As I write this, my butt is crying out in protest of sitting on a hard chair. My knees are bruised, and my pride is a little bit too. What inspired this masochism? Well. It’s fun! As I had written a few posts back, I got a dirt bike. Now the process of learning to ride. It looked so simple. Not so much.
Next time I go ride, I won’t do an intense circuit training the night before. Yea, I was ALREADY sore!!
Even though I had gotten my bike a couple of weeks ago, I hadn’t been able to go learn with anyone. But finally, FINALLY my new friend who is a seriously good rider took me out. Turns out there’s quite a bit to learn about riding. Starting the bike is a feat on it’s own. You basically have to bring your knee almost up to your chin (I’m only exaggerating a little) then kick down really hard to get it started, while holding the clutch, the break, trying to balance, and giving it enough gas so it wouldn’t die. The throttle (gas) is super sensitive, so it took me a while jerking around on the bike to kind of master it. Then there’s the hand break, the clutch, the foot break and the shifter. Both the foot break and the shifter are used with your feet, which is a little scary either feeling for it with huge, thick boots (kind of like snowboarding/ski boots) or daring to peek down while riding to locate it.
I am proud to say, that I only fell a couple of times. This lovely bruise pictured above (the picture truly doesn’t do it justice) was when I was riding over some little hills, and I was feeling a lot out of control, and sure enough I accidentally wrenched on the throttle, hit a bump wrong, got bucked off and literally went flying. That was the fun part. The landing…. while not as bad as I was afraid, was not so much fun. Go big or go home right? I was glad for my first fall, so that I could get that fear out of the way. I’ve had worse tumbles snowboarding. After lying there for a minute getting re-oriented, I got back up and was ok!
After a little break, I actually rode back and forth on a less bumpy trail, and even got to 2nd gear! You gotta count the little victories. I did start to learn to fall a little more gracefully, as well as learn how to correct the bike when I felt like it was getting out of my control. Man, it is heavy! And mine is considered light! I was really thankful for my helmet, and chest protector. Next investment will definitely be knee pads!! Turns out there’s a lot to think about while riding. You have to learn to use your whole body to balance, sit forward on your seat, grip the bike and steer with your legs, keep your arms relaxed, and most of all not let it all get to your head! There were times when I’d be doing fine, and start doubting myself, and I had to just breath, relax, put on my game face and tell myself “I can do this!”
After getting beat up for a couple of hours (time really flies out there!) , I was exhausted, and the soreness was starting to set in. I had bruises on both knees, my arms and I’m pretty sure my butt will never be the same. Despite the bruises, (which I iced that night- like a good girl) it was definitely my butt (which I also iced, haha) that was in the worst condition the next morning.
All in all, it was SO much fun. Learning something new is always intimidating for me. I’m so AFRAID of failing. It’s embarrassing when people see me fall. I had to accept that learning means falling along the way, and even when you get good, you still fall from time to time. Which is kind of a metaphor for life in general. I think everyone is afraid of failing, or looking bad. Our lives are not defined by the number of times we fall, it’s how we handle it afterward by getting back up, dusting ourselves off and trying again. Even for those who it seems always get everything right, they fall from time to time too. Part of being human is making mistakes, learning from them and getting better. Letting fears of what might or might not happen, only hold us back from the achievements we can accomplish if we just set our minds to it.
My friend kept telling me to look farther ahead when I was riding. I was looking right in front of my bike at every rock worrying that it might make the bike tip. She said you’ll go where you look, and you have to look farther ahead so you know where you are going. So it is with life! If we look at the situation we are in right now, worrying about it, we aren’t looking ahead at the bigger picture of where we are going. Instead of worrying about little bumps in the road, we look ahead to where we are going and plan accordingly.
I’ll end with this quote I recently stumbled upon:
“You never know how STRONG you are… until being strong is the ONLY choice you have.”