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Lessons in Mountain Biking: Accepting Imperfections
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Lessons in Mountain Biking: Accepting Imperfections

There are times where you decide it’s better to push yourself than to not push at all. I was feeling burnt out from the work week, tired, and really not “with” it. My day had started off normally but without time for a paved loop ride before the other commitments of my day. Actually, I didn’t have time for a paved loop after my commitments due to timing-so the only ride I’d get in would be mountain biking.

I do not want to say I felt unsure of myself but I did, I wasn’t sure how the ride would go-my legs were tired, my body was exhausted, but mentally I really wanted to get out there and have some fresh air. I wanted to prove to myself that even tho I didn’t feel the greatest, that it would be possible for me to have a successful ride.

Travis came home from work and asked me if I felt like biking today, he had seen the notes of fatigue in my persona all week. I told him “Yup.” I proceeded to get myself ready, which was tricky due to the cooler temps. Would I be warm enough with this or that and how many layers should one have on? The differences of dressing for paved riding vs. mountain biking are different yet similar. In the woods you won’t be bombarded with chilly winds that cut through you. You also want to start off cool so you have a chance to warm up and not be too warm. Benefits of mountain biking are using hydration packs. I have a larger, purple Camelbak that Travis got for me when we went to Interbike last year and it’s proven to be one of the most useful items ever. Not only did I have a sweatshirt stuffed in it but I managed to have room to stuff my coat when I got too warm. There was still room for my camera, eye drops, multi-tool, and house key (and probably a snack if needed!) It’s such a handy item! (Not to mention the water-holding aspect.)

When we were halfway from home I realized I committed a sin against myself-I hadn’t used my inhaler. Well, that meant that I should be watchful of going too fast or hard on the trails and allow myself extra breaks if necessary. I was hopeful it wouldn’t be an issue because the weather was cooler but not humid.

I had a successful and dabless ride on IPTV tho I did feel a bit wimpy during the whole thing. Something that I can’t explain other than I felt a little jittery and wobbly. We came to the fire road and had a small break before we went up Gunnar. Gunnar has proven to be a trail that continually challenges me at this point. I’ll have a good ride up and not awesome ride down or vice versa, which frustrates me and motivates me to keep getting better. My slip-up this time was a rock that was loosened from the earth (somewhat larger small rock that didn’t need to be on the trail). My pedal smacked it or something; I’m actually foggy of the details. I fumbled and didn’t make the up-hill climb over the tree roots and stopped myself. I told Travis I’d be a second, set my bike down, and got rid of that darn rock. I walked up to the Van Peenen pines and grumbled a bit. All I could do was take to heart not everyone clears every trail every time.

My ride in the pines made me feel more comfortable and in the zone, I felt better with myself and zipped right along. Once we did our ride though both sets of pines we stopped back at the spot near Gunnar. I took the opportunity to take a few photos, the sky was so blue and the trees were so green. It was vibrant and beautiful and the sun was shining through the branches like an explosion of light.

I managed to get through most of Gunnar except a point where my lungs threatened to give out on me and my legs felt like mud. A less-than-graceful shift thwarted my uphill climb and I learned a lesson in shifting and preparedness. I felt embarrassed but managed to get over it and take it as a lesson learned, nothing more and nothing less.

My ride back through IPTV was successful and dabless as well, which I felt happy about. Each time my rides are different, some areas make me a little nervous and other times I feel fine and ready to rip. The overall attitude of my ride is how I feel at that given moment. Yesterday wasn’t a ride to go out and do anything other than be outside and prove to myself that I can do this-perhaps not perfectly, but do it anyways. My body appreciated the fresh air and beautiful scenery and my confidence was boosted even with the imperfections of it all.

More about accepting, bike, mountain, fun

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