That bit about digging into the ice to turn tighter and faster reminded me of a conversation I had with Aaron after his enduro clinic last weekend. He mentioned that the instructor is able to audibly rip though his turns on flat ground, dirt or pavement. I asked something to the effect of, “What do you push against? There’s no berm,” to which Aaron replied, “He said, ‘You make your own berm.’”
I would like to know the mountain bike equivalent of the one legged outside edge drill so I can do it over and over and over. Because “make your own berm” is the best phrase ever.
I was reminded to write about this by my last post, which I finished by highlighting two really basic things I should be doing better on the bike.
I’ve been playing hockey for almost 11 years now. I’ve spent countless hours on all sorts of impractical stuff. Sure, I can pick up the puck with my stick, but really, what are the odds that I will score a lacrosse goal… ever?
I’m all about mantras, and lately, these have been my mantras on the ice. Short and sweet, easy to remember. I could write an entire post about each of them. Items on the list of reasons behind each one range from “skate to the pass, don’t wait for it and watch it get picked off” to “practice one legged outside edges until it feels natural so you will have the confidence to dig into the ice with the back half of your inside skate when turning, which will allow you to make extra tight turns at high speed”.
How about a short and sweet conversion?
ALWAYS KEEP MOVING – be a better teammate and playmaker
BEND KNEES – be a more stable and efficient skater
BOTTOM HAND LOWER – wield a stronger stick
BLADE SPEED – shoot and pass harder
BODY NOT PUCK – better defensive positioning
EDGES – turn, maneuver, skate better
My biggest challenge is remembering all of them. I generally practice my edges during warmup since that’s my homework from coach John. If I’m skating in open ice I hear the knees mantra in my head. I’m working the hardest on always moving… I’m pretty good about getting open and skating to the pass, but I have a bad habit of stopping to look for a pass when I get the puck, which makes me an easy target. As for the other ones? So many mantras, so little time.
Alternate titles because I’m lazy about writing separate, timely, fully titled posts:
- Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival 2013
- Sugar Showdown!
- Pump Track Pandemonium 2013 (see Pump Track Pandemonium from last year)
- DJ Bike Review! (see DJ Bike Build Part 2)
I guess I should go in chronological order. Hey guess what? That DJ bike I won last April and finished building in October? It rocks!
While it’s prettier than the Malice, I initially wasn’t sure if it handled better. After this weekend, I can safely say that I am totally comfortable with this bike. Time to clean up the Malice and sell it to someone with more time to love love love it than I do.
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Next on the list, Kat Sweet’s Sugar Showdown skills class! I took a pump track clinic with her and Tammy Donahugh at last year’s SCMBF, and was thrilled to see a jump clinic offering this year.
Good news: I remembered to bring my pads! Bad news: I should have brought my shinguards instead of kneepads. While practicing rear wheel lifts, my left foot came up off my super awesome spikey pedal and my shin came sliding down against it. It immediately resulted in a puncture, two scrapes, and a deep gash right in the middle of my shin. It split open and looked like raw meat with a couple white globules oozing out of it. WTH?! I’m told the white stuff is fat. o_O
Coach Lisa did a great job helping me clean and bandage it up right away. I continued with the clinic and went to the first aid tent during our lunch break. They asked each other for gauze that no one seemed to have, then for butterfly closures that no one had either. Finally, they decided to slather some antibiotic ointment into the gash, squish it shut, and put a giant bandage over it, followed by a big piece of tape for good measure.
Ate lunch, continued the clinic. Despite oozing once I started jumping in the afternoon, it felt fine.
Ran into the Cebedos after the clinic. The first thing Cherubin did upon seeing my leg was take a picture. LOL!
Since I was lazy and allowed 4 days to pass before writing about it, I can now tell you that pedal bite sucks, not because having your leg sliced open hurts, but because the contusion from impact feels like freaking skate bite when you try to play hockey.
That said, it’s amusing listening to me walk. I can’t lift my left foot with my shin so when I walk I go, “thump, step, thump, step, thump…” I sound like a peg legged pirate. Arrr!!
