For every second of a mountain bike video where there is a cyclist perched on the edge of a cliff, there is a MTB chic like me.
A babe on a bike who’s scared and sweaty; gripping the handlebars with white knuckles under purple gloves even as she gears down so she can chase her badass Fear-less friend through the forest trails.
That girl? You know the one?
That girl, who is so totally focused on not crashing that she sometimes she forgets she is having fun? The one who is concentrating on every single root, bump, rock, dust mote and mole hole as she negotiates her way through the trails?
That girl is me.
And you know what?
I don’t even mind being that girl.
I’m not particularly good at the sport, but every time I go out and do it, I love it. I find it to be invigorating and so unlike anything I’ve ever done before in my life.
Even though it’s just like riding a bike, and I used to race BMX as a kid, this is not like riding a bike.
It’s dangerous feeling, but it’s empowering too. It’s dirty and sweaty and all the things that we are taught that girls shouldn’t be. There are cuss words and giggles, at the same time.
My tires pop and crunch on the roots and rocks. They slip on loose gravel when I don’t expect it, and when that happens on a hill, it feels like the back end of the bike is vanishing from under me. At least two or three times today I caught a root and it caused my front wheel to turn in a direction I wasn’t expecting. That was a little frightening.
I could hit a tree.
I could wreck.
I could trust myself.
I could fear less.
And that’s what I did today.
I hate being scared as much as the next girl, but I must love it too because I had to try to do everything I came upon today. Every obstacle vanished behind a giggle or a muttered curse word. Even better, I successfully “didn’t die” while trying to put it together into something that looked and felt an awful lot like FUN.
I’m sure that there was a wrinkle in my brow for a lot of today’s ride. I know I was so focused on what was in front of my tire that I likely missed much of the beauty of today’s adventure.
I am just as certain that I was smiling throughout the ride, even when I had to put my foot down so I could just keep going.