Sunday, October 23, 2016

Layers of Fear

How do you cope with fear in mountainbiking?

Fear in mountainbiking is an odd thing. I constantly see different behavior regarding fear from the people I ride with, but there is a red line. I see a pattern of behavior. And my general theory is; pretty much everything can be predicted and/or categorized. So here goes; the different layers of fear in mountainbiking. Lets start of with a simple physiological look at what fear is:

Your amygdala is essential to your ability to feel certain emotions and to perceive them in other people. This includes fear and the many changes that it causes to the body. If you are looking down a huge drop, that you haven't ridden before, chances are that your amygdala is very active!

I have categorized fear in mountainbiking into 6 layers and named them;

-The Darwin-award seeker
-The first-mover
-The risk seeker
-The risk calculator
-The risk avoider
-The shell shocked

From the smallest amount of fear, to the biggest amount of fear, lets go:

The Darwin-award seeker
This is the "Bender" of the mtb scene. There are very few of these people, and for good reason; our brain is usually not seeking stunts that can cost us our life. The Darwin-award seeker is often lacking the self-preservation intuition that many of us have. This results in the biggest risk-taking in the sport. The darwin-award seeker does not necessarily have the skills to do the stunts they do. The Darwin-award seeker can sometimes be seen doing things on the bike, what others would categorize as downright "dumb". Oh, should you for some odd reason not know what a Darwin-award is, then go here.

Josh Bender is a good example of a darwin-award seeker. Take this drop he did; the gravel-landing was too soft, and his skills where questionable at best for stunts this size. I wonder; do these people feel fear, but don't recognize danger? Or do these people have a amygdala defect?
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Often results in:

The first-mover
Not only are first-movers hitting big stuff, but they are also the fist ones to do it. This is the Redbull Rampage contender. This is the rider that builds and hits big stuff on the northshore BC, or in some secret spot in the French mountains, or in your local quarry on some sick high-risk line.
The first-mover go in...first. Fueled by confidence and technical skill, where others watch..they ride it. First-movers are often skilled builders as well. They are not without fear and a strong self-preservation intuition tho', the first-mover have limits, but they are way more gray-zoned.

Compared to the bender-drop above, this huge drop from Redbull Rampage is well designed, calculated (takeoff, landing and speed), and ridden by a rider with a very high skill set. However, he is the first one to ride it, despite the danger. Fear is present, but overcomed by technical skills, and confidence.
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The risk seeker
This is the category where most of my riding buddies sit. They definitely don't represent the majority (I will get to that later), but a lot of seasoned riders go into this category. This is the rider that gets thrills by seeking bigger and bigger stuff to hit. This rider loves bikeparks, and the challenges that await there. This rider can look at a big set of stairs, in some urban area, and think "I could hit that with my bike". The risk seeker is never satisfied, there is a continuous search, and need, for something a tad bigger. The risk seeker is rarely seen on a hardtail in tight spandex. They have a strong self-preservation sense, and a comfort-zone, but like to push both things. Fear and danger is flirted with.

So this pic sums up the risk seeker pretty good; Its all about hitting bigger and bigger stuff, new stuff, and a constant need for a self-challenge. All this while still being grounded by the "laws" of fear and self preservation.
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The risk calculator
One thing that spots a risk calculater is that they are never the first one to hit stuff. The risk calculator is often seen walking up to a drop or a jump, inspecting it over and over again; over-analyzing. They talk about hitting stuff, often having an open monolog about stuff they'd hit in the past, or how they can potentially injure them-self in the present. The risk calculator is often standing on top of drops or jumps, thinking, while the mind-fuck corrupts their brain. But please note that the risk calculator can actually be spottet hitting big stuff, and riding high-risk stuff, they just need more time than most of us, they need the time to...calculate.

(Using Jan in this picture is not fair, but it fits the topic.) The risk calculator is often hiding in his comfort zone, and only the right sum of calculations can take him out of that comfort zone. The over-calculation can often be a sign of technical insecurity. Fear creeps into their head, and dominates their decision making. The self-preservation and amygdala is on high alert pretty much all the time.
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The risk avoider
This is the main-stream mountainbike rider. The risk avoider is afraid of pretty much everything. Their fear is only matched by their insecurity and extreme self-preservation need. Stepping out-side the box or comfort zone is a big no-no. Expect excuses from the risk avoider for not hitting stuff, the risk avoider is often self-aware that they are scared of everything, but will not always admit it. The risk avoider often has a very poor set of mountainbike skills, mostly because they never challenge them self, they are often seen to compensate by having a strong cardio tho'. (go ahead and read between the lines)

The risk avoiders are not that hard to spot in the wild..
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The Shell Shocked
We have all been there; failing a drop or jump and crashing. It can freak us out, make us scared, insecure, momentarily destroy our skillset. All that, is what I categorize as being shell-shocked. Fear creeps in and corrupts our minds. The self-preservation part of our brain is going full steam.
There are 3 ways to evolve/devolve from a shellshock state:

1)you get up from the crash, and ride the feature the same day. Shocked, but determined not to be beaten. You get back into your former "fear-class".