Enough about my shin, more about the clinic! I got a nice refresher on berms, which I should document here.
(1) Enter high, exit low.
(2) Pump through the turn. Pusssh!
(3) Bike perpendicular to the berm.
(4) Pedals level. No need to drop the outside pedal.
I got to work on jumping too. I’ve been relying on speed to clear jumps, and while this works some of the time, it doesn’t work when the conditions don’t allow for super crazy fast. Plus, it’s like magic when I see people launch their bikes at low to moderate speed. What are they doing that I’m not?
After many repetitions on both the pump track jump line and the beginner area of the Post Office jumps, I managed to clear some tabletops slowly and smoothly. I can’t yet describe exactly how or why, but I now know what it’s supposed to feel like. I look forward to building on that “feeling”.
Briefly, I do NOT want to:
(1) Rely solely on speed for my jumps.
(2) Try to lift my bike by bending my legs / compressing my body.
To illustrate, I do not want to do what I did here last June:
Sure, it looks smooth, but I should be able to jump with more height and a less compressed form.
Documentation is everything. Here’s an attempt at putting that “feeling” into words.
(1) Don’t pull up with my body straight over the bars. Maybe think about pulling back.
(2) Claw the pedals to pull the bike with you instead of bending your knees to let it rise under you.
(3) The end result is a more upright jump… hopefully with more air and distance.
I did some jumps tonight at Arastradero on my Mojo. It’s hard to compare jumping with full suspension + clipless pedals vs. DJ frame + flat pedals. Felt like I got a lot of air without too much speed, but I think it’s all in my head.
Bottom line is I need to spend more time at pump tracks and jump parks with my DJ bike!
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All right, on to the pump track competition!
Having not ridden much all winter, I wasn’t originally going to compete. But then I looked at the schedule and figured I might as well race if I was going to be there anyway for the clinic. We had a field of 6 competitors, a nice group of spectators, and the same crowd-pleasing announcer as last year.
Mr. Announcer man introduced me as the defending champion from last year. Hello, pressure!
The format this year was a little different: 2 runs of 2 laps each for each of the 6 competitors, after which the top 3 riders each get another 2 lap run to try to lower their time.
The race unfolded in nailbiting fashion. After the first 2 rounds, less than a second separated the top 3 riders. I went into the final round with a 187 millisecond lead. When the #3 rider did her final run, she dropped her time to the fastest of the day. Then #2 went, and she lowered (raised?) the bar by another half second+. Where was I going to find 600 milliseconds in a 27 second race? My turn. I had one shot to win it. I dropped in, pump, pump, pump some more. Berm coming up. Enter high, push through the turn, stay neutral so I can soak up the face of roller at the exit (thank you Sugar Showdown coaches!). S berms approaching, enter high / exit low!, push!!!, crap! too slow, pump!, pedal through the final berm. Pedal, pedal, lap 2! Do it all over again.
I really thought I’d put in a slow and sloppy run. I thought I had come in 3rd. Mr. Announcer got on the mic.
“3rd place…” not me.
“2nd place…” not me again.
It turns out I’d managed to drop 732 milliseconds from my time. I really don’t know where that came from. Adrenaline, perhaps.
Lots of photographers were on hand to capture the action this weekend. That gives me action shots to analyze. Here’s a shot of me riding the first berm on the final lap of my final run, courtesy of San Jose Mountain Biking:
My body position isn’t too terrible; I’m leaned with the berm, centered over the bike, not too stiff, and not too low.
But I still have a couple really basic things I need to do better:
(1) Look farther through the turn.
(2) Cowboy legs.
Just did my first mountain bike ride in almost 11 weeks. I am way out of riding shape and can’t climb to save my life, but I can descend just fine, and even set a couple PRs. I guess you really don’t forget how to ride a bike.
My great-grandmother came by for a visit this morning. Either that, or my brain decided to resurrect her in dreamland, which I objectively think is more likely but refuse to fully believe.
