I'm no downhill racer but my bike handling skills are pretty good. If yours are too ignore this post. If you're new or newer to riding listen up.
Obstacles on the bike can ruin your whole day. Tracks, potholes, gravel, unleashed dogs and loose children, squirrels and so on. Yesterday whilst pedaling to downtown I spied a new rider in the distance. How could I tell? She's tense, shoulders up, arms at an angle I did not think humanly possible, hands clenched and so on. As we approached a squirrel dashed across the trail. Her eyes followed it both with interest, it's nice to see wildlife on a ride but perhaps nervous that the squirrel would get caught in her spokes.
She sees the squirrel, eyes follow the squirrel, her bike wavers that direction, she's kind of leaning left and all this is taking her right smack dab into me. I voiced a reasonably gentle call out and prepared to exit to the right off the path. When she saw me her eyes flew wide open, a sudden look of shock and horror.
Do I look that bad? No, I think I was stylin' in my new purple ankle-high socks from Hub and Bespoke which I'll write about later. It's just that she got squirrel tunnel vision.
See the squirrel, follow the squirrel.
Follow the squirrel, hit the ..... yikes!!
It's the same for any obstacle:
See the pothole you will hit the pothole.
See the broken glass you will be fixing a flat.
See the tracks wipe out on the tracks (word about that next perhaps).
Folks whether you're cruising to the coffee shop or racing always look where you want to go. The descent may be technical, there will be obstacles, keep your eyes on the clear path forward.
You can sight-see and let your eyes wander and we need to do that and appreciate the outdoors. But always have awareness of the clear path you want to take.