After the initial set back from my very first mountain bike ride, when what I didn’t know actually did hurt me (broken ribs), I found many more life lessons on the trail. I wanted to share because, they are, in my opinion applicable to everyone.
I need to lighten up
Light hands and heavy feet keep you solidly planted on the bike, but still able to let the bike work under you. Light hands puts your center of gravity where it needs to be to get over any type of terrain. In life when we can “lighten” up, it helps keep us centered and able to “go with the flow” a bit more, making difficult situations easier to navigate.
Someone will always be better, faster, smarter, stronger
Although I have always known this, I have learned to be a cheerleader for those that are all of the above and to try to learn from them if possible. My ego used to prevent me from feeling inspired and energized by those that were better, faster, stronger, smarter than me, and instead I would often feel bad about myself or resentful of others success. It is so freeing to let that all go and just ride!
You can teach an “old dog” new tricks
If you always do what you’ve always done, then you will always get what you’ve always got. I don’t remember where I heard that, but it rings true more than ever to me now. Mountain biking was definitely a “new trick”, but beyond learning to just ride, every time I go on the trail I learn something new. If I don’t try, I will never be able to conquer some of the obstacles I encounter out there. I was skeptical about doing anything different because I wasn’t sure if I could learn enough, to be good enough, to enjoy myself, But I did and I am! I know that this concept is helping me AGE STRONG.
“It’s all downhill from here” isn’t always a bad thing
A lot of the fun comes after the climb! Hard work brings rewards you may not have even seen coming. On the trail, after the hard work climbing, the reward is the downhill! Speed on the trail scares me but It is still the most fun! You get the wind cooling you off, some rest for your legs and lungs and the excitement of what is around the corner (or burm). If you are descending with friends, you enjoy the whoops and hollers on the way down, where you skid to a stop at the bottom to talk about it! When I am alone at the bottom, the smile on my face is still there and the sense of accomplishment I feel is the prize!
Don’t coast, keep pedaling, it helps you through hard spots
Many times when in a new, tough or scary spot, hitting the brake or coasting seems more natural. But through a rock garden, gravel or cobblestone, pedaling more helps maintain control. Momentum is important when getting through these rocky spots, when you stop pedaling and lose momentum, it is very difficult to get it back. Like those situations in life, when things get tough and I want to shut down, coast to see what happens, or totally freeze, I understand how that loss of momentum just creates bigger problems and can make it even more difficult to get out of them.
Look ahead at where you want to go
Your bike goes where your eyes go! If you are looking at the tree you don’t want to hit, or the cliff you do not want to go over, you may just do exactly what you are trying to avoid! If you look ahead at the trail, a couple of things happen. Looking ahead gives you time to respond, you know what is coming before you get there. If you look straight down, and a hole, a rock or a tree stump is there, you may not get over or around it in time. Also, looking down when trying to climb over an obstacle seems to “will” you down instead of up and over. I still have yet to master this and continue to practice. Try to set your sites on your goals instead of just the season or situation you are in. It is easy to get stuck when the focus is on what may not be working instead of on what you actually want to have happen.
There is always room for new friends
In the past I have felt like keeping a few close friends was all I needed. In a way it can be true, but it also has kept me from letting other people “in”. I have also been much of a loner, when running, cycling, working out etc, I have mostly enjoyed exercising alone. I still do like my time alone on the trail and in the gym, but joining a group of women on Thursdays has become one of the highlights of my week! We are all different but have a common love for mountain biking. It is also very cool to be around all different levels of riders and watching the more seasoned riders help and teach the rest of us. There is never anyone left behind, and that team mentality has been inspiring to me! I see some good friends coming from this experience!
I’m still working on it
I guess what I am learning the most is to keep learning…… to watch what successful people around me do and attempt to emulate it. Also to surround myself with positive energetic people and to have fun everyday!
*If you are interested in learning to mountain bike, I recommend finding a local bike shop and getting as much information through them first. I also recommend starting with a fundamentals clinic so you can start off on the right “track”! Message me if you would like more info……..