After spending an afternoon searching for her we somehow ended up together back at her apartment. Up close, her face looked longer, with a larger chin, and deeper, close together wrinkles. She also had light blue eyes, and resembled some sort of otherworldly being one would worship. Almost like a moai.
We spent a few moments together. Then, when it was understood that this was a dream, she floated away into the distance, facing me the whole time, her right hand up in a goodbye. I raised my right hand to wave back.
I woke up and thought about the last time I saw her. I’d previously written about how she grabbed my arm when she heard me arrive in the ICU, but not about how she held my hand after settling back into the bed. She held on tight. That’s what I remembered this morning.
Just now, I pulled up this post for a read, some chuckles, a few tears, and this line:
“Her steady, comforting presence. She never said much, but she didn’t need to.”
That’s exactly how it was in my dream. We didn’t say a word, but we didn’t need to.
Lest you think my great-grandmother looked like a giant moai, here is a picture of a picture that my sister sent me. Great-grandma is the one with the stylish glasses. :)
Whatever it was, it started disagreeing with me during the 2nd period of today’s game. Ironically, it was the 1st period that sucked for me game-wise: I ended up in the penalty box twice and “let” someone shoot for a goal against us.
Despite the stomach pain, I did at least score in the 3rd period. It was one of those rare, patient, I-thought-about-this-before-shooting goals. I attribute this to Heidi’s super patient snipe and Aunika’s deke-the-goalie-like-it-ain’t-no-thang goals minutes before. Anyway, got the puck in the offensive zone, skated up and across with a D on the inside, looked up and saw two teammates and no D on the side I was headed, skated farther out a step to buy space, looked up for the gap, and put the puck there. Wowsers!
On a normal day, it would have been “got the puck in the offensive zone and tried to shoot it immediately but it hit the D because she was standing right there.”
Final score: 2-3. Our comeback attempt failed, but at least the other team didn’t score when we pulled the goalie.
Last month, my Galaxy Nexus slipped out of my hoodie pocket and broke its face on the hard concrete of Joe Louis Arena. I grieved for about 10 minutes, then returned to the hotel, I ordered a shiny new Nexus 4.
This is either a review of the Nexus 4 and Android 4.2.2 or a comparison of the Galaxy Nexus vs. Nexus 4, Android 4.1 vs. 4.2.2.
1. The glass back is beautiful, but internet horror stories make me uneasy about dropping it even 2 inches.
2. The Nexus 4′s IPS screen is far less vibrant than the Galaxy Nexus’s AMOLED. Disappointing, initially.
3. Inductive charging FTW!!
1. Snappy and smooth overall.
2. Whoo, speedy camera!
3. Photo Sphere rocks. Both the view from inside and Tiny Planet app are super fun to play with.
4. Lock screen access to the camera and select app is really convenient.
5. They finally got rid of the Browser + Chrome confusion. It’s just Chrome going forward.
6. New keyboard means I can uninstall Swype.
7. Google Now music search (available in 4.1 also) means I can uninstall Sound Hound.
8. HDR setting in camera means I can uninstall HDR Camera.
9. Clock enhancements mean I can uninstall Stopwatch.
In short, I am pleased with the latest Nexus phone and Android OS. I like that they are adding features to the OS that I previously had to install applications for.
The front (but not the back) of the Nexus 4 is supposed to be Gorilla Glass, but after scratching the hell out of my Galaxy Nexus screen I sucked it up and put a screen protector on both sides. So now instead of scratched glass I get to look at screen protector imperfections. Anyone have a screen protector on their phone they really like? Has to look and feel like it’s not there. (A little voice in my head sings “Trojan Maaan!” when I read that last sentence, LOL!)
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I can’t believe I forgot to include this with the original version of this post. I’d been holding off on writing it because I wanted to include a Tiny Planet. I present to you the “Old” San Mateo County Courthouse (as it is known in Ingress), Photo Sphered + Tiny Planeted: