I remember reading in my teen years about how becoming a master in one discipline would make you a master in everything: the idea was that there is just one mountain to climb, and we all climb it from different sides, via different paths.
No one path is the same, but eventually most of us get to the top of the mountain.
From there you can see all the other paths, which is not the same as walking them, but at least appreciate the differences.
Everyone who ride bikes regularly, for health, fitness, stress relief or just fun, has had those moments when you see the parallel between biking and life.
Whether it’s a though hard climb, a scary or technical descend, a stubborn obstacle on the trail we just can’t overcome, the parallels are there, because that’s what’s life is all about: a series of obstacles coming our way, and how we tackle and overcome them.
Last September, right after InterBike, I was in Utah with my best buddy Aosty, riding the beautiful trails near Hurricane and St. George. I love riding there, the trails are so very different from NorCal, and it always takes at least one ride for my brain to adjust to different riding conditions and correct my style.
The slickrock riding is so different, and at times it seems like you’re defeating the laws of physics as with great traction you go up a 45º slab of slickrock.
The life-paralles that occured to me on those rides are:
Quick look at the obstacle then gun it!
There’s no point overthinking an obstacle, mostly because there’s another one right behind it anyway. Just do it, give it a quick good look, but don’t get stuck, no matter how ugly or scary it looks like. Pick a line and go for it. Stay relaxed and give it all you got right there. Be flexible, you may come out on the other side from a completely different direction you expected.
You hear that a lot, you probably tell yourself a lot. Commit!
But how? How do you commit, where do you find the strength or courage?
Committing is matter of trust, trusting our own ability to make good decisions, trusting our bike capability to get over stuff. You can’t really improvise that on the spot: a little self talk and meditation goes a long way.
Know your limits but don’t be afraid to push your limits, it’s ok to feel uncomfortable sometimes, that’s how you know you are pushing your limits.
That brings me to the last thought:
Get comfortable being uncomfortable
It’s a big one, it sets your mindset as you attack these obstacles. Once you are ok with the idea of being uncomfortable, you’re halfway there, you can just focus on getting it done instead of wasting energy focusing on the discomfort.