“Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda said this to Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back
The whole Dagobah sequence in Episode V is full of great lines and is a favourite part of the whole franchise for many fans, as we watch Luke struggle with his powers and see him fail and refuse to believe he can do it. Yoda is a harsh but calm teacher who watches him make his mistakes, shakes his head when he refuses to listen and eventually lets him learn the hard way that he isn’t ready. #SpoilerAlert (really after all these years?) he duels his Dad who is actually Darth Vader, and has his hand chopped off. Sorry if this was news to you!
Anyway I went to Dagobah this weekend and found some cool jumps! Or was it Endor?
There was a point to this (and thanks Jonathan for the pics btw), and that is that some times is just like that in mountain biking. You can’t try to ride down that hill, or go off that drop, or ride that skinny line; you simply have to do it or not do it. Ok , so the amount of success or pain or mud that ends up on your face at the end depends on some luck and hopefully some learned skills, but basically you have to do it. What I mean here is the “doing it” part doesn’t necessarily mean you get it right, it simply means you have had a good go at it.
But there are some gap jumps and large drop offs for instance that allow for almost no margin for error and I use the qualifier jump on Dai Hard at Bike Park Wales as the example here. Its a proper gap, not too wide really, but wide enough to get in your head and the landing is either on the transition, or well, not! These you simply have to do – 100%. Because 90% might mean a new wheel. 75% a cracked frame and 50% a visit to A&E.
How do you learn to jump something that has such a consequence if you get it wrong? You can go and see Tony Doyle at UK Bike Skills, this will help loads trust me! Then once you have done this, you must go and practice, practice and practice what you have learnt some more until you are so confident you can do it that when you approach that jump at BPW you know you are going to clear it before you even start rolling towards it. There can’t be any doubt.
But while some jumps require a simple black or white approach (watch Red Bull Rampage this weekend and you will know what I mean) there are in reality plenty of places where you can get a little bit grey. A table top is a perfect example.
Find one you’d like to clear and practice. If you don’t make it you’ll land on the top, you can roll it slowly or you can hit it at speed.
Find or even build a jump in your local woods. Now you have control over the height, control over the landing and everything that happens in between.
I only wrote this post so you could see some pics of me in the air! However the jump in the picture was a jump with a lot of grey. You could jump 4 foot or 14 foot and so long as you landed up right you did it. The aim is to land on the transition of course (around 9-10 feet from the take off), but in between is ok too.