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Getting Slower after coming back to riding

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So, I started riding a year ago, after 10 years off. 10 years ago I was 20 years old and a decent middle of the pack A rider. To give you some history I started riding at 11 on a Honda Z50, then jumped to a KX80 that I raced until I was 15. I stopped riding at 15 (i was pretty damn fast on an 80) and didn't ride until I was 19. I bought my dad's KX250 from him and spent half a season in the B class before I got moved up to A, where I raced for a year, then stopped riding. When I got back on at 19 I never really had to try. I was just fast.

Fast forward to me being 30 years old and riding again. A year ago when I first got back on a bike, once the muscle memory came back, I was flying. My conditioning was lagging but the raw speed was still there. Over the course of the past year though, I have gotten SLOWER. My conditioning has returned as well as my strength but my raw speed has vanished. I find myself thinking about things as I ride that where always unconscious. "Look ahead, weight the outside peg, body position" everything. These things just happened before and were happening when I first started riding again, but now I have to think about them. Guys that I rode with when I first got back into it that I used to walk away from now blow my doors off.

Just curious if anyone has had this problem. I am going to take a month off to reset, then go out and avoid trying to work on things, just go out and try and "not think" and just focus on going fast. I know I have the speed, I know how fast I am. I am just super frustrated and it has gotten me to the point where riding isn't fun. I love to ride, but in order for me to have fun I have to feel good about my riding and be flying. I am not doing that right now. Any thoughts or help would be appreciated. I thank you all who took the time to read this long post.

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Ive had that happen from time to time, usually when I focus on one area of my riding such as corners. Instead of just putting my head down and charging through them I often find myself concentrating on the exact things that you mentioned above and tightening up my body... and it really really shows on film. I wish I still had those vids to show you exactly what Im talking about.

I have a feeling that is your issue too... when you were young and when you first got back on the bike after your time off you just went with the flow, letting the bike and body do the work without thinking. Once you started nit picking and singling out specific areas of your riding to work on they got much slower because youre thinking about what your going to do before you do it rather than just letting your body stay natural and carrying your raw speed through those obsticles. Thinking takes time and it will show in your lap times, when your flowing and smooth you will notice how much faster you really are.

Edit: Sorry but I was debating on whether to add this or not as its apples and oranges to watch a pro rider and compare but I feel that this will give you a pretty good example of what Im trying to say. If you watch a rider like RD and CR they are what I refer to as calculated riders... they are smooth and technical using perfect form and staying as "by the book" as possible. Then you watch guys like JS and RC who just leave their bodies extremely loose and went with the flow, letting the bike do all the work and going along for the ride. If you notice they are all over the bike and never the same from lap to lap. Then you have guys like RV who are the perfect mix of the two... loose but technical and hold their good form. Hope that makes sense.

In other words just go out there and stay loose and I think you will find that your speed will instantly come back. One trick wrks well for me is to ride with someone quite a bit faster than me and try to keep their pace for a few laps. I very quickly quit worrying about anything but keeping on their rear wheel. All thoughts of form and technique go out the window. I think its rather vital in gaining any speed.

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I am just super frustrated and it has gotten me to the point where riding isn't fun. I love to ride, but in order for me to have fun I have to feel good about my riding and be flying. I am not doing that right now.

I have exactly the same problem. If I'm unable to churn in my 110% riding on the edge laps, I don't wanna ride, I'd rather go home.

I'm actually in a similar boat you are in. I took 2 months off from riding because I was waiting for new medical insurance to kick in. Prior to that break, I was going the quickest I had ever gone, things were really clicking. I got back on the track and my first day was crap because the track had changed dramatically and I had done some new work to my bike. But once I figured out the track and the bike, then tried to put in some serious laps, I still wasn't able to match the pace I had only 2 months prior.

I was very frustrated and after a few more days of riding and not going any quicker, I started analyzing the video footage I had captured during those rides to see what was wrong. After remembering the day and watching the footage, I concluded that I never got into the rhythm. When your outside of the rhythm, your speed will drop off tremendously. Sometimes you're trying so hard to go quick, that you assume you're in a rhythm, but in reality you arn't.

So, how do you get back into the rhythm?

