I went Mountain biking for the first time this week. My Father-in-Law and I drove the 35 minutes to Patapsco State Park in Baltimore County, got out, geared up and headed for the trail head. My FIL told me we were going to do one of the beginners trails, and I admit that when he told me, I thought to myself... well this should be a piece of cake. Maybe we should be going for the intermediate instead, I mean I have been working out a lot lately.
Oh, silly little me... always jumping two steps ahead. Because, the trail was hard. It had rained quite a bit the day before, so the road was muddy and my breaks quickly got wet and were taking longer to slow me down than I thought they should. Years of erosion had turned this short beginners trail into a much more difficult endeavor. With huge exposed roots and loose rocks scattered throughout the path, I soon understood that this was going to be more challenging than I originally thought.
I quickly learned the importance of gears when mountain biking and was able to downshift for the steep parts. This definitely helped me stabilize myself, but also prevented me from powering through some obstacles. During our ride, we experienced a handful of small ravines where you would have to bike down a steep slope, through loose large rock and then up another steep hill. And this is where my name became Harriet Hesitation. I would enter these slopes at a snails pace, focusing on each individual obstacle in front of me. This ultimately got me through the beginning of it but then would bring me to a halting stop right as the slope began to rise. I'd get off my bike and walk it up the rest of the way. I did this a few more times and then stood to the side of the trail as I waited for another more skilled biker to pass. I watched with awe as he powered through the ravine. There was zero hesitation and he made it through easily.
I told myself I'd do it on the way back. And I did... sort of. I made it through one of the ravines that I hadn't made it through on the first go, and it felt amazing. I just did it, I let go of the fear and powered through, and it turns out I was safer going through because of it. When I would slow down and hesitate, I left myself open to falling over loose rock and roots. The rest of the way was tough and I admit I walked my bike through a lot of it.
I realized while going through this trail that my fear was getting the best of me. And I get it, I mean my fear was just looking out for me, not wanting me to fall over and hurt myself, but the thing is, I probably would have been OK had I just let go and powered through.
Because fear creates obstacles, both real and imagined. It makes us slow down and hesitate, to question whether or not we know what we are doing and reminds us of the comfortable seat on the couch that we left behind in order to do tackle this crazy mountain trail.
Fear doesn't let us take chances or overcome. it keeps us small and prevents us from growing stronger.
So next time I go out on the trail (because there will most definitely be a next time) I will try to quiet down that voice of fear in my head and just pedal harder. I will stop thinking about every little thing in front of me and start focusing on the other side of the obstacle I'm facing; because if you can't even picture yourself on the other side then how the heck are you ever going to make it?
My Father-in-Law is kinda the coolest
Me after the trail... exhausted, sweaty, muddy and loving it
A well deserved breakfast after biking, because I was HUNGRY. Sprouted Kitchen Quinoa Summer Salad, avocado and fried eggs with hot sauce; and of course coffee.