Just ride it already!

Of course I had to have Travis take a "New Bike" photo!
I had been having some frustrating rides as of late and I would say a lot of it is due to stress. It’s easy for stress and frustration to impact my rides; things go wrong with my ride and I get even more crestfallen. It’s the expectation that all rides should be amazing and make you feel like you ate magical skittles filled with glitter and rainbows. Total crap.

I was riding a rental bike that past few days in hopes of gaining bravery and finesse with riding on smaller tires. However, the bike was not amazing (in general) I say that because I was having negative experiences.
I hated the pedals. I didn’t like the seat. The chain ring up front made climbs difficult (it was a 2-by, where I’ve used 1-by and prefer that. I have no time for shifting excessively)…oh the list goes on. I had one really good ride on the bike and that was about it. I was left feeling inadequate and frustrated over my inability to accomplish things that were previously accomplished. I felt low. You take the ride stress and add it on top of the other stressors and you have a very grumpy Josie.

Travis and I had a discussion last night in terms of my unhappy bike rides as of late. Hearing me complain about my off-road riding (similar to my paved riding in some ways) didn’t make him very happy. I was putting pressure on myself for this “perfection” and being hard on myself when it came to re-learning certain things. It’s not that I wasn’t a good rider, far from it. It was the fact that it’s a different bike with different tires…I was getting new lessons in traction and body position.
Glorious! In the sun, you see sparkles!

There has been a bike in the living room, waiting for me to ride it. I was waiting to get on it after I felt ready and more competent because she’s a beauty and made of carbon. Basically she was built as a bike for me to “graduate” to when I’m ready-but will I ever be ready?! The “new bike” jitters were high with her, and that frustrated me. How can one determine if they will ever truly be “ready?”

Some words from a woman who I interviewed awhile back, and I’m so thankful for them:Maybe don't make yourself achieve too many goals before you deem yourself ready. A higher performing bike will up your game simply by being a better piece of equipment, which in turn will improve confidence, enjoyment, and skills!

Travis had also helped me break the ice surrounding me in terms of my confidence or lack of when it came to riding the Cali Carbon SLX- “Just ride it! Stop worrying about if you’ll break it. If anything happens, it’s not like there probably won’t be another bike in your future. I built it for you to ride.”
So I looked over at the bike and made the decision-“I will ride you tomorrow.” And that was that.

Prior to the ride I went on a paved loop ride with a friend of mine. I found that my body felt really uncomfortable on the road bike today. I’ve been having forearm/wrist issues, but I have a problematic muscle in my neck/shoulder that has been aggravated as of late. I hoped that a mountain bike ride would not be an issue.

When I got home I slipped some baggies over my padded shorts, strapped on my Camelbak, and grabbed Erza (the name that I gave the Cali Carbon SLX). We went to the shop so Travis could air up the shock; set it up so it would be firmer (I’m used to not having a shock.)
Away I went!

I wasn’t going to do anything special right off the bat because I had to work my brakes in. Travis suggested I do my old “loop,” a selection of Van Peenen trails that I can ride rather well. I wanted to try the hairpin on North 40 right away, but I met another rider who was going the opposite direction. I figured I would feel better not meeting him coming down (as I went up) so I made the decision to back-track later on.

It's a bit strange riding a smaller, built-for-Josie bike!
I will admit; it was a treat to ride something so much lighter! I also was thrilled over the fact I didn’t have to be in my easiest gears the entire time. Put it into perspective: The Krampus…it’s very heavy. I have big tires that aren’t even filled up all the way-I’m probably pedaling around something near the 20+lb mark. This is hypothetical as I don’t have a scale to weigh it on. Summary: I work hard to get that bike to go places.
The carbon bike is simply lighter. Smaller tires and lighter frame mean I have more energy to ride longer without feeling like I’m going to die. For my asthma issues, that’s fantastic! Given the fact allergies have been terrible this week and I’ve had a lack of energy-stupendous!
This vs. Trek Cali Carbon=not at all the same!
Photo Credit: Raina Hatfield

I extended my ride from the Van Peenen trails to the Dunnings (Lower/Upper Randy’s and Backside.) I figured I’d ride up Rocky Road to get back to the pines, head down Gunnar and ride up North 40-then I would come back to Rocky Road via top half of Little Big Horn and finish off on The Luge. I wanted to ride fast for the end of my ride; I craved the rush and exhilaration of speed. 

The ride today was one that surprised me because I didn’t think I would feel comfortable on the bike. Instead I got on it with a feeling of determination-I will ride you and I won’t be afraid. I felt one with the bike shortly into the ride. No more annoying seat, no more pedals that sucked; confidence trickled back into my subconscious.

My love of dirt renewed. My soul enveloped in the afterglow of a positive experience. My heart was full and grateful.

It’s just the beginning and it’ll only get better!