This guest post was kindly contributed by Andrew from Sparklebucket Moto.

A few months back I posted a video poking a bit of fun at what I lovingly referred to as “Spreadsheet Warriors”.  Simply put, a Spreadsheet Warrior is someone who spends more time crunching data in Excel on a bike, product, or location than they do putting in real world action.  I completely get the mindset, as I’ve spent countless hours looking at spreadsheets, weights, facts, figures, reviews, and all else than I care to admit.  However as I’ve worked to adjust my own mindset on this, I’ve found something better than anything.  I’ve found freedom, enjoyment, and personal understanding that no bit of digital information could ever provide.

What I’ve noticed in myself as I’ve gazed into rows and columns of weights, hp\tq, gear spreads, etc is that I actually generated a level of fear, uncertainty, and worry in not just myself, but in the very things I’m claiming to be “researching”.  A well informed decision is one thing.  It’s another however to obsess to the point of absolute indecision and uncertainty.  Recently while reading “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie, a lightbulb clicked in my head that while I had initially made the Spreadsheet Warrior partially in jest, I hadn’t really highlighted that this heavy handed approach to information was creating more fear, doubt, and indecision than it was ever going to solve.

I’m an audiobook type. Snag this one on audible. You won’t regret the 10 hour listen.

My personal worry warrioring in the past had led me through the buying and selling of perfectly good bikes, for others, I had convinced myself would be an ultimate gift from God for my riding.  Looking back, I began to realize all I was doing was convincing myself of some reason for the change, and not letting personal real world use and performance outcomes help define a legitimate reason for concern or change.

Great time to sweat details is when it comes to internal suspension modifications.

Case in point, I was racing a 4T enduro bike which was “known for XYZ” issues on the internet.  From everything I’d read online, and from solicited feedback was that I needed to be on a 2T race bike.  Something that would surely improve my results.  Again, looking back, all that happened was that I stunted my own improvement by adding a new set of variables and complexities to the equation. I didn’t give myself a chance with what I was on to prove itself, or time for myself to adjust and change how I did things.  I had bought into the idiocracy of believing absolutes in bikes spreadsheets, weights, wheelbases, engine configurations, etc.

Buying into the fallacy of spreadsheets cost me years of frustration as I was putting more faith in numbers and other people’s “professional analysis” than I did in my own personal experiences.  When I finally ignored all external input (and oddly bought a bike I wasn’t sure I’d even like), I was then able to stop, listen to my gut, and watched as my riding rapidly improved.

Photo K. Gore

So, while I’d never tell someone to buy something without some sort of research, I’d strongly suggest you not get too picky on the stats, or figures of a specific bike or accessory.  Allow yourself time to gel with whatever new you bring into the mix.  Maybe you’re trying something as simple as adjusting a clicker on your bike.  Don’t adjust it, ride for 5 minutes, and decide that it’s rubbish or magically fantastic.  Skip the over-reliance on spreadsheets and other people’s opinions.  Instead, play around a bit.  Learn from my mistakes.  Let your gut be your guide, leading you to riding free of unsubstantiated fears and full of enjoyment.

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