Wednesday, October 23, 2013

four days three falls

I am not a mountain biker.
have I said that before?
some would tell me I need to change my thoughts and words to "I am a great mountain biker" and then I would become one . . . however, I believe in speaking the truth.
I am not a good mountain biker.  yet.

the white rim trail is a jeep road that takes one from the top of Canyonlands National Park down the side of the colorado river gorge--about 1500 feet down--where a trail winds along another "rim" another 700 feet or so above the river itself.  there are campsites along the trail---every 10 miles or so---and the campsites we had permits for were all in the first 30 miles of trail.  therefore, we did an "out and back," retracing our path on the final day for our exit.

during our descent down the gorge I squeezed my brakes so hard I thought my hands would give out, and I experienced more than a little bit of fear.  picture a road cut into the side of the grand canyon wall . . . this is how we descended.  thankfully the road isn't technical;  it's just darn steep.  I survived.
after we set up camp we went for an exploratory ride, searching for the "thelma and louise" jump-off spot, looking over cantilevered edges down into the winding river far, far below.  I kept up pretty well on the uphill, and got skunked on the downhill.  call me chicken:  I retain a bit of fear about falling.
funny, that.

the second day we rode to our next campsite, then went out on another exploratory ride, during which I encountered a slightly-too-technical-for-me uphill and . . .  I fell.  just a little fall, the kind that happen when you're barely moving and then all of the sudden you're no longer moving and gravity pulls you down.  of course it was onto my left side--the injured side--but I gained little more than a few scrapes and a lovely bruise on my left hip.  

that night I fell again, but it was only off my air mattress while I was trying to fall asleep.

the third day we hiked from the white rim trail to the top of the gorge, as a third of our party had to leave and this was the quickest way to get them back to their cars which were parked at the top.  again, picture a narrow trail cut into the side of a grand canyon wall . . . with thirteen of us hiking up it, the toughest (not me!) taking turns carrying the 5 mountain bikes that had to be hauled up. unbelievably tough, these friends of mine.

the final day I fell again.  squirrelly sand got me, sucked my tire in then sent me off the road . . . this time, however, I fell on my right side.  whew.  a little scrape, some sand in the mouth, another blow to the ego . . . but that was all.

so, four days, three falls.  I wasn't always comfortable on my bike this trip, in fact, a significant portion of the time I was anxious and even a bit afraid.  I didn't want to get hurt; I didn't want to fall.  but fall I did.

it's said that growth occurs only in the area outside our comfort zones.  neale donald walsch (conversations with God) goes so far as to say life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  

I have a long way to go to become a great mountain biker, and I might never get there.  but if I don't spend some time outside what is safe and comfortable, I'll never get one bit better.  just as babies fall hundreds of times before they become consistently stable walkers,  I guess I'll keep trying, risking, and occasionally, falling, as I continue my own growth through this life.

life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
yikes.  I'd better get moving.

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