Sunday, July 15, 2012

The resultant devil of my details

Originally written on 7/13/12:

There are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. For instance, there is the known iPhone app Strava that uses GPS to record your ride and rank you against other riders over known segments. There are the known physical forces that govern momentum, center of gravity, and inertia. To wit, an idiot in motion tends to stay in motion until acted upon by the ground. Then we get into the known unknowns. I know there is a correct line through an obstacle. I just don't always know what it is. And finally, there are the unknown unknowns; heretofore, the province only of amateur philosopher Donnie Rumsfeld. Apparently there is circuitry in my head that thinks changing lines in the middle of a descent is a perfectly reasonable course of action. I'm here (fortunately) to tell you that it's not. I have knots, bruises, and a buggered rear derailleur bent rear dropout as proof. This is not something I thought I would have to guard against, another member of the unknown unknowns.

So what's the common thread here? The competitor in me was trying to break my personal best (and maybe a few other rider's personal bests on Strava). I was really locked in, successfully navigating all obstacles except the creek/tree/rock combo. And when I arrived at the section which dismounted me, the perfect line revealed itself to me just milliseconds AFTER entering the root-riddled spur. One particularly obtrusive root vetoed the late move, sending my front wheel in a direction that body and mind were not prepared to follow. The rest was a series of negative stimuli, a few deep breaths, and a powerful lesson about riding at the edge of one's abilities. The lesson? "Decide, commit, and decide again" has one too many steps. Decide and commit. Period. much does a rear derailleur cost? Steel bends. Steel is good. Oh, I almost forgot. I took eight minutes off my previous loop even with the takedown.

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