Sunday, September 12, 2010

Scaredy cat

I'll fess up on another topic: For almost 40 years, I've been scared when riding anything mechanical off road.

It started at 16 with my poorly executed efforts at enduro and motocross motorcycle racing.I was never good at it, always uptight, not one to take chances, and the slowest guy on the track.  So instead of bagging it, I found ways to hang around with the very fastest riders, culminating with world champions David Bailey and Johnny O'Mara during the mid 1980's. Instead of moving on I frustrated myself by watching really good athletes ride like lightning, while I was tied to a stump.

So as the fast went faster, I was tipping and bobbling and attempting to keep up. Fun was never evident.  What's the point of this story?  Over the past few weekends, I realized I'm no longer scared while riding my 29er. On today's ride, I thought through the process:

  • I ride alone, at my own speed
  • I'm learning the 29er and how to ride it
  • It's my choice to ride and I'm doing it on my own terms
  • My physical fitness is at a peak
  • I ride in one gear; that keeps me from becoming too aggressive
  • I ride a section that is within my capabilities
  • Listening to audio content relaxes me and helps my rhythm
  • I have practiced the same sections for months and know them well
  • I only ride mountain bikes once a week, which keeps it fresh
  • I'm OK with my abilities and stay within boundaries
  • I'm 53 and fortunate to be out here
Other factors may come to mind, but you get the idea.  I put myself in a place where I could succeed  and it worked.  Great fall day in the woods, great bicycle, great time in my life.

Fun to be free of the fear, scaredy cat has left the room.

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