Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I don't train, I practice

I often get asked how I train for long cycling events, things like Paris-Brest-Paris or the Great Divide Mountain Bike Race. My answer, which I went into in some detail in David Rowe's ebook, The Ride of Your Life, is that I don't train, I practice. Today, I went out and practiced with my new Monocog Flight 29er. It's a short trip, only 83 miles, but the little trips add up and are where I learn what I hope I'll need to know for the longer trips. Later, I'll add more weight to the bike in the form of camping gear and extra water bottles but for now it's fun to run with a light bike on familiar trails.

Today's route takes me east and up into the mountains to a place I call Boiling Frog Road. The bike feels great and I'm seeing why 29er enthusiasts are almost as annoying in their zealotry as recumbent riders. I'll have to work on not being one of those 29er preachers. I need to get one of those "Nobody Cares About Your 29er" shirts. For the record, the only problem I'm having with the 29 inch wheels is remembering not to carry too much speed into the turns. It's easy to get the Flight wound up to about warp 8 and those big wheels like to keep going the way you point them. On a little wheeled bike, I tend to go a little slower and I can snap the bike a bit more at the last minute. I've already got my reflexes so they are 99% 29er and I that last percent is coming along nicely. Heck, I've only ridden the bike for a couple of days!

I also practiced another Great Divide skill, taking pictures of my bike leaning against all kinds of stuff and photographing the weird or pretty stuff I see along the trail.

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson


Jack and Raquel said...

Great pictures. It's the weird stuff that makes life interesting.

Happy trails, Jack

fatbob29r said...


Nice little "practice" route. I especially liked the old train... steamer or coal?

Unknown said...

Hi Kent.

I really like how you see it. Today, i practice instead of training too. I am not as fast but i have lot of fun!

I am happy you do the GDR again. Last time bring great reading for us. I am sure it will again. I find pretty interesting when you write about your bike and camping setup. Keep taking picture too!

Bob said...

Hey Kent,

You need to start practicing the Mary Metcalf Method of holding the camera at arm's length so you can get shots of your head in interesting places along the route.

Any concerns about the dearth of 29r tubes/tires/rims along the route?


jim g said...

Kent, you should bring that bike down to SF and ride this with us this weekend!


Anonymous said...

Your post reminds me of the distinction that good musicians make between practicing and rehearsing (I was first wised up to this by the late, great session player Tommy Tedesco).

Practicing is strictly the intensive development of technical skills. Playing a piece through is rehearsing to perform it.

In that sense you are not practicing, but rehearsing.

The difference between a Master and the Eternal Intermediate is that the EI wastes too much time rehearsing, mistakenly thinking of it as practice, misdirecting his efforts at improvement.

Masters, on the other hand, need very little practice, having already acquired the necessary technical skills through training.

The implication, Sir, for what it might be worth, is that you are a Master of your art.


FixieDave said...

You won't have much trubble finding 29er tubes/tires along the divide.... 90% of starters this year were rocking 29ers.... I like it Kent Practice not trainning!