Riding the Gateway today, as I was coming off the top of the unicycle after sliding through some mud, I realized that there is balance, and then there is position.
What I mean is that if you are successfully riding, then you are in balance. However, even if balanced, your body may not be in position to deal with sudden changes. Like mud. Or rocks. Or that whatever-it-is that's hiding in the grass on the trail that inevitably jumps up to block your tire. My issue at the beginning of the ride was that I was overly hunched at the waist, hips back, tentatively riding along fretting about the sand and mud. Of course, as soon as I hit some and had a little wheel slip, off I went.
However, during the rest of the ride I concentrated on trying to keep my body in good position, which for me is like what my wife says about dancing...its like a string is extended through your head, down your back and through your center of gravity. I think that's what I'm really getting at when I write about getting my hips forward, shoulders back, torso loose. I'm getting everything lined up with that string. And why? Because I'm in better position to ride through the rocks and slippery bits and respond to sudden changes. It seemed to work although it was hardly a good experiment. It also helped, I think, that this position resulted in a more confident, even aggressive, riding style which meant better flow and momentum through the trail.
So for the next few rides I'm not only going to try to stay in balance, but also in position for the unexpected..