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sore and satisfied

    Sitting on my couch. Both my knees hurt and I can't bend my swollen left pinky finger. But I'm so glad I rode yesterday. I tried a new variation I've been wanting to do. It's based on a Fortnite dance. I've never actually played Fortnite, and my daughters told me no one does this anymore. But it was still a cool way to jazz up my no-handers.

    I need to work on straightening my arms out, and as I was bringing my hands back to the grips I jammed my pinky really bad. This put a damper on trying it again. But I was just  at the start of my hour-long ride session.
    A couple other guys were out there trying the trick jump, so I engaged the other riders by sternly criticizing their choice in bikes. 

    Both riders were on 170mm enduro bikes. I feel like it's just a common courtesy to inform struggling riders that jumping an enduro on the trick jump is extremely difficult. It's one of those instances in modern american life where opinion can be removed from the equation and the fact remains. Jumping a big squishy bike on a steep jump with limited run-in speed  is pretty fucking hard.
    Of course pro riders could probably jump a DH bike off the trick jump no problem. This is what makes a pro a pro. I have friends who are very capable jumpers out on slopestyle where the jumps are bigger and speed is easier to come by, and they struggle to hit the trick jump.
This keeps occuring at the trick jump so it's worth mentioning, if you bring an enduro you are doing it on HARD mode.
Valmont Park is used by a couple professional training programs. Gurion at 303dirt trains kids to jump and Lee is there for adults.
But my advice comes free.
    So I found myself chatting one-on-one with a 60 year old rider trying to clear the trick jump. He is the third 60 year old I've met this year getting rad. At 49 I'm usually the older rider, so I'm always excited to see just how long you can keep this crazy train rolling. It also adds perspective when a family member or coworker suggests it's time to stop messing around on a silly bike.
    Another thing I found fascinating about this rider was that he started mountain biking two years ago. As a lifelong biker I'm always excited to hear about someone finding the sport and adding it to their life. He was bored with golfing so he started mountain biking and it changed his life. This is an open invitation all current golfers, switch to mountain biking! Then we can turn all those golf courses into trails.
    Anyway, he asked for a critique of his jumping style. I said that he was hitting the jump as if it were an obstacle in the trail, instead of a feature to be used as a tool. It looked like he stayed in the same attack position that works for a rock garden. He absorbed  all the energy of the ramp and prepared himself to case the landing. I offered some more encouragement and advice. Later I wondered if the gopro caught any big differences in our techniques, here's what I found.

Starting deep in the ramp, I'm still knees bent, ass down. I'm holding this compression like a coiled spring. He's already standing.

Leaving the ramp I extend my legs and try to push the bike out in front of me. This is the moment of POP. My ass is still over my seat. He's positioned way  forward almost pulling the bike back to him.

In the air, he's looking at exactly where he intends to case. Getting into attack position.
My eyes are up, I'm not actually picking a landing spot, I just know my landing is 'somewhere on the backside'. Since I'm at the apex of the jump I can pull my bike in, like for a tire grab. Or throw it way out, like a toboggan. Or do anything really, the apex is where the magic happens.

I love jumping so much, I encourage everyone to try it, even with an enduro. I love everything about biking and meeting new riders. Happy Holidays Everyone! 


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