Since my heart break at the end of last year, I have opted not to pursue dating. It felt like the best thing for me was to celebrate and enjoy the relationships that I have with my boys, family and my family of friends. I often get invited to participate in fun events with these beloved people, and have decided that my answer is going to be YES, unless it conflicts with my schedule with my boys.
I was invited, as I have been for the last 3 years, to ride 24 Hours In the Old Pueblo on a corporate team with a bunch of my longtime cycling friends. 24 Hours In the Old Pueblo is a 24 hour mountain bike race event out in the middle of the desert between Phoenix and Tucson. People come from everywhere to compete, or participate, in this event. This patch of desert turns into a town of tents, RV’s and vendors, called 24 Hour Town, for the weekend of this mountain bike extravaganza:
The goal is to complete the greatest number of laps of the course in a 24 hour period for your race category. The course is a 16 mile course of desert single track. It’s a good trail for me to ride because it’s considered a “Roadie” course. I’m definitely much more of a road cyclist than mountain biker.
I get my mountain bike out once a year to do this ride. Luckily, my team’s focus was to mostly hang out and spend time with each other, while getting as much mountain biking in as we wanted. That being said, my cyclist friends are very talented. This means that even if they’re not trying to podium, their lap times are very respectable times. 🙂 I always feel a touch of pressure in their company, but I know it’s imposed by me and not them.
My contribution the last few years has been 1 lap. I fully intended to shoot for 2 laps, but after the first one, my brain just didn’t want me to do it anymore. I felt better about how I got through the ride than the previous 2 years, but it took a considerable amount of self mental coaching.
Mountain Biking is a real challenge for me mentally and emotionally. It sounds ridiculous, I know. I don’t have to think when I’m on a road bike, I just put in the miles and try not to think when the miles hurt. In Mountain Biking, I have to consider and calculate every obstacle. My bike is super responsive, sometimes to a fault, AND I think my suspension is crap or just set poorly. It is 15 years old… As a result, I get bucked all over the place when in rocky terrain.
I have skills from spending a couple of decades cycling, but I don’t get myself on mountain bike trails enough to trust my skills and decisions when riding my bucking bronco bike. I learn new lessons every time I do one of these mountain bike rides and that, along with camping and suffering the elements with my favorite people, is what I enjoy so much about it.
The important lesson I learned this year is to make a decision, commit to it, get out of my head, relax the Kung Fu Death Grip on my handlebars, be more present with my bike and body and let it rip. I worked hard on focusing on picking the best line, committing to it and powering through that decision. Some choices that I made may not have been the best, but I stayed upright through all but one of them. I also achieved my best times (PR) on segments of the course that are always challenging for me. Seeing the PRs in those segments was really exciting!
This was a big lesson for me, not just on the mountain bike, but I feel like these things apply to life in general. Things can be challenging, really bumpy and complicated sometimes. The best way to get through that rough terrain is to get out of your head, relax, get into your heart and body, see the situation for what it is and roll through it the best you can. I have a lot more mountain bike rides to do to help me to stop being an over-thinker. I think when I’m able to knock out a few laps on that course it will be some great progress and I should be much better at letting crap go. 😂
It was sooo very cold out there this year. My friends and I stayed huddled around the fire as much as we could, and had a lot of laughs as usual. This was the perfect reminder that no matter how cold and nasty things are, people like these are always the best source of warmth and sunshine. They didn’t even make fun of me for being a 1 lap wussy!! 😁
I’m hoping we’ll be out there doing it again in 2020! 2 laps is a personal must for me. Thank you for reading!
I have a few more posts about fun events with friends, and am hoping to sprinkle Date #17 in there somewhere.