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Great rides to not so great rides

We all have those days where we feel invincible, unstoppable, and down right pro; conversely, we all have those days where we feel like we’ve never seen a bicycle before and need to put our training wheels back on. Let’s focus on what contributes to those days of being a hero, hash-tag GoPro? Is it something in the air? Could it be magnets in the ground that keep our tires planted even through the roughest of corners? Could it be the steroids in the hamburger we just ate, or the adrenaline in the last beer we drank? It could be all of these things, but chances are it is not. In reality, it boils down to a few unknowns, some fundamentals, and the sheer awesomeness of being on your bike.

Let’s hit on some of the fundamentals. There are two primary machines working in unison, when they synergize optimally, you feel like Aaron Gwynn in Wyndham. The biggest player will be your body that relies heavily on fitness, fineness, and technique. Our buddy Lee McCormick from Lee Likes Bikes has been a huge mentor to some of the top riders both locally and nationally to help with the technique aspect of riding. Fitness can be obtained from hash-tag crossfit, eating massive amounts of steroids, racing ghost people up hills with hash-tag Strava, or just working hard to play hard; all are admirable to a degree. Fineness comes from a calm, collective, and confident state of mind; in other words don’t force it. The most controllable machine that plays into your most epic of days is your bike. Don’t neglect it, change your chain, replace your derailleur cables, true your wheels, but most importantly SERVICE YOUR SUSPENSION. Yes, your bike was expensive, no its not maintenance free, your car isn’t either. Your suspension is the main player in keeping your bike on the ground while maintaining speed and keeping you upright, it will also protect you from a lot of orthopedic surgeries. Suspension isn’t just about the squish, or the prestige, it is about railing a corner going thirty miles per hour without being thrown out of the rut by the brake bumps, it is about preloading perfectly to clear that natural double in the middle of the trail, and skipping through the gnarliest of rock-gardens that hikers skin their knees in. If you don’t pay attention and service your suspension you won’t have these sensations. Instead, you feel like you are pogoing down the mountain, losing control in the corners, blowing over the tops of the berms, getting bucked off the lip of a jump and riding out the scariest nose wheelie of your life until you finally give in and hit the ground with your shoulder causing your next A/C separation. In more technical terms, suspension allows your wheels to maintain as much ground contact as possible, facilitating traction, and controlled speed. Without it our bicycles would literally be skimming across the tops of all the rocks and bumps on the trail, making it nearly impossible to accurately turn or even slow down for that matter, just look at videos of mid ‘90’s downhill races,, scary $h!t. So next time your hear that slurping coming from your rear shock, or even take your bike in for its next tune up, ask yourself when was the last time I serviced my suspension?

Now, thank your suspension for the decreased number of crashes. It is not only making you a hero, but also keeping you alive. Your suspension should be serviced at least once a year. This will not only keep it working well, but also save you money in the long run. Don’t wait until you see scoring and wear marks on your fork, or fluids pouring from your rear shock, at that point it may be too late and extra investments may be necessary. Give the guys at Dirtlabs a shout; they would be happy to help.

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