2)you temporarily devolve into the "risk calculator" or "risk avoider". After some wound licking, you get back to your former "fear-class".

3)you permanently devolve into the "risk calculator" or "risk avoider".

Shell shocked is a layer of fear that is spawn from a crash. The self-preservation part of our brain is going full steam. Only question is; how will you tackle your fear as a human being? Do you ignore it? fight it? or capitulate?

And so..
So this is my non-empirical observational study of fear in mountain biking. More than 10 years of mountainbike riding with very different people, has taught me a thing or two. There is a red line. In the end, we are all but (somewhat) simple and predictable mammals when it comes to fear. Try taking note of who is who, next time you stand by some new feature out on your trail, with your buddies.

What class do YOU belong in?

Bonus: My thoughts and late night wine-drinking-theory
Fear and comfort-zones can be translated to many other aspects of life, you can use most of my theory in this article to the following:

-Handling of a relation ship
-Handling of Money
-Travel and exploration

However! And this is the interesting part: you can be very risk willing in one area, but absolutely comfort-zone seeking in an other. As an example; you can be a first-mover in mountain biking, driven by the thrills, but ultra conservative (risk avoider) when it comes to relationships, with no needs for thrills whatsoever. This to me is interesting, as I initially imagined that the amigdala in out brain would not differentiate between what aspect of life the fear/comfort zone sets in. But it does. 

We obviously do not have an omni-potent relationship to the challenges we face in life, instead we unconsciously categorize them into segments, each segment is then individually evaluated by our amygdala. This is what makes us into the humans we are. Skål!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

240 frames per second

We shot a little bit of vid, whilst testing a new line.

38 sec with sound

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Happy verbal vomit, with an intellectual touch.

Its autumn, and I shot a few pics, some of them turned out okay, check it out:

Warning, no bike-related stuff, although all shot on bike trips.

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I see you..
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That is all. Pokemon.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Modus operandi

As most of the trails I see, are shitty, with absolutely cringe-worthy design decisions, I decided to re-post my ideas to what a trail-builder should have in mind when designing and building trails.

For all bad trail-builders out there; Wakeup, this is not 2006 anymore!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Making lemonade

Nature shots, gear-shots, and an ass.

Random is random:

I usually have control in this particular drop, but boy did I nearly fuck this one up. Pants changed..
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Seeing wild horses in the nature is a rare sight in these parts, but nonetheless that's what I saw on a recent ride. Awesome!
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I use my experience with rings (ahem) when I install additional progression-rings for my BOS VIP'R 2 shock. The end-stroke is too harsh, and I hope this can make things better.
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Trailside rear-shock switch, this trail demanded a good end stroke-support; Off with the VIP'R2 with the trusty Vivid Air.
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Tightening my spokes on my "belowed" e13 wheels. I hope that they implode into dark matter, that way I have an excuse to buy some other hoops. 
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And since random is random..why not end this post with a nice ass..
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Random! Redrum!

So got a few random shots dialed in, some very new, some a few weeks old, check it out:

Forget all about Rampage, the local trail got everything you need to make you own carved line of "insanity"..(the drop is in the lower left corner)
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Martin on his new YT Jeffsy. Its being tested for air-compatibility ; ) From what we hear its a good bike.
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Jan about to hit the new platform drop. We are still testing its limits, but landing it outside the added constructed transition is definitely possible.
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Karl on his GT, eating a bit of air. (and dirt later on)
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Tom on his now BOS-equipped Capra. And wide rims.
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So that's all for now.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Shoe fetish has come to this: I am an unofficial sponsor of FiveTen I guess.

(I could do the same with my personal collection of 428 toy-trains, but they hang on my wall in my bedroom and living room, and it would take me a lot of time to pull them all down just to show them of.)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Review: 100% Aircraft Helmet

Finally got a lot of riding with my 100% aircraft helmet, and thought I would do a review.
This is the new helmet from 100%, the Aircraft. Claimed to be the most ventilated helmet on the market. This helmet is litteret with vents (25 vents actually), uses aerospace carbon and the air-intake ports at the mouth are huge, this, coupled with its low weight (1006 grams) made me go for this model. And looks like 100% vent all in, even the d-buckle is made out of titanium to keep the weight low. Only drawback; its also one of the most expensive helmets out there. So is it worth the money? Take a look:

The Aircraft helmet features an aerospace Carbon/Kevlar composite shell, and packed with 25 vents.
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This helmet is just beautiful, pics does not make the architecture justice. Here you see the rear exhaust ports.
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I'm not a fan of the d-buckle system, its okay, but I would have preferred a different system, like, say a magnetic system. Btw the D-buckle is made out of titanium, hell, even the hardware is made out of alu.
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The air-intake at the mouth is huge. And one of the selling points for me.
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Ive been using this helmet on extremely hot days in the bikepark, and its surprisingly cool and comfortable considering its a fullface helmet. The mouth port is big, and takes in a lot of air, and I really like that. The helmet is lightweight and non-intrusive with my Leatt Brace. You don't think about the helmet, and that's awesome.
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This is definitely a helmet I would recommend, Its a bit more expensive, but worth it imo.
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The Good:
-Very ventilated
-Very comfortable
-Use it for sessions as well
-Huge air-intake at the mouth

The Bad:
-Im not a fan of the d-buckle system

Score: 5/6

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sorry for the lack of updates..

