Seeing as this is the year of no limits, I have tested myself time and time again with new challenges, and another one presented itself this weekend. This one, I was fully excited about and prepared for, but yet again the difficulty of the actual activity surprised me, and I had a much more difficult time with it than I originally anticipated.
After about fifteen years of not riding a bike, I decided to buy a mountain bike and get back out there. Growing up, I lived on my bike; when I was younger, my parents would take us to the park and we’d ride around the lake. Then, as I got older, I’d constantly ride with my friends in the neighborhood, which almost always involved riding past the houses of the boys we liked.
Eventually, I stopped riding. I don’t know why or when it happened, but maybe, like everything else, I just didn’t have the time for it.
Then, for whatever reason, I decided that this year, I wanted to start riding again. I didn’t like the idea of road biking, and I loved hiking, so I thought that mountain biking would be just right for me.
After testing out several bikes in REI’s parking lot, I fell in love with one and decided to buy it. Then I took it to the streets in my neighborhood, and fell more in love. But, Saturday was the first time I took it on the trails.
Jeff and I arrived at Blue Mountain Reservation, and I didn’t know what to expect. The trails were geared to all levels, so I figured I would be fine, but as soon as we headed up the bike path, I immediately realized how difficult it was going to be. There were so many rocks, and I could barely peddle my way around; I have never been so frustrated.
I wanted to like mountain biking, but this was so much harder than I thought it was going to be. Jeff and I stopped and looked at the map of the trails, and discovered that the yellow trail was the easy one, so that was what we decided to take.
But, still it wasn’t easy, at least not at first. I struggled and continuously had to get off my bike to walk it up the trails; this was not what I was expecting the day to be like. I kept trying and trying, but at one point I fell off my bike onto a pile of leaves, and felt completely defeated, I even broke down in tears.
I wanted to just turn around, but Jeff gave me a hug, told me I could do it and to just keep trying. I did, but was still uncomfortable from the fall; at that moment, I hated nothing more than mountain biking.
Eventually, we came to a part of the trail that was a lot easier than the previous sections. There were less rocks and tree roots, and bit by bit my confidence began to build, just as Jeff said it would.
We kept going and going, following the trails and trying to enjoy the beautiful scenery, which was a lot harder by bike than it usually was while hiking. Instead of admiring the waterfalls and blooming flowers, I had to keep my eyes on the trail to make sure I didn’t hit any rocks.
It got easier as we continued on and even the part of the trail that was hard in the beginning, was a lot better on the way back. Jeff encouraged me to make it up the hills that had been tough on the way in, and I was finally able to make my way up them.
By the end, with a lot of help from Jeff, my confidence grew. I went from being scared of everything to just giving it a chance; the whole idea of having no limits is to get out of my comfort zone, to do something that scares me, and at first mountain biking was scary. But, by challenging myself, I was able to accomplish something difficult.
I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about mountain biking at the moment, but I do know that I want to continue riding. I’ll give the easier trails a shot again, build up my confidence, and hopefully, my love for mountain biking will continue to grow over time.