Use the Force. Actually, donâ€™t. Neil Price doesnâ€™t. Instead he uses the requisite amount of throttle, clutch and brake.
Are you alone? Are you sitting by yourself in a quiet, dark place? Are you somewhere where the dim glow of your shame won't alert friends or family to your pain. Are you far enough away from your mates so as not to cause them fright when your ego bursts? Only when truly ready are you, read on you must.
Raise your left hand if you think you ride fast. OK. Raise your right hand if you truly, honestly and deeply know that you don't ride fast at all. Now, put your two hands together and pray for guidance and salvation.
In your mind, you are flowing from corner to corner; you push hard out of a berm or a rut on a tight right-hander and then you pin the apex and power slide out of the next sweeping, off-camber left. You wash off your speed to perfectly top-out a set of whoops that came out of nowhere and then you crush your pegs to compress your suspension and launch off a small kicker to clear a rocky creek bed. You are on fire. You are 'smokin'.........and then you get smoked by another rider that passes you as if you were standing still.
You are where I am; you know what I am talking about. Deny it no longer you will. The cold, hard and brutal truth is that most of us are not nearly as good as we think we are and few of us are anywhere near as good as we could be.
Like a scene out of Top Gear (an analogy that won't make any sense unless you are a fan) my mates left me stranded at the starting gate on the opening 65 km loop of the Ironstone Capel Adventure Rally in 2017. Fair call. No surprise, but my bike wouldn't start....again. I didn't check time, but they had one hell of a head start. I was not at all fazed because, although we are all equally adept at riding, I am fitter, and I knew I would catch them as fatigue ate into their ride.
By the 45 km mark I was convinced that I must have passed them because I was riding just so damn well. I was flying. I expected to be back in Park Ferme with my feet up in time to watch them roll in totally flogged out, but this did not happen. When I arrived they were already back, off their bikes and out of their gear. I was crushed. It was not that I wanted to beat them; it was because I, quite obviously, did not ride anywhere near pace that I thought I did and, I believe I now know why.
I am a two-stroke squirter. That does not sound at all flattering, but it does describe how I ride. I squirt from corner to corner and from one obstacle to the next. I look 'at' corners instead of through them. I see an obstacle as an obstruction rather than just another element of my ride. I get brain fade because my hazard perception is so poorly calibrated.
I get tired, not because I am unfit, but because I am not bike fit. And when I get tired my ride turns to custard. Such is the psychology of enduro. When you lose confidence, you lose competence; when you get rattled you get riled; when you are suffering you are slow and riding slow is harder work than riding fast.