Monday, 15 September 2014

Pick Your Own Lines!

On Saturday, I went mountain biking with a friend on Three Blind Mice. Never having been before, I was glad to have gone with someone who knows the trail system. Three Blind Mice is a network of trails riders need to be wary of as it contains a few challenging sections. Biking with Dave was great, but not only for obvious reasons.

Starting our ride with a climb, I found myself struggling. Two or three times I stalled my bike, and once, even fell. About a half an hour in, I began feeling frustrated and disappointed with myself—and I must say—never having biked with Dave before, slightly embarrassed. Was it my new bike? Was the trail too technical? Too unfamiliar? Was my fitness not up to the ascent?

After watching Dave ahead of me, I retreated to my "self-esteem treasure box" for a bit before I declared to him that I was going to fall back. I did, and this is when everything changed.

Suddenly, instead of watching Dave's back wheel, the trail appeared, as if for the first time! Along with it came the stillness of the cool morning air, the softness of an awakening sun and the greens and browns and greys of that which continues to draw me into the mountains to ride. Frustration turned to flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).

For the remainder of the ride I neither fell nor stalled; the difference being Dave and I rode fifteen meters apart rather than five.

Connecting on three or four lookouts to share the view, Dave and I concluded the same thing: don't be baited into following someone else's lines on a path or trail you share with them. Everyone rides differently. Some spin up hills, others crank up them. Some go left around rocks, others right, while others still, go over them! Ride with others this year as go about your learning. They will take you places you may not go alone. Just be sure to pick your own lines!

~ Will Eaton

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