It's Sunday. Better go for a ride then. Training goes bad.

Sunday, another ride into the hills. It's kind of becoming like that; a ride for the sake of a ride. I'm not really into this riding thing at the moment, and I know why.

Richard Kelly that's why.

Birthday present from the wife this year was a day out with him. He's a great guy, a great instructor and I learnt a lot. Few new little techniques here and there, moved the game on.

However there's a lot to be said for ignorance. Each weekend I'd go out for a bimble, do a few miles, come back all happy. Perhaps show somebody around, perhaps go somewhere new, eat a massive cake and slurp strong coffee. Life was good.

Then you do a course and realise that actually you are way off the pace. Indeed that proper, professional mountain bikers look at the trail in a totally different way, and that you, as a weekend warrior, will never, ever get to where they are.

It's not the big things. 80% of what I do is fine. The last 20%? Well most of that is fitness. We could all be fitter. The last bit of where I'm off the game is in bike technique. I'm all 1995 cross country, where 2014 is all "in the pocket" using a dropper post to keep your body mass near the bottom bracket. It's all about sight lines, and using the trail to "pop off" things. Drops, tree roots, berms are things to gain momentum, to go faster. It's about mixing golfing and ski techniques to get the bike to turn in quicker.

Some of these things I even understand, and can feel the effects of when applied on the trail. I'm trying to improve and adapt, I really am. That little thing you do with the ball of your foot? Sometimes I remember to do it. Moving around so that there's little weight on my hands, and I'm balanced nicely? Sometimes, just sometimes. Reading the trail to find the best features? I'd like to think so, sure buddy, I do that.

Yet when I get home now all of my rides are rubbish, could have done better. If they were marked at A-level I'd get an 'A-' grade. Good enough to pass muster, yet I know where I go wrong each and every ride. That hurts, the knowing.

The knowing that a proper rider wouldn't just ride over a section of roots; they'd either float or pop over them, gaining speed in the process. That corner, where I had a little slide in the dust? They'd not even have noticed. That muddy puddle, where my front tyre dug in? They'd have hoiked the front wheel up and ridden through on the back wheel only.

Indeed I can guarantee that the places I fluff up, they wouldn't eve be on that bit of trail in the first place. They'd be an inch or two away from my line, using the trail features to smooth and enhance their rides.

My rides these days are spoilt for an inch or two of trail, or a sway of the hips, or not "getting into the pocket."

I'm a better rider for having done a course, but in my head I now know I'll never be a good rider, a rider that people point to with respect. Not unless I go out with dweebs all the time, and who's so sad as to do that?

Perhaps I need another course?

On a positive note, when I do get it right, when the ball-of-foot cornering technique was an automated response instead of thought-out action, it's all lovey dovey. On Secret Singletrack things all felt very, very slow indeed. Smooth as. I got to the bottom a bit lost. How can this be the bottom? What happened to the trail? What happened was there were no dramas, no fluffed corners, it was all flow. Same on that gravel drop through Headley, the one with the sharp left hand corner. Normally try and straight line it, dragging the brakes through the rough stuff, panic through the turn. This time, right around the far edge where the nasties lie, fast, knee well over daydreaming not thinking. Just did it, smooth as.

Get it right, get the "in the pocket" thing as an automated reaction, and the trail goes all smooth, drama free, grippy as anything. Overthink it, try and remember what Richard said, and it all goes woolly. Perhaps, just perhaps, I need to get out more?

Now there's an excuse you don't hear very often.