Get back on the damn bike.

About two months ago, I hit the mountain bike trail after a particularly long day at work. My focus was off, my brain was fried, my stress was high. I knew the best way to burn off steam was to get on my bike and work it out. So that’s exactly what I did. But fifteen minutes into my ride, I’d just climbed a steep incline that led into an immediately sharp decline. At the cusp of that transition, my front tire nicked a rock on the narrow trail and I could instantly feel everything fall apart. I went head over handlebars down the hill at a high speed. I could feel my face scrape along the gravel, then my knees slam into a rock. I stood up and realized I couldn’t see anything. I got back down on my hands and knees searching blindly for my glasses, only to find them smashed under my shoe. I dusted them off and put them crookedly back on my face, then glanced down at my knees. My pants were torn, there was blood rapidly oozing down my left leg and I could instantly feel that I was in bad shape. I shook it off and hiked back up the hill and down another 100 yards to where Chad was waiting for me, with him unknowing that my life had just flashed before my eyes. Once he realized I’d wrecked bad, he dropped his bike and ran over to help.

Miraculously, my face was fine. I didn’t get a single scratch on it, which is crazy because my glasses had rock gouges covering the lenses. My right leg had a few minor scratches and bruises, but nothing that wouldn’t heal up in a week or two. My left leg was a little worse off. I didn’t break any bones, but I bruised them pretty deep. Right below my real knee became what we lovingly called my “third knee”. Lol. The goose egg really was something to see. I tried the traditional R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression and elevation) method, but it really didn’t make much of a difference in my recovery. I don’t put much thought into what people think of me, so I didn’t hesitate wearing shorts in public and flaunting my war wounds. The looks I got were really quite entertaining.

I’m happy to say the bruises have healed up and my “third knee” is now gone. All that remains are a few well-earned scars on my knees that I’ll forever be proud of.

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Here’s the thing though. My confidence on the bike has sucked royally since I’ve jumped back on it. Every rock freaks me out. I can hardly ride a straight line. I feel like I’m learning to ride again. And I hate that. The mind game started setting in. Which is bad bad news for this girl who loves to ride.

This past Friday afternoon was gorgeous weather though, so we loaded up our bikes and hit the trail. I had a horrible attitude the whole ride and Chad knew it. So guess what he did? What any rational and good husband would do. He looked me straight in the eyes and told me the best way to beat the MTB blues was to tell that trail who was boss. And then he made me repeat after him, “I’m a damn good mountain biker and gosh darn it I’m going to RIDE that trail.” You know, with enthusiasm, Cool Runnings style. The only thing missing was the lucky egg in my pocket. After I watched his impromptu efforts at motivating me, my stubbornness eased up and I proudly repeated the positive affirmation statement, got back on my bike and surprisingly, I killed that trail on round two. It was like the good ole’ days. And just like that, I had MTB fever again.

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned on the seat of my bike, it’s that success isn’t built on success. It’s built on falling. It’s built on frustration. It’s built on failure. I just needed to stand back up, dust myself off, put my shoulders back and go get on that damn bike!

Same goes for you. You’re made for more! More falls and more rises. Lots of them. Whether it’s on your bike or on this ride called “life”, don’t set yourself up on a downhill slope because of one hard fall. You will get through the falls, the frustrations and the failures. Yes, it will be scary and hard and overwhelming, but if you don’t fight through the fears, you won’t allow yourself to change into the person you’re meant to be. You will never know your true capacity. And you will never experience the fruits of your labors. So get up, dust yourself off, put your shoulders back and get back on the damn bike. You were made for this and gosh darn it, you’re going to show “life” who’s boss!

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