Fear is a powerful and often misunderstood emotion that has some effect on every mountain bike ride we do. The fear we ALL experience while mountain biking varies greatly in intensity from rider to rider and from trail to trail. Most riders think of pro downhill racers as fearless but in my 15 years of coaching them and 19 years of being one I have found that even the fastest pro downhill racers experience fear, on beginner trails! So the idea of “No Fear” is comical at best, we all experience fear and it isn’t always a bad thing ….
Mountain biking can be anything from a really fun experience to out right terrifying depending on the rider’s skills, experiences and perspective. Of course skill is the number one factor in overcoming fear, imagine our students who race World Cup downhills like National Champions Luca Commetti, Mitch Ropelato and Jackie Harmony riding your local trails. I doubt they would be scared of that section that scares you on your local trail (as World Cup Tracks are gnarly!). They have worked hard on ingraining the correct riding techniques so they are riding in balance and in control consistently so while they may have less “nerve” than you they have great skill. I’m not trying to sell our coaching though, here are some ways to overcome fear with the skill you currently possess.
Wow, I didn’t even know about this until it came up in my news feed! BetterRide Mountain Bike School On TV, Again! Not as in depth or as far reaching as our Discovery Channel special in 2004 but cool never the less!
I think almost every mountain bike rider reading this will admit they are not as skilled or as fast as Aaron Gwin, Steve Peat or Greg Minnaar, yet many of us would like to be! Often I hear riders say, “That guy is ballsy! I wish I was as fearless as him!” The thing is Aaron Gwin, Steve Peat and Greg Minnaar aren’t “ballsy”, they are skilled!
Often the best athletes in a sport don’t make the best coaches. I was reading the book Blink the other day and it talked about Andre Aggassi’s advice on how he puts so much top spin on the ball. …. Effective coaching involves breaking skills down and being able to explain them to a diverse group of people. Then the goal isn’t to just convey knowledge but to get the rider to actually do the skill, correctly, in ALL situations …