...but I'm busy repairing my gear.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The platform drop

I don't know why we let us self get mind fucked by this feature in the first place (well I do, and I blame it all on Jan), anyway, we finally rode it and shot a bit of vid as well, check it out.

The platform-drop works better than intended, so we had a blast sessoning it : )

63sec, with sound

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

TIREd data

Tires. Oh do I have a very special relationship with tires (and pedals). For some reason my tires always fail, and this summer has been particular fail-infested. So I decided to gather some data about the tires I have been using this summer, and summarize what went wrong, how it went wrong, and when.
Check it out;

Model: Schwalbe Magic Mary Evo 26" Tyre - Super Gravity 2.25"
Lifetime: 4 Hours
Type of Failure: Carcass rupture in a bikepark
Front/Rear: Front
Pressure: 1.8 bar
Notes: I had big expectations for this tire, to see it fail so quickly is frustrating. This is after all the Supergravity-version, and is supposed to be tough. Ughh, what a waste of money.

Model: Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra 26x2,3
Lifetime: 5 Hours
Type of Failure: Carcass rupture in a bikepark
Front/Rear: Rear
Pressure: 2.0 bar
Notes: Not that surprised - allthough it has the EXO-Protection. Lightweight, and easy to kill. Funny it lasted longer than the DH Schwalbe tire.

Model: Schwalbe Nobby Nic Evolution 4Cross MTB Folding Tire 26x2.25"
Lifetime: 2 Hours
Type of Failure: Carcass rupture in a bikepark
Front/Rear: Rear
Pressure: 2.0 bar
Notes: Man did this tire die quickly, but I was asking for it; bringing a 632g tire to a bikepark is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Model: Michelin Wild Rock'R 2 Advanced Reinforced Tyre 26", 2.35" Magi-X Compound
Lifetime: 10+ Hours
Type of Failure: None yet!
Front/Rear: Front
Pressure: 1.7 bar
Notes: Still going strong, and I have not been gentle.

I actually have one more tire I could have added, but lets keep it sober ; )

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Review: Adidas Terrex Trail Cross 2016

Is this the FiveTen killer?  *shock!*

This shoe probably slipped under your radar didn't it? Well its the Adidas Terrex Trail Cross shoe, the Adidas attempt at a shoe for platform pedals. Im nearing my forth month on these shoes, and here is my review:

Surprisingly stylish. Stiff bottom, a hard toe, and ankle section.
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Note the bottom pattern, finally a shoe that's easy to climb with as well for those session days, even on rainy days. Trail-builders take note!
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813grams does not place it among the lightest shoes, nor the most heavy.
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Adidas owns FiveTen, so they have the right to the Stealth rubber. And this shoe uses the bit more durable stealth rubber, not the self-destructive MI6-rubber found in the new line of FiveTen shoes.
This is after almost 4 months of intense use of the Adidas Terrex Trail Cross shoe, I'm afraid it wont last much longer. Perhaps a month more. So all I got out of theses shoes is 5 months of use, well intense use. I that alot, or is that a tad too little? Well that's up to you to decide.
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The ortholite-sole is not for everyone. When the laces are really tight, the ortholite-sole feels somewhat uncomfortable. I guess it takes some time to get used to, to be honest, I would have preferred if Adidas just used a normal sole.
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Finally a bungee for laces! Mah gawd, we can send freaking astronauts to the moon but can't control laces (FiveTen wakeup!)
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So IS this the FiveTen killer? Well I would certainly choose these shoes over a pair of FiveTen shoes, so I guess they are in some way. FiveTen still got some attractive options, but the Addidas Terrex shoes are a very hard alternative to ignore. Go get these shoes.

The good:
-Great grip with stealth rubber
-Bungee for laces...small feature, but fuck do I appreciate it!
-High quality
-Stiff bottom

The bad:
- The ortholite-sole is not for everyone
- Stealth rubber durability could have been a tad better
- Not easy to find online (?)

 Score: 5/6

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Random Stuff

Random stuff, enjoy:

A bit of air on my Capra.
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Tom enters the tree-gap-club : )
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This is the new 2016 Renthal 35mm bar. I won't advocate the 35mm diameter, so no sales-speech here..
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218 grams for 800mm 40mm rise. Claimed: 225 grams.
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110grams for the 2016 RaceFacce Chester DM Stem. Claimed: 130 grams.
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This is after almost 4 months of intense use of the Adidas Terrex Trail Cross shoe, I'm afraid it wont last much longer. Perhaps a month more.
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Still testing my BOS VIP'R, but I can already conclude this; its inferior to the Rockshox Vivid Air. *gasp!*
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