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Lessons in Mountain Biking: Learning to Overcome
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Lessons in Mountain Biking: Learning to Overcome

I knew at the end of the ride on Friday that Travis would want to ride on Saturday as well. He gets off an hour earlier so we’d have more time to session areas and such. I had fallen asleep Friday night thinking about my ride that afternoon and some of the things I had hoped to change the next day. I thought “What if we rode all of the original IPTV section?” without really knowing what the beginning part entailed.

I visualized everything that I could remember doing, like going down the hills, climbing the hills, riding through the rocky spots, and remembering the feeling of success. I was determined that no matter what happened, I was going to go into it more positive and confident. Having gone though most of the trail without any mishaps also helped.

I went riding with Kristin during the morning and got two loop rides in, which felt really good even tho my arms were a little sore. I allowed myself a nap in the afternoon, to hopefully refresh my mind and body for the mountain biking to come. Travis came home right after work and trimmed a little length off my handlebars and let a little more air out of my tires. He said very excitedly “Time to get ready!” which I promptly told him I was already halfway there as my top half was clothed. (I do not lounge around the house in bike shorts, sorry!) So I’ll say that I was the most on time for a ride in probably, ever.

Without saying anything prior, Travis informed me that we would ride the original IPTV trail, so I was excited and hopeful. We arrived at the trail entrance and I had him take the lead. Now, I will not say that there wasn’t a tricky spot for me right away. That wouldn’t make a good story, right? So you come around a corner, down a small hill, and go and over a rock that takes you up another (bigger) hill. I’m not well-versed in going over a rock, and as simple as it was, left me a little flummoxed.

The positive about going out early is that I had time to session the area; however I kept getting tripped up. I would get over the rock, but subconsciously the edge of the trail must’ve freaked me out. I’d go forward but end up angling myself up more into the side of the hill, which would stop me. After several attempts I decided that getting over the rock was a success, and perhaps next time will prove to be more fruitful. So I walked my bike to a good starting point and we continued on.

I rode the trail pretty darn fluidly if I do say so myself. I felt much better knowing what to expect and I liked having Travis ahead of me. He’d say reminders to me when to stand and hug my seat or when I needed to go fast to gain momentum for going up a hill. After we finished IPTV we went through the Van Peenen pines, which I had fun riding through. It was the first time experiencing them since fatbiking in the snow, so I wondered how I’d manage with the roots exposed. I did a pretty darn good job, tho I did get pointers on having my leg up higher for turns and such.

After the pines Travis asked how I wanted to get back to IPTV, which was a question I didn’t have a specific answer to. So Travis thought it would be good to go back down the fire road and then we could go up one of the options and subsequently take it back down. The optional trail we went on was Gunnar, and I'll admit that I was a bit nervous. How could I not be?! If you looked over to the left as you headed up the trail you could see three other trails below. I’m not the biggest fan of heights, so I just focused on breathing and looking ahead.

I was getting a workout for my lungs for sure, however I enjoyed it rather than detested it. I appreciatee the option of getting to rest my lungs after we came back up the top. Travis was very pleased with my accomplishments. Probably the most nerve wracking part of the uphill was the roots you had to go up and around. Then when it was reversed the decent into the trail got my heart pounding in my ears. I had one spot where I got a little hung up, but it was easy to scoot myself past it and continue on. When we got back to IPTV we just went and kept going. The only time I had to stop was when I got off my bike to get over the tree that has fallen, due to my lack of skills.

To end the seamless ride we went up part of Horsey to go back down, fast. My heart pumps loudly, I have that fluttering “Ooooh man!” feeling, but I will admit that it is fun. I had Travis hold my bike in place and push me forward when I’m ready. I can’t tell you the rush that I feel, the combination of excitement and nervousness mixed with the knowledge that I won’t fall and it’ll be okay.

My ride on this day gave me some much-needed confidence and sureness that I can acquire skills to get better at this. I did make the request to work that trail a number of times, because I feel that once I’m comfortable there, then I’ll be able to manifest confidence on other trails. No tears shed on this day, just shared smiles and laughter.

More about fun, mountain, bike

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