Saturday, August 8, 2009


Spent a lot of time of the bike this last week end. With about 105 miles of racing - The State Road Race and The Scout Camp Mountain Bike Race and an additional 45 miles of warm up and cool down - I still had a lot of time to think about this racing thing.
On Sunday we had a long day of Mt Biking on our Plan and to ride to and back from the race at Camp Ingawanis was just the thing for a 6 hour day of steady tempo riding. I'm not fast enough to ride with the experts, but I do - I like the miles and somebody has to ride with them - who wants to live in the sport class for a career. At the Scout camp the Experts had a 5 minute head start on the Sporty guys and some of those racers were bound to catch me before they finished their 3 laps. And sure enough, maybe 10 of the leading Sport racers caught and passed me. Here's the part that I was thinking about. As these guys passed me, I thought - man these kids sure are fast, they are so smooth, it might be time for some of them to move up to the Expert Class, I was never that aggressive, Where are these dudes coming from .... damn there goes another one - I was really impressed with these racers. BUT, near the end of my 4th lap here comes Cam Kirkpatrick, one of the leading racers in the Midwest, and then I knew - there is a difference. Cam was so smooth and fast. He passed me with so little effort that he looked like he was out for a Sunday stroll. These guys at the top of the Pro/ Expert class really are different from the rest of us. Cam was gifted by his parents and has worked very hard to get to the top of his game.
So Cam is faster than I am - I can live with that – a lot of folks are faster than I am. And here’s the second part of my thoughts – why am I getting beat on the dirt by guys I can easily ride with on the road or on much less technical mountain bike courses. It’s about the brakes. They are made for going slow or even stopping – something you should do only once – in a race. I need to work on the technical part of dirt riding. At Ingawanis I did get more comfortable cornering with each lap, but have I got a lot to learn.
Practice, I need to practice. Good to have our Wednesday Night Mountain Bike Rides back on the weekly scheduled,
Look out Cam.


  1. Those dang breaks! Sometimes I wish I grew up on a bmx bike so I too could have the skill not to use my breaks so much.... but it's still fun. Good post John.

  2. Very insightful John!

  3. No Brakes as you famously have said. I take inspiration! Ride on.


  4. No matter how much skill you have or had, if you don;t use it you'll lose it. I rode a few laps last week after work and I must have hit every tree out there with my shoulder on the first lap. By the third lap I was getting better but I sure was cooked. Last year I rode off road at least three days a week. This year, maybe three times per month. Maybe even two times. I am getting better on the gravel but in the woods I am stinking the place up.

    you give a guy like Cam a year off from the woods and you will for sure see a different Cam.

    You're only going to get at riding the terrain you ride.

    Wed nights sure will help. You will see progress every time you're out there. It's fun, like learning for the first time again.

  5. Good memory, Kat. I had just advised Kathleen to stay off the break and trust the bike - let it go. If you click on my picture above you'll see the results of my "no brakes" ride in the mud - I think I got a 10 for that move.