Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Either Sh#$ or Get off the Pot - the Speed Dilemma

New purchase.  Keep or send back? 
Speed up or slow down?
There’s moments in life when you just have to decide.  It makes me weary to be on the fence about something.  I’d almost rather make the wrong decision than be struck dumb with indecision.

And so, I’ve come to a major juncture in my life.  This is my 'Come-To-Jesus-Meeting' with myself. My 'Shit or Get off the Pot' moment. 

New helmet with chin guard -- or not? 

Obviously I’m not some freerider sponsored by Red Bull or Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC would in fact be my preferred sponsor.) I'm just a middle-aged mom for cripes sake.  But for the past year I’ve been quietly feeding a speed addiction.  As my skill climbs a notch or two, so does my speed.  I flippin’ love it.  Now I understand adrenaline junkies.

In fact, I don’t want to go for a ride without some sort of hard and fast payoff, preferably at the end of the ride and followed by an ice cold beer.  Hey, we all get stuck in our routines.

But this passion for speed has been to the detriment of why I fell in love with riding in the first place:  the beauty of the mountains, the quiet and solitude that feeds my soul, inner peace and enlightenment, blah blah blah.  It used to be about a lot of things but lately it’s about the One Thing.  And if that one thing doesn’t pan out because I'm having an off-kilter day then it makes me cranky.  In my book, being cranky on a bike is sick and wrong.

Mountain biking is on par with good sex. A mountain bike ride with awesome downhill when you are totally in the zone is on par with great sex.  And who doesn’t want great sex?

The conundrum is this.  I am 46 years old and in good health. I thank the heavens for every day that I can get out and pedal.  Shouldn’t this be enough?  Shouldn’t it be enough to be getting any at my age? 

It doesn't seem to be 'enough' because I just bought a better helmet with more coverage. It has a removable chin bar, effectively turning it into a dumbed-down version of a full face helmet.  Is this silly?  Shouldn’t I just slow the heck down?  Where will it end?  Full body armor?

A little bruising from Sheep's Bridge Trail.
 This one left a permanent dent in my thigh.
If I’m honest with myself (yeah, right!) I might consider that it’s because I'm 46 that I'm pushing the limits.   It could be about embracing my inner child while I still can - and swinging her joyfully around by the arms.  Or it could be about bucking middle age. I'm like one of those guys that buys a Harley plus all the requisite black leather and loads it on a trailer bound for Sturgis (I know, ick). 

Which is it?  Indulging the little girl that likes to feel like she's flying or fighting the backside of 40?  Or both?

Recently a friend of mine got hurt and is sidelined for the rest of the summer season.  This made me take stock.  It’s always the most random things that throw you out of the saddle without warning. Something I don't want to happen at 33 mph on a nasty jeep trail.

But damn, as with anything in life, if you don’t keep pedaling (especially on the downhill) then you’re just along for the ride.