As many of you know, I went off the deep end with mountain biking this year. What started with a nice bike as an early birthday present from my wife, turned into a really, really nice bike a couple months later, and I’ve been riding trails several times a week since. Thinking back to my first experience mountain biking this year, I came up with a few life lessons. I’ll start with a picture of what I got to take home with me from that ride.
That scar (8 months old now, so it doesn’t look as bad) is what’s left from a pretty good sized hole in my arm; thanks to this rock (pictured below) that also put a hole in the sleeve of my long sleeved t-shirt. It could have been much worse, because my arm saved my face!
As I approached this section of trail, I was uneasy, didn’t think I could do it, and had no confidence. It is very steep, very quick, and has a slight turn at the bottom right before you come back up a very steep climb over rocks on the other side. I went down it anyway. Rookie move. At the bottom, my front wheel got caught and I was thrown over my handlebars and hit this pile of rocks.
Here is what I was reminded of by this experience:
- When you want to do something, commit fully to it. Had I not hesitated and believed I could do it, I would have had a better chance of success. I didn’t think I could do it and look what happened, I failed, miserably. Let’s look at this from an exercise and weight loss perspective. You have to commit to the plan and BELIEVE that you can do it.
- Start small, don’t jump in over your head. I should have started to progress my skills on less intimidating features of the trail. Same with exercise, beginners should progress in a manner that is appropriate for them. They shouldn’t start by doing the workout plan that JJ Watt does in his off-season workouts.
- Get back up and try it a different way. Isn’t the definition of insanity “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”? If at first you don’t succeed, figure out what went wrong, implement a different strategy and try again. Don’t quit because of one bad experience.
- Have a community of support. I got better by riding with other mountain bikers. They encouraged me and helped me tremendously by watching them. With exercise, hire a trainer, workout with a friend or spouse, or join a class, these are all ways that being around others can lead to your success.
If I had given up after my first try, and not asked to ride with other mountain bikers, I would never have been able to do this.
That’s the same spot I fell, now I have conquered it! Now I have an activity that I love, and can enjoy for many years to come.