First, let's understand that mountain bikers are led by that very same fight or flight survival response.
Sure, there are no wild animals trying to eat you, but there are repeated situations where you fear for your safety at some level, because you don’t know exactly how to ride what’s coming next. In those moments – just like our friendly caveman, we are hard-wired to react instead of think.
If you’re not sure that’s true, think about the number of times you suddenly realised you were riding too fast and had to grab the brakes to try and get back in control. That realisation was the emotion of fear surfacing because you were experiencing some level of threat to your personal safety - even if it was just a minor threat. Instantly your body reacted and grabbed the brakes, because that’s how you reacted last time there was a similar threat.
In fact, we’re so addicted to that instinct, you could say we wait for the threat to arrive and force us to react!
The problem with riding this way is we are continually letting ourselves get out of control. We repeat this same process hundreds – if not thousands of times every ride, using our caveman programming to make the same mistakes again and again, instead of thinking if there is something we could do differently next time.
All this does is make us struggle and severely limit our potential. Most mountain bikers never realise that. Instead, they accept the belief that all the struggle and danger is just "part of mountain biking".
But does it need to be?