including the thing you are most scared about on the bike; and for me that would be: skidding out in a turn and crashing.
we were pre-riding the new usgp course today with a bunch of teammates and it was great. i had all my new-found-at-harbin-park confidence up my sleeve and felt pretty good. i was thrilled to find that it wasn't just a one day confidence anomaly; there wasn't any of that ever present holy-shit-what-sort-of-danger-lurks-around-that-corner-fear. i could just ride. we were hitting the laps hard: doing the sandpits over and over, practicing the run ups. i was practicing reaching down for the downtube and shouldering the bike. i finally found the right line going into first not so sandy pit. i was practicing not using my brakes, although because it was slightly dewy out and we had been through the sand a bunch of times, lets just say the brakes were a bit noisy & everytime i squeezed them my husband would yell i can hear that! get off those brakes! damn that noisy sand caught on my brake pads.
so we do about a bunch of hot laps. and drilled the tougher obstacles over and over. and then a little bit more.
and then, we did a cool down lap. but really, everyone else's "cool down" lap is a medium lap for me. so as far as i'm concerned, its still fast. so i'm totally proud of myself as i go into a turn without braking - the turn went from grass, onto a sidewalk onto grass again, into a sandpit. so you wanna be going fast and have a little speed going into that little pit. but i was too wide - off the sidewalk a bit, and didn't even really realize it until i was down - when i turned to get back on the sidewalk, i hit the tiny curb and there was nowhere to go but down.
i've crashed a bunch of times on this course. more times than i can count - but its always been an easy spill over into the sand pit, or a slo-mo fall into pricker patch, or up steep hills on a too heavy mountain bike. this one was at some speed. and it happened so fast that i forgot to TUCK! which is the thing that i learned about when i googled what to do in a bike crash when i started racing this spring. -really, i totally googled that. and so instead of tucking, i landed on my elbow. which hurts. and i wanted to cry but i don't think there's any crying in cross. but my pedal made a really cool big scrapy mark of a dig in the sidewalk. and my leg was bleeding too. and apparently, a trickle of blood down the leg is a very desireable and badass thing to have in 'cross (cause everyone seemed pretty pleased & impressed) as is leaving your mark on the sidewalk and having your shifters scraped up a little bit.
so there. i got that whole skidding out in a fast turn onto hard pavement thing out of the way. and lived to tell the tale. which is good. cause the fear of what happened today always held me back. but now - been there, done that. don't need to be afraid of it anymore. it was an awesome practice on all kinds of levels.