Everyone is different. What I do is find the quickest guy on track, get in front of him by about 20 bike lengths and have him push me. Within a few corners, I'll magically fall into the rhythm. It works every time and when I was out there a few days ago, again trying hard to find that rhythm, I finally gave up trying to make it myself, I did exactly what I said above and blamo, in I went and my laptimes decreased substantially. All I was thinking about was what I was gonna have when I got home for dinner and how old the guy chasing me down was! LOL :lol: You know when you're in the rhythm when you can ride balls out and not have to think about your riding at all. That is the key, that is how you go quick and because you KNOW to ride, I believe thats your problem. :)

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I slow down if I am trying too hard as well, I am almost 40 now, the older I get the faster I was, lol..

I ride every week and mostly Desert and some track and used to race a LOT, been a while though but I did race the D38 Nationals a few years back.

I agree with rhythm, if its off your wont be fast and your working extra hard and get frustrated...been there done that.

Have you ever tried listening to music while riding, sounds funny but it can actually "help" you find rhythm, different for everyone, but I find myself going even faster with my earbuds in sometimes, I guess its just that feeling you get when you hear something that motivates you and also has a tempo to somewhat follow.

Some may say BS, but I can say it CAN work, I swear. Its worth a try at least, right? But everyone is different what works for me may not work for you...

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I know I was a lot faster when I didn't have to worry about going to work the next day and wondering how I would provide for my wife and kids if I was to get seriously injured.

Just sayin'...

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Any chance you're riding too much? Sounds crazy, but I used to ride after work most Wednesday's. It was exhausting adding this to my 60 hour work week, where I already had a tough time squeezing in cleanup/repairs/prep for the weekends practice and races. It took so much effort that it started to not be fun, and when I'm not having fun my lap times go up which makes it even less fun.

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I know I was a lot faster when I didn't have to worry about going to work the next day and wondering how I would provide for my wife and kids if I was to get seriously injured.

Just sayin'...

That's the thing with us guys getting older.. When we are young we are all balls and no brains, as we age our brains come into play and we start to think about stuff instead of actually just getting it.

I've had the problem recently, too much thinking when riding, thinking technique, thinking speed, thinking not to get hurt, analyzing while riding... So much thought about getting hurt and technique that I actually shorted a jump and ruptured my quad tendon...

When you are out doing practice drills and such, use your brain and study and analyze... when you are riding and racing, let your body take over and everything will fall into place.. under a stress situtation your brain will take over and do what it's suppose to. Run senarios throught your head when not riding... and then ride to have fun and relax... you brain will take care of you..

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Thanks for all the feedback guys. I'm going to try a little bit of everything. Going riding too much is a possibility, at least before daylight savings time switched over. I was riding 3-5 days a week. Now I'm kicked back to 1-2. You know, the getting older getting hurt thing is weird. Because I do think about that, but at the same time, whenever the local track builds new jumps (which is often) I am always the first person to do them. Next weekend will be the next time I ride, I'll keep you guys posted on how it goes.

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I feel your pain. I started racing late, I had to wait until I could pay for it myself. I found myself fighting for race wins in the amateur ranks against some soon to be top level pro's. I fell down in a qualifier broke some bones and dented my head up. It scared me so bad that I couldn't even stand the smell of a dirt bike let alone the sight. While I was healing we had a bike prepped for the east coast supercross and it sat in my garage for about a year. After about 6 months I wouldn't even go in the garage because it made me sick to smell it. (finally sold it)

Fast forward 13 years and 4 kids later (still haven't figured out what causes that) my two sons kept on me about riding again, so I tried it and realized the fear was gone.

I was always an analytical rider but now it is really bad. I find myself doing exactly what was mentioned earlier. I am starting to come to terms with myself and understanding my speed will never be what it was. Once you do that and just go ride/race for fun it will be just that, fun.

Although most things still seem like they are happening in slow motion when I am riding I must still be semi fast. At the local level I can still get in the money in open A and the look on the kids face when they come over to the pits to BS about the race and say good job, is priceless. They realize they just got whipped by an old man. You know 38 years young is like a dinosaur in this sport.

I have heard this saying several times in the last few years and if you analyze it, it also applies to MX... When your young, if your not a liberal you have not heart. When your old, if your not a conservative you have no brain!

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