Last Updated on September 27, 2019 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP
Be still, my beating heart.
I have fallen in love. A love at first ride that I have not experienced since the first time I stood up on a surfboard (and oh how my heart yearns for some waves, but i digress). I know I posted about it just the other day, but I’d like to gush some more:
I think I am in love with mountain biking.
We (mountain biking and I) had our third date this week. It had rained just a few hours prior, and the pine needles, rocks, and roots that litter the trail were incredibly slippery. I took my sweet time descending any sort of hill, for fear of doing this:
Anyway, as mentioned this was our third date, between me, the borrowed mountain bike (thanks Jenny!) and the trails. Now lets break down how you “date” a new sport. It starts the exact same way any relationship does, really. First dates can go one of three ways:
a) horrible (you have a friend call you with a fake emergency so you can flee immediately)
b) neutral (you survived unscathed, maybe even had a good time, but aren’t “feeling” anything, so… let’s just be friends.)
c) awesome (SO MUCH FUN. Why can’t I stop smiling? And why didn’t I meet you sooner? And most importantly, WHEN CAN WE DO THIS AGAIN?)
Which brings us to date number two. The second date often comes with a lot of pressure and high expectations: was the first date a fluke, masked by dark lighting and cocktails (or in this case, good weather and an endorphin high) or is there truly some sort of spark there? If, indeed, the attraction is still there, you will likely find yourself on a third date. Date number three is where you temporarily retreat from the high of cloud nine and let a little reality set in: you’ve got a crazy ex, he’s got an apartment full of Star Wars action figures (still in the package, otherwise they are worthless to true collectors), and one of you is leaving for a business trip in Rio for the next two months… call you when I get back.
Date number three between mountain biking and I was no exception.
As mentioned earlier (with the epic movie of Ryan’s tumble), it had rained a few hours prior, and everything was slippery. My hesitation due to not wanting to eat dirt was on high alert. And our incredibly patient leader, Geoff, took us on a trail that seemed to constantly go uphill. Every turn would be a misleading flat for a few feet, only to reveal another climb around the corner. My lungs and legs were on fire. Much of the bad-assery I had felt on the two prior rides retreated, as I had to get off of the bike and walk the two of us to the top of some of the hills. Further, I had to get off the bike and walk the two of us down a few hills as well (again, see the video above) to prevent broken and bruised _____(wrists, ribs, arms, egos).
I got frustrated. Frustrated that I couldn’t make the climbs, frustrated that I couldn’t barrel down the hill with the confidence of the guys. Everyone was falling and it was scaring the crap out of me. This was the dirty (literally) reality of this sport. I wasn’t sure I was having…fun. But when the ride was over, I immediately wanted more.
I look at my calendar chock full of obstacle course race dates, and know I don’t have time for this new relationship (don’t worry, my love for OCR hasn’t disappeared). I look at my pitiful bank account and know I can’t afford this new relationship. I look at my Kestrel Talon collecting dust in the other room, and wonder if this new relationship is going to end the same way.
But then I find myself oogling pictures of other peoples mountain bikes….and clicking on the “cycling” link when browsing websites for running gear. I find myself constantly justifying reasons why the Talon and I were never meant to be anyway. Countless miles on paved roads? Endless hours on the trainer in front of the TV? Who has the patience and desire for that, and besides, did you guys even realize that races like THIS exist? (sorry Ironman, I’m out.)
This relationship is going to be bad news.
I’m looking forward to a fourth date…