the snake. focus

So today I got my project trail. This trail went from being an impossible joke to being a project about a year ago. It became a serious project about 10 months ago. This friday I am moving away forever and I was still hanging tight at 1-4 dabs per pass. The dabs were always in different random places, but persistent. The trail has almost no rest and I can get down it in about 15-25 minutes of intense effort. I was really thinking it just wouldn’t go for me. Until just half an hour ago when I sent it.

Today seemed like a very improbable day. I haven’t been riding at all in the past week. Moreover I went climbing this morning and was tired from that. This afternoon I went riding and debated whether I should get on the trail or enjoy a break from it. Despite it being in the middle of a very intense ride, I decided to give it a go despite feeling a little shaky on my hops and not very strong. I wasn’t expecting much and crashed after about 100 feet. It was still before my retry line so I hiked back up to the access double track while calling myself a fricken idiot. I started in this time and I noticed my focus was as good as it has ever been.

Normally when I try to focus, I end up focus ing on focusing and not on riding. And it doesn’t work. In fact even if I start with strong focus I eventually realize that I am really focused and that noticing the focus distracts me from it. No today was one of those days where you are completely in the moment. I abondoned all thoughts of how far have I come, how many difficult sections are left. I didn’t think “whoa! I almost fell just there!” As soon as I cleared something it was forgotten. "I never thought “Oh! the tricky double hop log is coming up in 100 feet. I always eat it there I need to start preparing myself.” No I just stayed in the moment. I have ridden this trail hundreds of times. There is nothing to prepare myself for. I have lately been falling in really stupid places. I think it is because I relax my focus in the recovery sections and get bitten by stray rocks. Today was different, I was right there looking at what was just ahead . I was so zeroed in on the ten feet in front of me it felt like a direct stare at a rock would have caused it to split in half. By the time thoughts of the big picture even flickered into my head I was through the most draining and difficult parts. I became aware of the focus and pushed aside even that awareness. I started riding tighter and safer than usual but was careful not to get to tight. Sometimes my mind gets in the way if I am trying to do something I perceive as great. It won’t let me succeed. I fall on something dumb. I have felt good enough to get this trail for quite some time. The mental toughness required has never quite been there for long enough though. This send could not have come at a better time. This trail had been third on my list of long term extremely important goals. 2nd was grad school which is now done. 1st is finding a THE girl. It is still sadly in first place. Second is now to stop sucking at the guitar. Which may help me to realize 1st.

Thanks for everybody’s posts over the years. It is important with a sport like this that there is a way for us all to communicate and stay motivated I think. Thanks, Gilby for this site! Thank you tastykake for cheap and yummy pastries!

Wow, congratulations Chris! I’ve got a similar style of goal that I haven’t yet achieved; riding down a track called No. 9 in one go. So far I’ve done it in about 5 sections, but not yet all at once. You don’t have any photos of your track do you? It sounds pretty extreme.


Congratulations, Chris! Bloody good description, too.

Re: the snake. focus

Wow, great write-up, and one that motivates me to go back to my current uni nemisis…the stairs at gasworks park. But the quote above seems to have some air of finality. Hope I’m reading that wrong. You’re not leaving us, right??? We depend on your rational, analytical balance, and ability to see the underlying physics of this fairly “experiential” sport. Plus, I never would have bought my Hunter if it wasn’t for your write-ups… :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, I had a feeling that I helped sell a lot of hunters. My analysis was wrong, but my opinions are the same. One of these days I will do a numerical stress analysis of the frame. Anyway, thanks for the compliments, everyone. I’ll still be around; just at peace… until the next uni challenge jumps up and bites me. Or until unicycling physics rears it’s ugly head in this forum. :astonished:

Andrew. you have seen pictures and replied with pictures of No. 9. It looks sick! Good luck with it. Mine wasn’t so much extreme as just endurancy once I learned the moves. It was all about getting efficient and concentrating for long enough. In the photos I didn’t even wear shin pads because I was just out that day for the pictures. There was seriously no chance of falling on something unless it was during a full up attempt.


I have challenged myself to ride a trail with no dabs and no rest stops. I have since stopped setting that type of a challenge for myself because it makes the ride less fun and changes the way I ride the trail. When I’m trying to ride the trail with no dabs I ride very conservatively which takes away much of the fun. I prefer to rate the ride based on a “fun quotient” rather than number of dabs. “Fun quotient” is hard to measure (unlike dabs) but you know it when you got it. When riding for maximum fun quotient I’ll intentionally ride up and over roots, take the harder line, go faster over the stutter bumps, etc. When riding for no dabs I ride more slowly and don’t take the harder line on the trail.

However, I have started doing something even more sadistic. I’m now timing myself on the uphill climbs and counting the dabs and rest stops on the climbs. :slight_smile:

Oh yeah, I remember now. That’s awsome to make it all the way down…congratulations. I’m not sure which photos of No. 9 I showed you back then but here’s the most recent batch…