AudVentures: Sunset, solo mountain bike ride offers shift in perspective
June 13, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – A few years ago I took a tumble.
Not just the average whoopsie-daisy-fall-over, hope-the-bushes-catch-me type of fall. It was more along the oh-crap-how-am-I-going-to-get-out-of-this type of fall that left me dangling on the side of Mad Creek by a tree with my bike somehow still attached at the legs.
That feeling — losing traction, losing control, the blackout before the ground hits — it's paralyzing.
While hoisting my bike, a borrowed hardtail, back up to the trail and scrambling to get myself back there as well, I looked down at the rather steep descent to surging water below then glanced back in the direction my friends had ridden.
Defeated. Shook up. My pride and outer extremities a little battered and bruised, I got back on the bike and rode the rest of the way down. It was the last time I would ride for about three years.
But the past few months I had a breakthrough. I realized I was making up excuses for why I couldn't accept offers for going on a bike trip or an afternoon ride. Fear's merciless grip flexed each summer.
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Deep down, I was avoiding it. That bike. That memory.
It wasn't until this spring in Moab – my first trip to the enchanted red dirt abyss– that a shift occurred. I had fed this beast of fear, and it wasn't the bike. It wasn’t Mad Creek. It was my own psyche.
And it wasn't until this past Friday on a solo sunset ride – after another ride on my new black beauty of a Santa Cruz – that I was looking ahead, leaving obstacles, along with worries from the day, in the dust behind me.
Human nature somehow has a way of interceding in life, and in biking. Think about the last thing you focused on today — was it positive or negative? How did that make you feel?
Well I could lie and tell you that I focus on the positive all the time, but I don’t. I'm only human and the amount of overanalyzing and stressing I do, let's just say it's a lot. And it feels crummy. It ruins the day.
But what if we take that freedom we experience from hiking, biking or whatever your “thing” is and apply it to daily life? To step up to the challenge to keep shifting our perspective to the goal or positive thing ahead, then the next and the next.
How do you feel now?
We all take a tumble or a stumble now, and then, we lose focus and we let good days, good moments pass us by, or in my case, miss out on years of rides with friends, enjoying a sport I've grown to love. Why? Because of fear?
That's just not good enough. Fear is just another obnoxious root or jagged rock ahead.
In that moment of bliss as the sun started to descend and golden flecks of light broke through the trees against the backdrop of the watercolored sky, I realized sometimes you have to get back on the bike, overcome your fears and see the good in the changes and challenges that lie ahead.