We all have days where our bike rides just kind of blow. I had a ride on the trail Monday morning that would’ve made a monkey laugh. Ok, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but I just felt fatigued and not into it. A positive perspective-“It’s better to admit you are happy to ride, and not enjoy it, than not be able to ride at all.”
This would mark the first Tuesday since the early bike season that Travis and I have gone out for a ride. I had requested to go back to Van Peenan so I could practice going a bit faster on less sketchy terrain. No so-called cliffs, ravines, drop-offs, etc. just ground and trees to fall into. Of course, I wouldn’t trust Travis to take me out without some kind of adventure. We ended up going on a trail called Little Bighorn; and I proved to myself that not all rides are rays of sunshine. For whatever reason, this ride was going to provide some frustrations, and starting off with a few “wtf” moments sent me into a mental funk.
Why wasn’t I going around turns smoothly like I did before? Why am I messing up on a very simple part? Why did I bang my lady bits on my top tube? DUH! You know your top tube is high! It also proved to be a lesson for Travis for I gleaned unto him; “You don’t have to be Captain Obvious, I KNOW I’m having a cruddy ride!” Usually with everything new there is always going to be a moment or two at some point that just stresses you out, and unfortunately it seemed that the next level of learning was frustration and stress. That isn’t any fun, and I had to work hard to get past it.
I’ll admit one thing-being more of a late morning/afternoon person I do my best learning/functioning later in the day. Being primed and ready for awesomeness doesn’t generally happen in the earlier hours of my day. I had to overcome that fuzzy feeling in my head and tell myself that I could do this, regardless of the time of day. The challenge that I faced was this dip and hill combination; you have to go down the hill but not slow yourself down. Once you are in the dip you have a sharper incline to power yourself up, and you need momentum and balance to carry you. I would get up the hill okay, but struggle to get myself steady on the path ahead. I ended up riding up into the side of the trail, which was fine, but couldn’t get myself steady enough to keep going without stopping to straighten myself out. I was frustrated.
Eventually after attempting a couple times, Travis suggested I go one gear higher. Likely what I was experiencing was not getting enough power in my stroke. Also, if there isn’t any power behind it, it makes it harder to steady yourself or control where you’re going. I was floundering around like a fish out of water; I had made it too easy. So I went one gear higher and subsequently found success in my venture! We had a few other inclines that I wasn’t sure I’d make; perseverance proved that I definitely could. I climbed them without issue; my legs received compliments from Travis. As much as I hate inclines, I seem to be built to handle them if necessary (provided I am in the right gear.) I also have some really wicked tough legs, and I must say I am darn proud of them.
When we were done with the trails, we went back out through the prairie and down and out Van Peenan for the day. A few times I let myself go without using the brakes at all. I had found comfortable speeds where I could go fast and feel in control of my bike. Another thing that Travis pointed out was when we were leaving the pines; I was in full conversation mode. Something had clicked, gave way, or opened up in terms of my comfort level. I am building my confidence one ride at a time; soon you won’t be able to shut me up!