When the pupil becomes the master; walking the cursed Earth....

Stratospheric learning curve.

Base line setting; I'm at best, on a really good day, a mid-pack rider. Put me in the bottom third then. I'm not flash or fast; more of a plodder. In over 20 years mountain biking I've been out with around forty different riders. Not a single one has pushed like PP does. Indeed none have come close.

He's only been mountain biking, what, six months? Yesterday he was doing 1.25m drops, bunnyhopping things 30cm high, and doing power slides at will. He rides a Trek 9 right to the maximum capabilities of the bike. Soon he's going to outride his bike. I keep telling him he'll be changing it to a carbon framed 160mm machine any day soon, yet he thinks I'm taking the piss.

I can't ride steps the way he does; flat out. Drops, jumps and gaps? Nowhere near. My only saving grace so far has been that I climb marginally better.

Yesterday, after 40km we hit Box Hill. My chance to shine. Smoke his ass!

He beat me up by fifteen seconds.

That's hills gone then. I am now mere shell. This vessel is empty.

How exactly does he ride?

He watches, he takes it all in. I think he watches for a weakness then exploits it. How? Well he's prepared to hurt himself trying for one. A bit of pain sorts people out pretty quickly. Then he's also a YouTube addict - I suspect he's watching technique videos all the time.

Yesterday for example. Bimble over to Bike Beans cafe, bimble to Box Hill then home.

All except the bimble bit. Those trails were attacked. Indeed for some of the time, when he was in front, there were no trails. He'd spotted a line over a forty five degree, loam covered bank. Not a smooth bank either; one rutted by tree roots and erosion. I followed him, pondering exactly how to traverse horizontally this thing.

He did it with a slight dab.

Somehow I rode it clean.... How? One point had to lock the front to hop the rear 30cm sideways down a bank, then roll forwards and lift the front sideways and down a cut in the soil. All this whilst hanging off the back, on a forty five degree loam covered slope with broken trees all around. All managed just by happen chance. One of those things you look back on and question how.

PP is slightly mad.

No longer the master.

I'm no longer in charge of rides, dictating where we go and what we do. He's smoked me too much for that. PP has taken over as ride leader and it is kind of refreshing. Refreshing in a slightly panicked style. Really he needs to seek out - and destroy - a better rider than myself. He's taken all I have, turned it on its' head, and spat it out, unimpressed.

On 99% of my rides my Tassajara does best. 90mm front suspension, narrow tyres, no dropper post. Keeps me happy. With PP you just know that at some point in the ride he'll find something that requires fat tyres, full suspension and a dropper. I took the Tassajara on one of his rides the other day. Totally and utterly the wrong bike. My PACE yesterday just about coped, but could have done with a dropper.

My only saving grace is mud. At the moment I can get through stuff better than he does.

There's a simple reason for that; he's only ridden in the summer.

So far.