It’s that time of year again to purchase a new $80 OHV permit to ride at Croom until June 30, 2018, thanks to the Florida Forestry Association.
With summer in full swing and just a few weeks until my riding vacation in Colorado, I decided it was time to crank up the focus training. So, I hit bikram at 8 a.m. last Sunday before putting in a 20+ mile “trail ride.”
Since breaking my arm in February, I’ve been slow to find my race pace again, but I’ve been patient, not wanting to ride over my head or with a group where I might lose focus, following the crash that ended my enduro season. (I still finished second in the Women class with 5 finishes – 6 attempts – out of 9 races.)
These last few months I’ve been thinking about what I need to work on to achieve perfection in my riding. My dad wrote in an email to me a few months ago: “You have the skills. You have the strength. You have the bike. All you need is to ride with pure focus.”
I’ve been reading and listen to leadership podcasts, soaking up as much knowledge and psychology from industry thought leaders. I returned to my bikram practice and I continue to meditate on my intention to achieve peak performance. The faster I am on my motorcycle, the stronger and more aware that I need to be mentally.
“Everyone’s actions and reactions directly reflect the development of their mind,” Eddie Rose said.
This past Sunday, I pulled into the mostly-deserted park after 12 noon as temperatures climbed past 90 degrees, and was expecting to put in another 20+ miles solo, but I ended up parking next to the “Melka Man,” an expert road racer and A class woods rider who knows the forest and all of the secret singletrack to tour me (and one of his road race buddies) through. We burned up a few loops at a solid clip around a small turn track cut into the woods with me staying close to his back tire – not that close – until I smoked my rear brake and had to pull over and rest. They continued while I watched and waited to get going again.
The mere act of following someone usually prevents me from excelling – as a child, my dad would always make me lead. “You’re faster out front,” he would say. But riding behind Melka, I found pure focus in trying to mimic his style. He rides his dirt bike like a street bike, staying smooth off the pipe, swinging wide around corners and hugging the outside through the turns. I’m more of the coming-in-hot on-the-inside type, throwing my body into the apex and dropping the clutch.
At one of the breaks, Melka’s friend, who had been following me the whole time, asked if I grew up riding motocross. “Your body positioning is like a night and day difference,” he said comparing me to his friend.
We drilled lap after lap, and I wound up feeling more relaxed as the miles wore on and using minimal effort. I wondered if it was because I had found my focus earlier at bikram. Either way, I was more sensitive or conscious of my connection to my machine, and that meant no crashes!