This past week marks 7 years since my first proper mountain biking experience in the woods and my first set of stitches. I’m sure I’ve posted about that first ride and that first crash before [here], but this week it really made me think about my WHY and how much the sport of mountain biking has influenced my life. Not only did I fly head over the bars into a tree, but i flew head over heals in love with a sport and lifestyle that would shape my future more than I could ever dream of.
7 years ago I was in a bad place mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I didn’t know what I wanted, I just knew it wasn’t what I had. I felt trapped and afraid – “The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying, the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving.” (Eat, Pray, Love: Elizabeth Gilbert). I’d discovered mountain biking, something I could do just for me, just for fun, just because. Before then my bikes had just been a means of transport, I loved riding and it was my preferred way to travel, but this hit different. I made the effort to escape to the woods regularly, to find my peace and flow. 2 years later in 2015 I booked a one-way ticket to New Zealand, to go ride my bike more.
I ended up in Rotorua, NZ’s capital of mountain biking. I guess this was my version of eating my way around Italy. I was fully submerged in this new culture and filling my cup till it overflowed. After I changed jobs and moved to New Plymouth, my health and fitness took a bit of a nose dive and I wasn’t enjoying riding anymore. It was a struggle to keep up with my friends on the trails and the hills left me gasping in a panic attack. I wasn’t ready to give up on my passion, so I joined the gym, cleaned up my eating and lost almost 15kg.
I started to feel much better about myself and entered into a few races, to keep me motivated. It didn’t matter if it was DH, Enduro or XC, I just wanted an excuse to go and ride somewhere new, to keep pushing myself and make friends along the way. I’ve become so much fitter and stronger both mentally and physically. The only attacks on the climbs are now during races, my breathing deep and controlled.
So I guess life may knock you down sometimes, but if you don’t take that risk, you risk never finding happiness. It took me 3 years of dreaming about mountain bikes, watching YouTube videos and reading magazines, before I got out on the trails. I was committed to the bike and I wasn’t going to let a crash and a few stitches stop me. Though I would probably describe myself as an athlete and racer, not having races to train for during the Covid-19 Pandemic hasn’t stopped me training and pushing myself to be the best mountain biker I can be. I love this sport and where it has taken me, including setting up our own bike shop!
Take the risk and commit to your own happiness. #LIVcommitted