Lessons in Mountain Biking- The "Dirtiversary"
|Having just made it up Gunnar, solo, for the first time.|
I was STOKED!
In 2014 on Memorial Day, with a full day off of work, what better way to spend it than outside? I had a choice to make. Attempt to hit up the paved trail that would surely be bombarded with foot and bike traffic, or I could attempt to hit up some of the dirt trails. Really? It was a simple choice.
Travis had been asking on our rides if I would lead and I avoided every opportunity I could. I feared of not being able to make climbs or failing miserably in front of him. I didn't feel confident with the thought of going first. I felt slow, unstable, and didn't know where I was going or what I was doing.
I had to ride solo.
I had to ride alone.
I had to see if I could do it.
I told Travis that once I rode alone, and successfully, I would lead him on a ride.
So I text two girlfriends and let them know my plans. Just in case something happened and I got hurt and didn't make it home. You know, making sure loose ends were tied. I was also worried Travis would be too concerned over my semi-planned adventure, and I didn't want him to fret.
|Tears of joy after my first|
I did the loop of trails we had been doing- I know IPT, Gunnar, and both Pines were included. I can't remember everything I did, but I did the loop up to Pines and at some point, made my way back down to IPT.
I had ridden everything I could and I'm sure there were a few parts I had to walk. At the end of the ride, I literally cried. I text my girlfriends and let them know I was successful and was thrilled to share with Travis the great feat I had taken on and overcome.
A fire was lit within me. You could say I was filled with hope, too. Everything for me felt like it had
changed in that very moment- the moment I made the decision to overcome my personal fears and take the challenge of riding off-road head on. I wanted to succeed.
I can't explain how empowered I felt!
No longer did I have to wait for a Friday or Saturday for Travis to take me out riding. I could sneak out on my own! I could practice and session any time and anywhere I desired- and that was just the freedom I needed.
I did my best to re-introduce myself to a few areas that Travis had taken me to when we went on our first couple rides in '13. I distinctly remember going down Rocky Road and wondering when the scary parts could occur. I remember riding thru what seemed like a river, and riding up a steep hill that seemed high, and if I failed, I would fall into said river.
I rolled thru a creek. I rolled up a small hill. Done.
My mind had completely blown up whatever it was it thought it rode the year prior, good gravy! I was a bit embarrassed yet also pleased. I conquered something that had seemed impossible and discovered I had elevated fears that were not necessary. I have to say, that learning I had blown my worries and fears out of proportion on a solo ride was so much more confidence-inspiring than if I had found it out on a ride with Travis. It made me realize, without a shadow of a doubt, that I could accomplish far more than I gave myself credit for.
A "Dirtiversary" is as important and as special as you make it. For me it was a step in growing up and feeling more confident with myself. Taking life by the reigns and not letting my insecurities and worries stop me from trying something I really wanted to do (and get better at!)
Travis had little expectation that I would fall in love with mountain biking...you're talking about a woman who has extreme anxiety issues, who hates dramatic change, who isn't graceful, and who has exercise induced asthma.
I'll never say that the learning process was easy- but I will say that it was 100% completely worth it.
Do something amazing for yourself. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Let go of the control, anxiety, and fear. Give yourself a future "Dirtiversary", and embrace your #BikeLife!