practicing is great to get that "muscle memory" wired, but sessioning is essential for major improvements.

Expand full comment
author

Richard, you wrote:

"My confidence increases incredibly when I clear something that is irregular, inconsistent, unusual, etc."

That's insightful. Can you give us a recent example - what skill did you practice in a controlled setting that you eventually took to the trail successfully?

Expand full comment
Nov 15, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

I think so, Griff. It is often subtle. Maybe it will take 4 tries to clean something the first time, and two the next, and then I clean it first time the next time. Often thereafter I go from cleaning the obstacle 50 percent of the time, on up over weeks to 95 percent of the time. So progress is slow and subtle but consistent.

Expand full comment
author

John, do you understand that progress as an improvement in skill or as an improvement in the consistency of a skill that you already have?

Expand full comment
Nov 15, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

For me, there are different kinds of seasoning.

In regular tech trail riding I often have to work a really challenging feature, just to complete the ride. This gives some sneaky practice.

I have never deliberately sessioned a feature just to practice a skill but, from encouragement on this lab, I am planning to find a section of chicken heads about 100yds long and work on that......trying different strategies.

Expand full comment
author

Rusty,

Does "section of chicken heads" mean a rock garden?

Does "I often have to work a really challenging feature" mean multiple attempts?

Expand full comment
Nov 16, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

Sorry to be ambiguous.

"Chicken Heads" was simply wrong. They are part of rockclimbing, not biking. What I meant was "baby heads".......tho I dislike that term.......all those babies buried up to their necks!

The Baby Heads in question have been eroded by use so that they protrude enough to make regular pedal traps, and to grab the tires at times.........ie.as much a hazard as an obstacle.

They will feature in this program.

I use "Working" to mean multiple attempts but also to add an element of trying out new lines and techniques.......not just finding a way to clean the feature.

Often, just finding a better approach or exit will give the key to a clean run, but sometimes I have to try out a whole different technique or strategy. A different technique might be trying to loft the front wheel more, rather than a quick bump -- to start a technical climb, while strategy may involve choosing to go straight over a drop to provide a clear exit, rather than go round the obstacle and end on a bad line.

In this Lab, I'm thinking of extending "Working" to include going on to a feature to practice a technique.......probably aiming for several successful runs.

"Seasoning" I guess may be all of these.........

Expand full comment
author
Nov 17, 2022·edited Nov 17, 2022Author

Rusty, I love that - Baby Heads!

Your explanation of those two types of sessioning attempts -- lines and techniques-- is helpful.

There's possibly another type: using a slower speed to make an obstacle or section more difficult. Here are two examples:

* I often like to challenge myself by deliberately going slower over an obstacle than I can easily clean at a higher speed. This can take the form of doing a track stand close to the obstacle or pressing my front tire up against it, balancing, and then trying to get over it.

* I also like to challenge myself by seeing how slow I can go down a steep section, pretending that I have to make a 90-degree turn at the bottom.

Are these examples of techniques or something else - maybe 'challenge strategies'?

Expand full comment
Nov 18, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

Maybe "plain dang ornery learning"?

Actually, I like the idea:

First it will allow me to use easy features to try new skills.........we can't always get to the perfect place to practice a specific skill.

Second - it will demand Control.

Control, in a generic sense, must be good. Right? I used to emphasize that.

Although this goes completely counter to what I suspect may be basic ebike technique, and raises the pesky question of ratcheting a torque-controlled motor, there may be something to be said for acquiring non-specific skills? The trick will be not getting the two mixed up.

PS: Did you know that the size of a baby's eyeballs get no bigger as they age?

Expand full comment
author

Yep, control is good - in a generic sense!

As for baby's eyeballs:

https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/eyes-grow

Expand full comment

I think both, Griff. As a skill improves I am able to execute it more consistently. I am also able to apply it in a larger variety of situations which might require on the fly adaptations. Of course, increased confidence also plays a role.

Expand full comment