Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day 4:Fear is Loathing

#YourTurnChallenge is a 7-day blogging challenge inspired by the Your Turn book by Seth Godin. I will be taking part in the challenge which starts Monday Jan 19th and ends Sunday Jan 26th. Wish me luck and happy reading

When I think about being alone on the road I have a sense of fear. I enjoy solitude. I actually welcome it. Aloneness is something I’ve learned to enjoy after spending miles in the middle of no where with only me, my bike and gravel roads or dirt trails. But this is different from living on the road for a year. The world is full of creepers, will I be able to avoid them? Am I tough enough to handle not only the things I can think of going wrong but the things I can’t? That’s why I’m doing this, right, to see what I’m made of?!?!

I felt these same fears the first year I got into mountain biking and I eventually kicked those feeling to the side and become a full on addict. Could I do the same on the road? How did I ‘kick’ my fears aside? I guess I just sort of dove in.

The High Board

June of 2011 marked the end of my 20 some years of bike hiatus. I had no idea what I was doing or how to start but eager to learn. I was terrified, pretty scared and completely embarrassed to ride with anyone let alone ask, at the prime age of 32, how to mountain bike. So I taught myself.

My school was Wilderness Park, a great beginner bike trail in Lincoln. I started off by picking a loop. Then I just rode it over and over again, learning how to (and not) take each turn, root, dip and burm going faster and faster each time. This is how I still learn new trails 4 years later. Once I figured out the basics of just how to ride I started to go on group rides with other mountain bikers. Nebraska has some of the most experienced, veteran riders. I had no idea what I was getting into and I am thankful that they took me under their wing. These guys made me a tough chick that’s not afraid to try new terrifying things (mostly). And taught me: fail, success, doesn’t matter just as long as you get out and ride.

Tell Me Where It Hurts

How does one become tough? Well crashing a bunch is a good start. It’s also an essential part and fact about this sport. I spent the first 4 month with a brutal hazing. During this time I gotta say my mom was concerned, every time I saw her I had an ice pack (or two, sometimes three) and some new gnarly bruise that was every color a bruise shouldn’t be. I reassured her that everything was okay. But I wasn’t sure it was. I wasn’t even sure if it would ever stop. My community of bike friends said it would, there’s just a learning curve but was I gonna survive it? Was I tough enough? Right when I didn’t think I could handle another ass beating on the trail something started to change, it clicked, I was getting it. Guess after flying over your handle bars a gazillion times you learn damn quick what not to do. Eating shit happens less for me now but I am still known for it, that’s what happens when you push yourself past your abilities and out of your comfort zone. Rad.

So if I can survive the brutality of the bike academy I could surely survive the road. How different or more difficult could it be?  Just dive in and embrace the terrifying new ride. I’m sure there will be a learning curve and I welcome it. I look forward to seeing what I’m made of. Not to see how tough I can be but how open I can be, how willing I can be and how free I can be. There will be times of fear, doubt and regret. That comes along with all new uncertainties. But the best part of it all, good or bad, is knowing my community will be there. In times of doubt, failure, laughter, tears and success I can count on them to not only be there at the end of the day but to join me for a beer where they will for sure drink the last one.

*I'd love to hear from you, have questions? Comments? Please contact me at casey [at] caseyshepparddesigns [dot] com Thank you again for reading* 

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