Shaking out the cobwebs
Mountain biking never leaves me at a loss for metaphors.
Today was no exception. Temps soared into the mid fifties, and I took the opportunity to head out to Batchelor Street for some trail riding. Each year I make my first mountain bike ride at Batchelor, and I always, always forget just how tough Batchelor can be. This ride was no different. Soft snow, patches of hard ice, and rotten ice added some interest to the already varied terrain. Additionally, there are some good little climbs out there, climbs that are chuck full of jagged rocks and the shallow root systems of white pines. I started to berate myself for dismounting so often.
But then, I changed my outlook a bit. Reminding myself that I never climbed those climbs on my first run of the year, I decided that instead of killing myself to power up those tough hilly trails, I would instead focus on riding through what I could ride. I focused on negotiating obstacles instead of powering through them.
I rode through the rotten ice and snow, the muddy puddles and stream crossings, the deeply embedded rocks and slippery roots. By the end of my ride, I was riding the trail instead of fighting it. Ah, I thought. This is that Zen quality I appreciate so much about mountain biking. Cold air. Still forest. And my bike flowing through the woods like the melting snow.
Nothing brought me more peace today than this. I felt good again about my bike handling skills. And I felt that this technique can, and should be applied to other aspects of life. Slow down, don’t worry about power right now, focus on technique. Focus on the trail underneath you. Nothing could have polished up my skills better.