I gotta be honest – given my propensity to tackle new, challenging, and, well, dangerous sports, I’m kinda prepared for something painful, and possibly bloody, to happen this summer.
Between rock climbing, skiing, and distance running, I’m surprised the worst that has happened so far are nail-less toenails and a periodically sore lower back. And I’m not afraid to push myself.
[Mom, don't read this next part] I’ve run horizontally along a rock face 50 feet up, James Bond-style, in an effort to retrieve distant (and expensive!) trad climbing gear. I’ve skiied so fast down smooth groomers that my only thought is focused on Not Crashing because it would break so many things if I did. And now, I’m challenging my mind and body in a completely different but equally adrenaline-inducing arena: mountain biking.
I enjoy the luxury of having friends with extra bikes (please note how rad and totally OUT of my price range the above bike is, whew) and friends who like/tolerate taking newbies like myself out for a tour.
Yesterday, my new friend Melissa said “yes” to taking me out for my very first mountain biking trip, for which I will be eternally grateful. She was super helpful, loading up my gear on her bike rack, showing me body geometry in various riding positions, talking me through my first climb and downhill, and patiently waiting for me several yards up ahead without once making me feel like I was holding her back (my biggest concern when doing anything with experienced athletes!).
And now I’m hooked! No kidding, it was so great! I’m a big fan of trail running because of the level of intense focus it requires to navigate tricky paths through steep loose shale, knotty roots, and slick muddy patches – it feels so zen. My thoughts basically turn off and I come out the other side feeling peaceful and clear-headed, and likely a little sore from the exercise.
Mountain biking is like trail running, basically. You’re just moving a whole lot faster and the concentration (particularly at this stage of the game) is much deeper. The zen is that much greater.
It also combines that thrilling adrenaline rush of “OH GOSH OH GOSH OH GOSH” that treads so finely the line between joy and fear.
It seems that many of the bike paths out here are also hiking paths, so at this point, I figure I’m just exploring the terrain more quickly than I would on foot. While it’s a leeeetle dangerous, I’m also smart enough to stay within my limits, while also pushing myself to get better and smarter. And oh buddy is it fun! Such a great workout, a thorough mental cleanse, and a glorious way to spend an afternoon basking in the late mountain sunshine (particularly after a hunched day at the computer….)!
Also, I’m so sore. I need me some padded britches! Till next time…xoxo