I can’t let @Shawn McGinnis get away with his efforts unchallenged, so I’ll go longer than him with a random update report! I haven’t really been riding much lately. Combination of a few factors … firstly my right tennis elbow being so painful. It aches up and down the whole arm when it’s bad and even pressing the top of an aerosol spray can is painful. Holding the arm up to this keyboard hurts! But I’m slack, I haven’t seen anyone or committed to any therapy. I have done @Peter Mack's broomstick rotation exercise quite a lot, and also the usual forearm stretches. Today I’m going to set up a bar to do hanging exercises like @Michael Wilson recommended. But I have to admit my motivation has dropped too. Of course the onset of the silly season distracts everyone but even so, the interest in my Friday arvo trials riding sessions has been waning for quite a while. It depresses me a bit that I put heaps of work into clearing areas and arranging stuff for trials practice, and visualizing the guys enjoying this or attacking that really motivates me to keep working on trials-related things … but recently I’m lucky if 2 guys turn up. Sometimes none (like yesterday). There, I’ve said it now (haha). I know it’s a bit needy but friendships are important to me and guys come and go. I’d love to have a good mate just down the road who loves to get together to ride and hang out. I have obligations on the weekend mornings, which is when most guys ride, so I tend to be out of the loop with a lot of riding stuff. As well as that, there’s the collapse of the AMA club structure due to insurance issues. Most of our clubs over here are AMA affiliated, and they’ve been really strong, active and vital, and suddenly it’s all gone and all events are cancelled until an alternative structure is rebuilt. I think a lot of guys feel a bit bummed by that and it’s dropped the overall commitment feel. So I’ve enjoyed a few rides on the enduro bikes out in the forest 4WD roads and firebreaks etc. But being me I can’t resist tackling some of the tougher hills and singletracks, which is really the domain of my annoying Freeride 250R, but the other day I wrangled my Husky 500 up one of the nastier longer hills (which would have been a disaster a couple of years ago) so I feel quite proud of the skills I’ve gained from @Neil Price and trials generally! It seriously does make a huge difference to your technical riding. But my elbow hurts really badly after these rides too. Interestingly, the elbow pain problem affects my riding but probably has some benefits. I can’t jar or pull the elbow too much, so I tend to focus on improving my body movement and timing as well the RPM and clutch, essentially honing the RSG technique, to get the lift and drive with minimal arm effort. It does make a difference. Yesterday I faced up to the highest aspect of my intimidating “El Capitan” rock and made sure I was slow and close, and really amplified my squat and go, timing the stand and clutch drop, and pulling up on the bars and pushing out on the pegs … and man I nailed it. My best ever I think. Straight up and on top on the back wheel and typically, it felt easy and not dramatic! (it does also help that things are very dry and grippy unlike 95% of this last year!) I don’t do much hop practice as I think it's the worst thing for the elbow but when I do, I really relax the arms and try to do the work with the suspension and legs, so that’s good training I’d say. But I find doing the punch technique much harder at the moment, particularly at the cut end of sizeable logs. Psychology is weird - when you get de-motivated, you often think you should just get out and have a ride, but then you find ways to avoid it. Janet actually said to me late yesterday arvo that she'd take care of things and I should have a bit of a ride. I really didn't feel like it. But I geared up and started pottering around and quickly those trials endorphins got into the bloodstream and all apathy was forgotten. Honestly it was great, and I got off the bike feeling massively better. I’ve continued to practice @Neil Price's recommendation of “lift and drop the front onto a rock using clutch and holding the throttle constant” and I’m getting more comfortable with it. Interestingly I think it’s cross-training me to ride better in lumpy stuff generally. We have a small hill of rocks excavated from our house site, which we call “Mt Bellthorpe”. It presents some challenging lines and yesterday I focussed on riding up and over various lines, holding sustained RPM and feeding it out rather than whatever it is I normally do (throttle and clutch I guess). Wow, I was impressed … to be honest at times it felt like a magic carpet ride over lumps that usually catch me out. After watching Neil’s bar position video I noted that mine were very forward. Being a tall guy when I got the bike I thought it was logical to “open up” the body position but I was happy to follow Neil’s advice, so I rotated them back a bit. I didn’t measure, but I guess 1.5 to 2 cm back at the tips. I could feel the difference at first, but it wasn’t weird and I quickly decided I reckon it’s a better position overall – I like it. But I do have a bit of work to do on the bars in the shed now … after dropping the bike off a high log onto a rock yesterday they’re now bent!

Posted by Andrew von Berky at 2022-12-24 03:12:09 UTC