Friday, 18 August 2017

Fear or Fun- a reflection on how I have got to where I am now

Over the years my focus has shifted from downhill to more trail/ enduro riding, Where as once I looked forward to conquering that next jump, drop or bigger feature and enjoyed that feeling of your heart pumping and the gut wrenching feeling of fear, the feeling has been replaced by a feeling of stress, frustration and anger as my tolerance to that feeling wore out, and I hit a plateau in my technical ability.

Back when racing the Local downhill series was the main focus

How has this come about I often ask myself? I doubt very much I couldn't do the larger features demanded of downhill, I know full well that my body could, when I accidentally come up to a bigger jump/drop on a blind trail my instincts take over and ill pull it off no issues at all as my muscle memory takes over and for that moment there is no room for fear as you have to do what's required.

It really is all in the mind that the barriers come up, Its very difficult to over come the emotional fear and anxiety for ever and eventually becomes tiring, alongside this riding should be fun, enjoyable, an escape from all that's stressful in your ordinary life.

Exploring the beautiful place we live in search of single track and escaping ordinary life with friends
Not only are the barriers based on pure fear not too many years ago I was so confident, I had trained so hard for Ard enduro, raced it, loved it, had the best summer of riding, loved the bike I was on and was ridding fast, hard and jumping with confidence, then one day practising for a race I came off on a jump and hit my head, I thought that's OK I'm having too much fun I’ll do anther run and everything will be fine. It was an amazing run I nailed all the jumps and was so smooth and fast and elated and then had the dumbest crash on the end fire road and hit my head again, by the time I got to the van I couldn’t see properly, hear properly or even use my phone, at no point had I blacked out but I had rattled my brain hard and over the next 2 days things got worse and by Monday I couldn't stay awake, walking down the stairs was exhausting to concentrate on, finding my way to tesco’s in my home town was like walking round a foreign country. After 10 days thing were OK and I was back to work but it took a few months to fully recover. Seeing the effects of concussion on riders like Lorraine Truong and katy Curd has made me so aware of how lucky we are to recover from each concussion but they are cumulative so it’s with good reason the my brain wants to stop me doing dangerous things!
A significant photo for me from the weekend I had the crash that gave me the concussion
At this point riding is engrained into my life and I will never been one of those people who rides really hard and then quits the sport and looses interest, I’m hear to stay, but where does that leave me, we all want to progress all the time, on social media we see everyone doing such impressive jumps, pushing themselves but for the average person who loves bikes its a lifestyle that doesn't have to include racing or being the best. We all share those fears too, most weekend warriors probably feel the same, sometimes I think this makes me inadequate but then I have the best time when I push my body hard up that climb, ride an amazing flowy bit of single track and see that view and think my god this is what it’s all about, not that other stuff. This is what makes people good ambassadors of the sport and this is what I would like to share, its OK to be your best and the have the funest time and allow riding to enhance your life so you can escape the every day on your own terms.

Happy days spending time with the local girls on a Southern Ladies MTB ride
Not to say I wont be racing, I enjoy it and for as long as I’m not holding anyone up I will continue to race but on my own terms even if the achievement is finishing or seeing everyone and riding a trail that's usually out of bounds.

No comments:

Post a Comment