Mountain Biking Introduction

Oh hey! So I brought-

“Give me your keys.”

And I tried for indignation. That was my gut response.

But then images of that time I lost my key at North Mountain. And then that next time I lost my key. At North Mountain. And…

No. That’s fair.

So, I handed GBFF…WHTBS my car key. And gathered up what I assumed was a reasonable amount of clothing. For mountain biking. In November.

And got in his car.

And he drove us over to Bennett Springs parking lot.

Where every other mountain biker in the universe was.

And pulled down the bikes.

Gave me a quick lesson on changing gears.

But the only information I was retaining was. Right brake is back brake. That’s it. That’s all I need to know.

I forgot my insurance card.

Remember where we work. Tell them that’s my insurance.

“You’ll be fine. Let’s go.”

And we went. Out to Happy Valley.

Because first time on a mountain bike.

But also first time on a bike bike in a lot of years.

And it quickly came back to me. That when I used to have a bike. I absolutely had a padded seat.

Because all the extra I’ve got back there. Is useless on a bike seat.

And I immediately started whining about the pain.

Obviously.

But also. The anxiety.

Seriously. How has this pandemic just created anxiety in me?

Anxiety was such a foreign concept to me. Prior to 2020.

But now.

We got about three miles in. And I was pretty sure I was actively dying.

We stopped for a break. And the world started caving in. Dizzy. Nauseous. Narrowed vision.

Shaking. Obviously.

“Why don’t you have a seat on this log for a bit.”

And so I sat there. Mourning. Because I assumed that what was happening was. I am just so far out of shape. That I can’t even ride a damn bicycle down the flattest trail in Carvins Cove.

I used to be an athlete. Obviously I have to reconsider all of the ultras I’m signed up for. Where’s my phone so I can check refund policies. And why is this cove spinning.

“What’s your heart rate.”

It’s not bad. Only 101.

“What??”

Well, it was 180.

But after ten minutes or so. Of sitting on a log. Lamenting my former athletic identity. I started to feel ok again.

Alright. Let’s go.

And here was my issue. When we stopped for breaks. Was we had to start again. And my hips have no sway. And so every time I had to get going again. On this damn bike. Several different parts of my body began complaining.

My left hip would lock up. “No. We don’t move that way.” And then my right hip would start shooting pain. I solidarity of the way I was trying to make left hip move. Which led my left calf to start to cramp.

It was all very awkward and painful.

And I was still terrified. And my hands were cramping up from the death grip I had on the handle bars.

But I was feeling ok. Emotionally. The anxiety was gone. Now I just felt the fear of physical injury.

And fear of physical pain doesn’t create anxiety. Only fear of inadequacy does that. Apparently.

So by the time we got to the our turnaround point. I was feeling somewhat competent.

And so on the way back. GBFF thought I might be ready for a little trail trail. And took us up what I think was Little Bell.

Except also obviously I don’t actually know. Because I’m me.

And I immediately ran into a tree. Which I caught with my hand. And not my face.

But that angered my right foot. Which responded by cramping.

Which has apparently become my body’s go to response. For everything it deems inconvenient.

But since I didn’t come off the actual bike. I was able to keep going. Without other parts objecting.

Got to the end of the trail. And my god. My runner brain said, “psht. That’s not that bad.”

But I went down this teeny tiny descent. And it was like flying down the Grand Canyon. And both of my feet flew off the bike. And I was only connected by my death grip hands and my bruised up sitz bone.

But I again managed to not come all the way off the bike.

And my brain was saying, “shhhhh, just let it happen…”

And so I just rolled my way through the rest of the ride back to the car.

Which felt amazing.

And also just super painful. Because honestly.

I cannot sit. Without pain now.

Its Thanksgiving Day.

I’m gonna have to go to my momma’s house today. And explain to my dad. Why I’m sitting that way.

No one wants to have to talk to their dad about their undercarriage.

But it was awesome.

And a much harder workout that I was expecting.

And at some point. The terror turns into exhilaration.

And now I have to take on another job. So I can afford a mountain bike.

With a cushioned gel seat.

And extra visits to my chiropractor. And massage therapist. To make my hips mobile again.

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