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Every once in a while, it’s good to get a reminder of the cavernous gap between the pros and the rest of us. One way is to watch them in a two-minute shred edit with circus-level stunts that clearly were the result of dozens if not hundreds of attempts. Another way is just to spend 15 minutes with them on a filming mission. The racers who are at the highest level of mastery have a way of almost disappearing into a trail. You can’t pick out any one of the thousands of individual decisions they’re making as they navigate a section. It’s almost supernatural.
Then, seconds later, they’re professionals in a different way. Pushing their bike back up for another run, talking to the videographers about conditions or angles, joking about sketchy moments or trail features. The fact that they can turn it on and off in an instant is something that you and I probably have a hard time with. We get lost in our minds when our minds shouldn’t have anything to do with it. It’s just our body, our bike, our trail, and the sound of speed.