On Saturday, GL, Kenny and I spent the day riding doing some trail and woods riding. It was, in a word… fabulous.
The morning started off a bit cold and windy. My un-gloved hands were stinging as I tried to buckle my boots before heading off on our ride. It’s amazing how quickly you warm up once you get moving and get into the woods. I was able to peel off my windbreaker and enjoy the sunshine even though it never crested 45 degrees all day.
I’ve been pretty open about my feelings regarding my progress or lack thereof transitioning from street to dirt riding. Someone I know jokingly tossed out that maybe taking up dirt riding now that I’m a lot closer to 40 than 30 isn’t the best idea. At first I just laughed it off because he likes to bag on me that I’m getting old. But, I think that in some ways there may be something to it. I’ve got decades of learning to be afraid under my belt 😆
Thinking back now about what it was like when I first started street riding, I don’t recall having the same general trepidation that I do now. Giving myself over to the process, allowing the bike to float, avoiding the front brake; it all seems so different. So much to unlearn and re-learn.
There is a vagueness in feel of the rear brake pedal through the sole of my boot that I just can’t seem to completely come to terms with yet. I keep expecting the feedback that I get from the soles of my street boots and it just isn’t there. But even as the day wore on it became less of an issue. I guess I began to get used to or understand the sliding better.
Simply put, I just need more practice.
I had some personal breakthroughs that helped me better manage my shortcomings. One being that I have found it helpful to think only of the obstacle at hand and work on tackling it and it alone. I’m working on not thinking about the next thing until I find myself at the next thing. Narrowing my focus and not looking at the bigger picture has been helpful.
While talking with our friend F’n Hal, he mentioned something so simple but easily overlooked depending on your general mental outlook. The basic premise was – If you say I can’t do this, you won’t be able to do it. You can’t go in defeated because it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You have to say okay, how do I do this… and figure it out!
I know, this may all sounds like new-agey mumbo jumbo to some of you but, it’s what carries me through to the other side. I’m one of those annoyingly “thinky” people.
Being able to watch and ride with people who are patient and understanding helps a lot. That said, I’m still having a hard time getting over the feeling that I’m holding everyone up because I’m not moving as fast as they are. But, I’ll get there.
Hands down – This was the best day of off-road riding that I’ve had to date. I came home buzzing with excitement. I can hardly wait to be able to go again.
And on an entirely girlie and (hideously kitschy,) superficial note… my leopard print Shift jersey is awesome. To spice it up a little more, do you think anyone makes goggles that look like the frames of Dame Edna‘s glasses? I would totally get those.