glow notes

Sunday, April 30, 2006

more lessons from the trail

B. and I dusted off our mountain bikes for the first time this year yesterday and took them up to a trail in the Cuyamaca State Forest. It was beautiful - the rains this season have yeilded to wild flowers and green. We saw a bunch of wild turkeys (the males really DO say 'gobble gobble!') and burned a few hundred calories on the way up - then got to say WEEEEEEEE all the way down.

I've written about this before. I am a really bad mountain biker. This is a good thing. Because pushing my boundaries in this way teaches me a lot that is applicable to my life. Here's what came to me yesterday.

One. Things that seem like a pain in the a&& get easier. It took us an hour to get ready to go and have about 90 minutes worth of fun. We had to get the bikes out, be sure they worked, fill the tires, locate our helmets and gloves, pack up water and snacks, etc. But next time it'll take 30 minutes. And pretty soon it'll take 10 minutes, because we'll have it wired. Life application: I look back on when I started getting fit and eating right, and it's the same thing - what comes like breathing to me now was a lot of work at first.

Two. There is a big different between prudence and fear. Prudence is what kept me from getting injured by going so fast that I could not avoid upcoming rocks and such. Fear is what could make me fall off my bike because I hesitate in front of a rock that I could get over if I powered it. Or what could keep me from ever getting on my bike. Life application: there are reasonable and unreasonable risks, and I should choose wisely based on prudent calcuation, not irrational gut reaction.

Three. Even on an easy ride like this one, there are rocks, ruts, and other obstacles. Part of success it to pick a line and stick to it, and part is to make fine adjustments along the way. That requires a balance between scanning the trail ahead and looking at the ground right in front of my wheel. But I'm outdoors on a gorgeous mountain instead of in a spinning class for a reason, so it's also important also to enjoy the scenery. Life application: I need to pick goals and stick to them, but may need to shift my methods along the way due to unforseen obstacles. And I need to enjoy myself along the way, too!

Four. If I choose a ride that's too hard, I'll spend all my time pushing my bike and won't have fun. If I choose a ride that's too easy, I won't get a workout or learn anything. Life application: doing things that I'm not comfortable with is good for me. But if I push my limits too far, I'll either be miserable and avoid that activity and/or won't get anything out of it anyhow.

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