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Pushing the Limits... Gently

(Alas, the video is not mine. But it is of the trail I'm talking about, ridden by a better rider than me.)

It's evident that I need to upgrade my skills. My bike handling is... not great. I don't feel confident. I don't feel like I'm locked in, flowing well over technical stuff. So it's time to get back on trails like Chumash, Dead Cow (both up and down), Gaspipe, and anything else gnarly I can get my hands on.

This week it was Chutes Ridgeline, (AKA Old Chutes) at Santiago Oaks.

Oaks, Tentative Ridgeline Descent

This week, I walked the first two gnarly sections, and rode the third. The second is rideable now that I've walked it and seen the line. So the last milestone is the first section of goodness.

(See the video above at about 1:03.) It's a quick series of three rocky step-downs that would be easy individually, but taken together they can quickly stack you up if you drift off line or tense up.

So, the solution is what it's always been for tough sections, whether it's music, climbing, or mountain biking: break it into pieces and work the pieces.

So the next time I head up there, I'll take my time, work the bottom step until I feel comfy, then take the middle step, then link the middle and the bottom, then work on the top, then link them all.

I'm also going to remember to wear an old pair of shorts and jersey that I don't care about, lest I crash and wreck my good ones.

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