Saturday, 3 January 2009
This years Royal Insitution Xmas lectures were on computing and on the first programme it showed the basic binary "on" - "off" process. This set me to thinking about all the statements issuing forth from me since my last hospital sojurn from falling off. "Taking it easy" - "screwing the nut", "it's not worth the risk" being but a few.
To say I was anxious about the last two XC races would be an understatement. Funny though how your mind prepares you by letting you think you have "get out" clauses. "Not feeling well", ResQ's and others. Meanwhile you'r charging lights and fettling the bike for racing. A bit like 20 odd years ago when for days I was sharpening picks and sorting climbing gear, subconsciously preparing for a long day soloing big winter routes. I don't think I knew I was going for it until the day I woke up at 5am.
So whats this binary racing ? Last nights XC was on a gnarly course with lots of opportunity for hurting. Each lap had a steep uphill on fire road then onto steep single track on the smallest gears. Up to a dam where the bike is carried steeply up onto the dam wall. Along the dam then the first binary test. Are you "on" or are you "off". Very steeply off into the black hole, where if you touched your brakes you were going to get hurt. It's a race, so you say to yourself "fuckit" and open the throttle and it seems you are an "on" type of person. No halfway measures and no holding back, just concentration and focus.
Through the narrow windy freeride with off camber roots and a drop off onto a fire road then an out the saddle sprint up fire road to keep with the pack. Next section is narrow, steep and off camber with short drops and narrow steep turns with a long back wheel slide then over a drop onto fire road. Then its big gears down to a grass bank then a carry up to the start again and off for another lap. 6 laps later it ends and you're 4th and well chuffed as the front 3 are the best XC riders in the West, if not all Scotland.
So I guess for me I am an "on"type. I either go balls out or I might as well sell my bikes. Like all those years ago topping out after a long solo day, you just have to accept the risk and use skill, focus and for me very importantly fitness to mitigate the risks and consequences. Still - it's scary living with an "on" type of person!