I had one of those days where everything is a big ole NOPE while riding.
Meaning every rock, drop, feature was scary and I wanted nothing to do with it. I had recently texted Paige that my riding was terrible. I can’t open up and get off the brakes. The opportunity was finally there for us to ride together at Northstar and she was able to see it firsthand. For me it was awful, she had to coach me through a simple roll down for about 30 minutes. I felt like I was jumping out of a plane and my brain refused to say yep just roll over the edge there COACH, you got this. It took many attempts. We tried placing her in different spots that would make me feel safer. She even went in front of me to tow me over, but I would stop every time at the edge. Finally yelling out loud at myself “JUST DO IT, JUST FUCKING DO IT” I went over. And it was embarrassingly easy.
However the entire day was like this.
I couldn’t do a roll down with accurate timing. I was nose heavy on all my drops. Then we hit Boondocks. Boondocks is a double black trail in my upcoming Enduro race. It’s full of rocks and loose dirt that you have to navigate your way through. We stopped and checked out all the lines on the gnarly sections. I wasn’t into any of it. I have been down it before and it wasn’t that bad. However it was because I just slid my way down and hopped off when I wanted to. Being with Paige I felt pressure to ride the lines (even though I didn’t) and not walk my bike (even though I did). She is my mentor, friend and partner in this crazy MTB world so I don’t want to disappoint her. I want to make her feel confident she chose a partner that isn’t a big wuss with poor skills.
After I train wrecked my way day Boondocks, I went back to eat at the village before we had to start working at the Friday night ladies coached ride. I texted Justin that I was exhausted and needed a hug. I really felt like man I suck. I can’t get down stuff that girls I have coached have done.
Then I remembered, oh yeah that’s right you have only been riding for 2 years.
2 flippin’ years and I am not a ballsy 25 year old anymore. I have a kid that needs a mom without a broken arm or head injury. I am genetically wired to be cautious so I can still be around for him. In 2 years I have gone from not knowing how to change gears to coaching and riding trails I would never dream of riding. 2 years ago I wouldn’t have gotten off the blues and NEVER went down a double black without an anxiety attack.
In addition the reason Paige and I are a successful team is the fact that I am still a beginner. I can relate to the participants in our clinics. I can offer tips I have learned that are still fresh from me learning them. I can make suggestions to Paige to cover things that she may not have thought about in a while. Those things that come natural to her because they are so ingrained from years of riding.
While we were riding I told Paige I feel like I regressed.
She thinks I am about to make a big leap. I hope so because fear based riding sucks and is way harder physically than riding confidently.
Oh, and that 30 minute roll down session? I intentionally left the GoPro on to capture it all. That is real and we should never be ashamed of our fears. We should be proud as hell when we overcome them.
Yes I will be publishing that video.