Five Life Lessons my Mountain Bike Taught Me
One of my new found loves has definitely been mountain biking and I feel very fortunate to live in Queenstown, New Zealand where we have some awesome trails basically in our back yard! Literally, as I hang up my laundry I get to watch the mountain bikers on their last few downhill bits before heading back up the gondola to the top. This is the trail I ride the most -but it isn’t me in the video. I find riding almost meditative (especially the uphill and cross country) and the more I ride the more lessons I keep getting taught. I realize that these lessons don’t just relate to mountain biking but easily carry over into my daily life so I wanted to share them with you.
1. Look where you want to go. I have heard this in other places (gymnastics, skiing, etc) and I use this in many aspects of my life. When biking, if you focus on that tree you don’t want to hit or the edge of the bridge you don’t want to fall off of you’re bound to wind up there. Focus on the trail ahead of you and the path at the end of the bridge, not the dangerous distractions off to the side and you’ll be smooth sailing. Think positive, focus on what you WANT, not what you don’t want out of life.
2. Granny gear isn’t going to get you up the hill. This is one of my favorite lessons. There is this small but very steep hill that comes right out of a downhill and for the the last two years I’d get ready for this hill by trying to get enough speed on the downhill and put it into my lowest “granny gear” to get up the hill. Every time I would lose power 1/2 way up the hill and had jump off my bike and walk it the rest of the way. The other day I realized I kept doing the same thing over and over again and it clearly wasn’t getting me the results I wanted so I tried something new (sound familiar? That’s a lesson in itself!). Instead of going for the “easy” gear I went up a couple notches. By putting it into a “harder” gear I had more power and more traction and made it up the hill with no problems. What are you doing in your life in the easiest gear that isn’t getting you where you want to go? Step it up a notch – you’ll get to the top.
3. Don’t look at the giant hill. This is for those times that you come to a giant steep hill that you think – “I can’t possibly pedal up that!” Don’t get overwhelmed with such a large task ahead of you, aim to knock out bit by bit. When I get to that giant hill I pick little goals to work towards – “I’ll make it to that rock then walk the rest”. But what happens is I make it to the rock with no problem then don’t want to quit, so I say “Just get to that stick, now that leaf, now that other rock.” Before I know it I have conquered the hill one bit at a time and never felt overwhelmed. Little goals will help you reach your bigger goal.
4. Don’t give up – you will get better each time. After 8 months of being off our bikes, Chris and I were eager to get back into it and jumped on our bikes and began to tackle the hill behind our house. This used to take us 45 minutes, walking some of it and taking some breaks. Our first time back was embarrassing. We were so out of shape and ended up pushing our bikes up most of the hill and it took us about an hour. The ride back down was just as bad – our arms and legs were jello. It wasn’t fun and it made me wonder what I loved so much about biking. Of course I just wasn’t fit at the time and needed to get back into it. That was two months ago and now I feel myself getting better every time I ride. I can pedal up the entire hill without pushing and limited breaks. My downhill skills are getting better as well. I keep track of how long it takes me and how many breaks I take. I can literally see how I am getting better each time I ride. You are getting faster, better and stronger everyday you work towards your goal.
5. Get off your seat!! When I was a newer mountain biker I felt safer sitting on my bike seat going downhill and Chris would holler at me – “Get off your seat!” You’ll get better if you get off your seat and stand on your own two feet. Your legs will get stronger, you’ll find your balance and you will have more fun when you aren’t sitting on your ass.
Now if only I can get as good as these guys here – gorgeous video!
|Print article||This entry was posted by Mandy on January 26, 2012 at 5:15 pm, and is filed under Fitness, Motivation, Queenstown, New Zealand. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|